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The Churchill Society

What is the use of living
if it be not to strive for noble causes
and to make this muddled world a better place
for those who will live in it after we are gone?

Winston Churchill
Dundee, October 9th, 1908


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Ernest Tomlinson

Can you remember those wonderful musical treats on the BBC Light Programme during the Fifties? "Morning Music" was an absolute delight with a non-stop collage of enjoyable pieces designed to make the listener feel bright and cheerful.

How did we allow such productions to sink without trace when they took Light Music off the menu, to be replaced by meaningless chat and dreary trivia aimed only at the younger generation? We just took it for granted that tuneful music would survive forever - and we were wrong!

The Musicologist Ernest TomlinsonOne of many fine young musicians who appeared regularly on the BBC in those days was Lancashire-born Ernest Tomlinson. England's finest living Light Music composer.

On 19th September this year Ernest celebrates his 75th birthday, with his Golden Wedding to wife, Jean, following in October. But not in peaceful retirement...oh no! Fifteen years ago, Ernest, a former head choirboy at Manchester Cathedral, decided to do something about the increasingly hostile reception which tuneful English music was receiving at the hands of the establishment. As the new political masters took over at the BBC, so into the dustbins of oblivion went quality musical scores by the thousand. Whole orchestral sets by English composers ended up in rubbish skips and the beautiful melodies they represented were lost forever. Happily before everything was totally destroyed by these self perpetuating vandals, along came Ernest Tomlinson, galloping like a musical knight to rescue the Light Music damsel in distress!

From small beginnings the "Library of Light-Orchestral Music" is now bursting at the seams. Housed in a converted barn at Ernest's home near Preston, and overlooked by Jeffrey Hill on the Lancashire Pennines, this marvellous collection attracts attention from all over the world including he BBC!

With "new" items being donated on a regular basis the number of orchestral sets available for use is now approaching 20,000. Overtures, suites, rhapsodies, show selections, pot-pourries, theatre and film music, marches, dance and brass band tunes, single items...they are all there. In addition, Ernest and his wife, plus their daughter Hilary Ashton, run the Light Music Society whose entertaining and informative quarterly newsletters remind members of a great musical heritage which nearly sank without trace.

Perhaps the most satisfactory of Ernest's many achievements, however, especially for those who love listening to English Light Music, is the release of so many recent records on a bewildering variety of labels. In particular, the success of the Marco Polo British Light Music series, many of the arrangements for which came straight from Ernest's Library, has reminded our politically-correct musical masters that a significant percentage of the population still enjoys genuine melody. How long will the BBC controllers turn a deaf ear before realising why most radio audiences have dropped so dramatically?

Two of the records are of Ernest's own familiar music, melodies which everyone recognise! but few can put a name to. Remember  Dick's Maggots  introducing Steve Race's  "Invitation to Music",  a BBC radio programme which took the place of educational broadcasting during school holidays? It comes from Ernest's splendid  First Suite of English Folk Dances,  marvellous crafted tunes which delight the ear at each and every listening.

Other familiar pieces are  Little Serenade,  Sweet and Dainty  and his  Fantasia on North Country Tunes  commissioned by the Halle Orchestra in 1977. Ernest always carries manuscript paper around in his pocket because, as he explained in a recent letter to a friend.

" Memorable melody is still to me, whether as composer,
listener or conductor,
the fountain-head of all music." 

Hear, hear!







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To purchase an 80 minute CD of
Churchill's War Time Speeches
(one is given free to new members)


To purchase a Bust of Churchill.

Churchill Bust


(All the profits go towards the society's educational work).

To purchase the Double CD (or Tape Cassette)


Reviews of The Churchill Music.





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