Ivy's Gals "Come, See, Conquor" Hahn
(from A2C Jim Shane, "Hahn Hawk" 1964) - Via Pat "Sapphire" Burnett




Perhaps you've noticed that the female population of Hahn has increased lately; if you have, you're right. The girls are part of the Ivy Benson All-Girl Orchestra. The lasses are playing at the Airmen's Open Mess this month.

Mrs. Benson, who is known in civilian life as Mrs. Brantley Calloway is married to an Air Force chief master sergeant who is the NCOIC of the engine shop for the 2nd Field Maintenance Sq. at Barksdale AFB, La.

Ivy met her husband during an engagement at Upper Heyford Air Station where Sergeant Calloway was assigned as a club steward. She remarked about how she met him. "We had a terrible disagreement one night. The next day he invited me to lunch and we've been happily married ever since".

Mrs. Calloway has lived music most of her life, having started out on the piano at age five. She plays all the instruments in the orchestra and often teaches the girls to play them. She says she doesn't know exactly how long she's had an all-girl orchestra, but it seems like most of her life.

Tour Military Bases

During the summer, Ivy's band plays at a tourist resort on the Isle of Man, off the coast of England at "Villa Marina". The rest of the year is spent touring military installations throughout Europe. Ivy also announced that the girls have been invited to accept an engagement in Japan in the spring.

Part of Mrs. Benson's orchestra has recently received acclaim in England and the continent. They also signed for Parlophone Records, the same label as the Beatles record for. The group "Sally and the Alley Cats" and is composed of six of the girls from the orchestra. They are the only all girl Beat group in England, Mrs Benson remarked .

Their new record, which has "Is it something that I said" on one side and "You forgot to remember" on the other, is already number 12 on Radio Caroline, Ivy stated, and the girls have hit all the national papers and magazines. An interesting note also is that the girls also have the Beatles press agent, Brian Sommerville, handling their publicity.

Wedding Bells

An unusual orchestra, to say the least, the girls range from age 16 to 24, with one member having been with Ivy for over 10 years. Her two singers, Mary McSherry and Sally Sykes have been with her for over four years. Mrs Benson says she still has trouble keeping the girls together for any length of time.

"One year I lost seven girls, who, by the way, all got married to American GI's" stated Ivy. Mary McSherry, who comes from Glasgow, Scotland, replied when asked how she liked it at Hahn "The fellars are nice here, I like it". Heather Nicholl, who comes from the Isle of Man and joined the group there over three years ago is the pianist in the orchestra and remarked thhat twoo of her favourite entertainers are Americans Barbara Streisand and Peter Nero.

The other girls in the group are Robey Buckley (who comes from Australia), Tanza McKernon and Lois Williams on the trumpet, Pam Brett and Maureen Millington on the trombone; and saxophonists Barbara Thompson, Cindy Mottram, Ann Chalice, Margaret McDowall and Pat Burnett. Andrea ("Andy") Beall plays the drums and at age sixteen is the youngest in the group while Geraldine Fee plays Bass.

If you haven't met the girls yet, you've missed a treat. They'll be appearing at the Club the rest of December.

 


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