IVY'S GIRLS 1964 (from Sally Cursons -publication unknown)


Catherine Dandrieux Introduces you to ………

Ivy Benson and her Girls' Band.

Like a sparrow announcing that Spring has arrived, Ivy Benson's slim figure can be seen rush-ing through the Villa Marinas theatre telling everyone that the season has started. Ivy Benson and her Orchestra, says the poster, playing each night from 8 p.m. to 11.30p.m. - Its a well-known name all over the world and especially in the Isle of Man and the grounds of the Villa Marina, since its Ivy's eighth season at the Douglas Villa Marina.

Why is it then Ivy Benson's orchestra, composed of 15 lovely girl musicians, always meet the same enthusiasm with their public. The answer is simple. The band is always "with it'' and Ivy won't compromise with a second class show so serious rehearsals are organised until Ivy is satisfied that each musician, each singer makes the best of her talent.

The three trumpeters are Robey Buckley, Tanza McKernon and Lois Williams.
Pamela Brett and Maureen Millington. take care of the trombones. The five saxophon-ists are Barbara Thompson, Cynthia Mottram, Ann Challice, Margaret McDowell and Pat Burnett.

Heather Nichols plays the piano, 15 year old Andrea Beall is the drummer and Valerie West the Bass.

The two new singers are Marie Fisher and Sally Cursons. If you have already been to the concert you have found out for yourselves that they are all young, gay, and full of talent, and as names don't mean much to you, you would rather know a bit more about them personally. That's why I tried to have a word with each of them.

19 year old blond Barbara Thompson from London was my first victim. Barbara has superb long green eyes and she plays the saxophone. This is her first season with Ivy Benson. She is not quite sure of her feelings where Douglas is concerned but the coast is smashing and the sun! I left to bask another few hours.

Cynthia Mottram who plays the sax comes from a village near Leeds and she is also one of Ivy's recruits. She just can't wake up in the morning, but she likes sports, driving fast cars, swimming, playing tennis and all that.

Margaret McDowell joined lvy's band when she was sixteen (she is now 18). She learnt how to play the saxophone in Glasgow and if she enjoys fast cars she surely loathes walking. The wind gives her the creeps and she is looking for someone to teach her how to swim.

The 21 years old saxophonist Pat Burnett comes from Heysham. She enjoys cooking as long as there is someone to wash her pans. She loves reading and Ivy Benson, for whom she has worked for six years.

24 years old Ann Challice has worked for six years with Ivy as a saxophonist. She looked at me and said that she didn't like people with big-heads. Follow Anne if you want to spend a gay evening; she likes lots of drinks and a crowd of admirers.

Pamela Brett - call her "Pam" - dislikes snobs and reads a deal but she is always ready for a swim. Pam comes from Somerset, has been playing trombone for four years in band and is 19 years old.

Maureen Millington, who plays the trombone and who joined Ivy's band at the same as Pam, makes most of her dresses and won't look twice at a scruffy man.

Valerie West has just come from Lybia where she played the Bass for 6 months in an inter-national group. She told me that she attended the College of Music of Cardiff, where she comes from, and when she played for the Paul Gunth orchestra she was the only girl. The only first quality she requires is another persons kindness.

Heather Nichols the pianist and she comes from the Isle Man. "I am so lucky", said Heather "to get in Ivy's band, for I love playing the piano and it is so diffi- cult to find a band which needs a pianist. Oh, I miss the Island at times but then tours and new places are so exciting that you don't think too much about it".

Andrea Beall is the baby of the band. She is only fifteen and Ivy is very proud of her. Andrea has been playing the drums since she was seven years old. She comes from Derby and had the best teachers any drummer could dream of - "The Guards": You would understand why Ivy is so proud of Andrea if you had listened to Andrea's brilliant solo on the drums.

Out of the three trumpets I only managed to catch Lois Williams. Robey Buckley and Tanza McKernon had already disappeared to go and do some shopping before the shops closed.

Lois Williams gave me a sweet blue look and said that she was 21 years old and that this was her fourth season at the Villa Marina. Lois swims like a fish, dress-makes in her spare time and adores parties. By the way Lois is looking for a man with personality.
Ivy Benson is launching two young singers whom she has re-cently engaged for the season.

Mary Fisher used to sing opera. Long slim, ginger hair and hazel--eyed, 18 years old Mary Fisher comes from London but she was a born in Bournemouth. Mary takes her job very seriously. "I have a very high voice", she explained, "and this is quite different from what I used to do, but I am getting the hang if it; I used to be a bit lazy but Ivy is just the kind of
person who makes you feel that at you want to work. Singing is my life. The main thing in life is to believe in what you are doing and my aim is to make a name for myself. Ivy taught me a lot and she skirt and she gives me confidence in my capabilities".

17 years old Sally Cursons could be a replica of CilIa Black: the same hair style, the same complexion and the same warm dark eyes. Ivy gave her her first opportunity to make her appearance on stage and she is firmly determined to live up to it, or should I say, to sing up to it."I get a kick out of you", "Anyone who had a heart", "Sally" are some of their favourite songs, and of course "My boy Lollipop)".
"Our audiences love pop music" said the girls "but,of course, we play a bit of everything so as to satisfy everyone's peference".

If you meet in the street a pretty girl dressed in a white skirt and with a striped blazer, don't forget that she belongs to Ivy Benson and that you can't take her out, neither in the afternoon or in the evenings, for she will be playing at Douglas's Villa Marina from 2.30 p.m. to 4.30 pm. in the gardens and from 8 p.p.m. in the theatre, 12th June, inclusive.

After the 12th June she will be playing inside Marina in the mornings, from 10.30 to 12.3O (Teenbeat) and in the gardens from 2.30p.m. to 4.30p.m.

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