Monday, December 17, 2007

H. Westbrook Orchestra BIO (post war)

Henry Westbrook
It was back in the early part of 1943 that a Columbia-organized swing band tooted it’s last notes in Ausable Chasm, New York, packed its instruments and music, and, for the most part, went marching away to war.

Now, three years and two V-days later, the band is back together again, with a few new faces, a lot of old ones, and a great number of overseas service ribbons and decorations, And its leader, Henry Westbrook, is once more set to give forth with ‘music in the night” at South Carolina locations.

Two of the Westbrook musicians who exchanged their tuxedos for uniforms were: Julius Wald, first trumpet man who’s muted, sweet-riding, close-to-the-mic style made him a favorite with the public; and “Piggy” Lamoy, a Camden boy who holds down the third trumpet spot.

Arranger in New York
The arranger, Matt Wingard, served as director of the 178th Field Artillery band. He is now a student at the New York University School of Music, and is setting the style of the South Carolina orchestra from his desk in the musician’s Mecca.

Incidentally, the way he works out arrangements is a little bit unusual, but, so far, has proven very successful. Westbrook writes in full the developments, talents, and needs of his crew, airmails them to Wingard in New York, who in turn, writes the arrangements to fit the band. Every note is set down with the particular players and Westbrook’s instruction in mind. Such a plan gives the big-city flavor to the orchestra.

When the roll was called in the band after the conclusion of the war, one familiar face was found to be absent. He was “Bucky” Adams, only son of Mr. and Mrs. Grover Adams of Sumter, SC. A little fellow with a big smile and heart full of music, he swore he wouldn’t fight the war with a horn, and didn’t. The army tried to put him in a band, but he talked his way out of it. As a first lieutenant in the infantry he fell three times to enemy fire, three times returned to fight again, and was finally killed in action on September 26, 1944.

College Boys
Seven members of the Westbrook aggregation, all veterans, are enrolled either in the University of South Carolina or business college.; They are: G.D. Mizzell, “Chick” Domminick, Joe Belk, Ray Williams, Jack Downs, Piggy Lamoy, and Clyde bates.

Big, amiable Bob Livingston, versatile second trumpeter, is again on his old job. A talented pianist-arranger, he is currently working on vocal quartet arrangements n addition to his regular work in the brass section. Ben Gardner, Harold Lohr, Bill Well, Burke Owens, and Woody Deaton are newcomers to the band; Lohr, Owens, and Wells being recently discharged from the army.
Henry Westbrook, the Pee Dee boy who was adopted by Columbia, has been in the music business a long time. A native of Cheraw, he was only sixteen years old when he composed the song that was officially adopted as his high school’s alma mater.

When he enrolled at the University of South Carolina in the fall of 1934, he organized a dance orchestra to help pay his way through school. The band suffered growing pains in the rehearsal room of Flynn Hall, but it proved so profitable through following years that the young leader made it a full-time profession.

Music & Education

Since that time, the band has been instrumental in helping more than a score of talented musicians over the financial hurdles of a college education; Westbrook made it a standing rule to fill as many vacancies as possible from the ranks of deserving youths who needed the work to put themselves through school.

A few months ago the orchestra was re-0organized and has been rehearsing ever since. Besides the mellow voice of the maestro on vocals, a comely addition to the singing department is Miss Doris Boris of Charleston, who sings’em sweet or hot as the occasion demands. Burk Owens also manages to wander to the mike sporadically to do a little crooning.

The band is still using its original theme song, “Good Night,” composed by Westbrook many years ago.

The new crew claims the old superlatives “bigger and better,” but is youthful baton-yielder says that the most important thing remains unchanged—his style. “Now, as before the war,” he declares, “our policy will be to give the dancers the music they want the way they want it played.”

-end of BIO

This photo, I can only assume is Miss Doris Boris from the write-up mentioned above (You remember...the one "who sings’em sweet or hot as the occasion demands") It's apparent that her parents had a healthy sense of humor to tag her with a name like that at birth. I can only pray that she didn't marry Horace Morris the Florist.
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