Page No:146
Page No:147

Elsie playing her Double Bass.

Leaving the Ivy Benson Band

After Ivy started the band, girls' bands began to grow. In many areas, girls had fathers who worked in the coal pits, and they always had brass bands. So the daughters - and probably the sons too - learned to play the father's trumpet or the tenor horn or euphonium, and they all started writing to Ivy. Of course, Ivy never said 'no' to anybody; she'd let them come and audition and see what they could do. They'd come to the theatre when we were in their area and she'd listen to them, have a look at them, and say either 'yeah' or 'nay'.

During the war you weren't allowed just to pick somebody out and say 'Right, you can start next week.' People were registered at work; if you were working in a munitions factory, there was no way you could come out and play in the Ivy Benson Band!

These young girls were brilliant players. One or two of the older girls in the band left and the younger ones, such as Daisy Evans and Gladys Butterfield, took their places. It didn't cause any tension though. Ivy would just replace the ones who were leaving with the younger ones; it happened all the time. She started with a ten-piece or twelve-piece band, but it began to grow and she finished up with a saxophone section, a brass section and a rhythm section.