The Band



The Band
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The band consists of seven core players, plus occasional guest players and vocalists.

By appointment? That's not a corgi.

   John Ashworth - piano and arrangements

We are very sad that our co-founder, piano player and arranger for more than 20 years, passed away early in 2019. His humour as well as vast knowledge of all types of music will be greatly missed. We leave his brief biog on this page.

John was born on the day Rachmaninov died, had two terms of piano lessons at the age of 10 with Mrs. Collins down the road and began playing his mother's collection of sheet music of pre-war popular songs.

In 1965 he was asked to accompany a local church pantomime on the piano but instead got a six-piece band together and along with two friends arranged and orchestrated the music for it. Since then he has acted as musical director and arranged music for pantomimes, variety shows, revues and music halls for amateur dramatic societies in Surrey and South London.

In 1983 he began writing arrangements for other 1920s- and 1930s-style dance bands and also wrote sufficient arrangements for a band of his own to play for occasional functions. These arrangements formed the core repertory of the New Foxtrot Serenaders (who were originally called the New Charleston Chasers but the name had to be changed because there was already another band with the same name), which he has run jointly with Graham Wright since 1997.

 Allan Ryder - reeds

Allan started music lessons on piano at the age of 10, but quickly transferred to the clarinet and a short time later, to saxophone.  He comes from a musical family, both his father and grandfather were church organists, but got bitten by the jazz bug at an early age and has stayed in that general direction ever since.

For many years he fronted his own band at a provincial Palais de Danse but more recently has concentrated on a freelance career playing in function bands, theatre orchestras and as a jazz soloist.  He shares, with Graham, the experience of the Mayfair Dance Orchestra and also the pleasures of instrumental teaching which, these days, takes an increasing amount of his time.

 Paul Williams - reeds 

Paul Williams plays the alto and soprano saxophones, clarinet and flute with the New Foxtrot Serenaders.  Paul studied the saxophone and clarinet in Manchester with Ernest Waites MBE from 1972 to 1976.  In 1976, he joined the HM Irish Guards as a junior musician studying at the Army Junior School of Music and later at the Royal Military School of Music (Kneller Hall). 

After fifteen years with the Irish Guards Band, and having seen the world, Paul left the army to have a busy career as a professional musician and an instrumental teacher.  Paul enjoys most kind of music and can be found in ensembles from symphony orchestras to funky soul bands.

  Graham Wright - trumpet, cornet and vocals  

Graham began playing the cornet at the age of 10 and later switched to trumpet. He studied trumpet at the Colchester institute of music with George Reynolds of the London Symphony Orchestra, joined the band of the Irish Guards in which he became principal trumpet, and continued his studies at the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall with John Hardy of Covent Garden. He also studied instrument technology at Merton College in Surrey for which he gained a City and Guilds degree equivalent. He now teaches the subject at Merton College.

Graham continues to play as a free-lance trumpeter, gives private tuition for brass players and also repairs instruments.

His love of dance-band music of the 1930s and 1940s came from listening as a boy to 78 rpm records of British dance bands on a wind up gramophone. At college he co-founded the Tea Rooms Ensemble to play music of the period. He helped form the 12-piece Mayfair Dance Orchestra in the early 1990s until its leader emigrated to the USA taking the band's arrangements with him. He then joined forces with John Ashworth in 1997 to run the seven-piece New Foxtrot Serenaders.

 Richard Pywell - slide trombone  

Richard's first exposure to jazz music was a 78rpm big band recording of Stan Kenton's "Intermission Riff". Having dabbled with piano lessons he began trombone at secondary school with the Croydon Music Service (for whom he now teaches). Later, Richard gave Graham his first show business break when, as fellow inmates at Colchester Institute, he invited Graham to "cut his jazz teeth" by joining the college big band on 5th trumpet. Richard continued with formal Post-Graduate study at the Royal College of Music and the National Centre for Orchestral Studies, and then went on to become a founding member of Loose Tubes, the influential British big band of the late 1980s, with whom he toured the UK, Europe and North America, performed at the BBC Proms and at Ronnie Scott's, and played on three albums and many TV and radio broadcasts.

Since those heady days at the cutting edge of contemporary jazz Richard has followed a musical pilgrimage back to earlier genres, performing in situations as diverse as the Memphis Belle Swing Orchestra, the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, the Blowpipes Trombone Trio, the musical Chicago (West End and touring productions), the English Classical Players, Elvis The Musical (West End), The Bryan Smith Orchestra (P&O ballroom cruises), the Croydon Brass Quintet, and The Bert Kaempfert Orchestra. Unable to kick his terminal addiction to running unfeasibly large ensembles, Richard is also Musical Co-Director of the 20-piece Hot Orange (contemporary) big band. 2006 has seen further landmark achievements, performing with USA Gospel Guru Dr. Ron Kenoly (live on worldwide Sky TV), with Colombian Salsa Maestro Roberto Pla, and with legendary big band leader Len Phillips.......

 David Young - brass bass 

David started on the tuba at High School because the band needed one, decided it suited him and apart from dabbling a little on Double Bass and Bass Trombone has stuck with it. The Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra was a great source of fun and inspiration from the age of 13 to nearly 18. Not able to take up a post-graduate place at the Royal Northern College of Music as all grants (remember them?) were used up at University, David moved to London and has been involved in various types of musical groups, lately using the cimbasso (don't ask unless you like Italiian opera) much more than expected.

As maintainer of this web site David invites any comments, views or suggestions. Email direct by clicking the envelope

 Mike Osborne - pots and pans 

At the Royal Academy the renowned James Blades helped hone Mike's ability to hit dead animal skins with old bits of wood, and to this day he rarely misses. Just as well as he has played for many of the London orchestras and theatres, as well as European orchestras such as the Prague Symphony Orchestra and the NDR Radio Orchestra and Big Band. He has worked, recorded and toured with many varied artistes including Petula Clark, Bette Midler, Sasha Distel, Irene Cara, Bonnie Langford, Christal Gayle, Kiri Te Kanawa, Lesley Garrett, Vanessa Mae, Toyah Wilcox, Posh Spice, Freddie Mercury, Cleo Laine, Johnny Dankworth, Tina May, Claire Martin, Mica Paris, Kenny Ball, George Melly etc. etc.

Extensive TV work includes the Laurence Olivier Awards, Evening Standard Awards, Parkinson, Johnny Vaughan Tonight house band and many many more. To help improve his general education he has worked on Playschool and Blue Peter. Feature films include Bright Young Things directed by Stephen Fry, and Number Ten. Many West End shows include Fame, Rent, Guys and Dolls, 42nd Street (National Tour), Showboat, Five Guys named Moe, and latterly High School Musical at the Hammersmith Apollo.

If that wasn't enough, Mike has also worked as an actor for the National Theatre Company, and on TV including appearing in the series The All Electric Amusement Arcade for which he also recorded all the music for Thames Television. There is nothing Mike cannot do facilitating rhythm for bands, schools or corporations, but his high point to date must be the swanee whistle solo on 'A White Christmas With The New Foxtrot Serenaders'.