Big band orchestra’s swinging into town

Syd Lawrence Orchestra is coming to the Customs House.
Syd Lawrence Orchestra is coming to the Customs House.

A FAMOUS orchestra is coming to South Tyneside.

The Syd Lawrence Orchestra are set to play a concert at the Customs House next month.

The group, now led by Chris Dean, promise a night of big band music at the Mill Dam venue in South Shields, on Thursday, November 8, with their show Carry On Swinging.

The show will feature music from the likes of Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald.

The late Syd Lawrence became famous for his orchestra’s big band sound which drew on the 1940s style of Glenn Miller and Count Basie.

Born in Wilmslow in 1923, Lawrence was a talented trumpet player during the Second World War.

He wrote and arranged music and was based in Cairo during the war, playing and arranging for the RAF service bands.

After he left the Armed Forces, he played with some of the leading British dance bands of the 1940s, before being invited to join the BBC Northern Dance Orchestra. The Syd Lawrence Orchestra later secured a regular spot on ITV comedy show, Sez Les, and as their music became more popular, they began touring the UK.

Lawrence retired from touring in 1994 and died of an aneurysm four years later.

After his death, the orchestra continued touring.

Tickets for the 7.45pm show cost £19.50. To book, go to or call the box office on 454 1234.

n We’ve got two pairs of tickets to give away for the show.

To be in with a chance of winning, tell us who now leads the orchestra.

Send your answers to Vicki Newman, Syd Lawrence Orchestra, Shields Gazette, Northeast Press, Pennywell Industrial Estate, Sunderland, SR4 9ER.

Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki