Were you a singing Scholar?

Francis Langford Singing Scholars
Francis Langford Singing Scholars
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Almost six decades ago, Malcolm ‘Mike’ Carmichael was performing around Great Britain with his friends, in one of the first ever boybands.

Now, close to 60 years on, the 74-year-old, who lives in London, would like to track down his former bandmates The Francis Langford’s Singing Scholars for a special reunion.

Francis Langford Singing Scholars programme

Francis Langford Singing Scholars programme

They played many variety theatres in the UK, either topping the bill or supporting other acts, and appeared for several summer seasons in Blackpool.

The singers appeared alongside stars such as Terry Thomas and David Whitfield, including at The Winter Gardens Pavilion.

They also performed on the same bill as Frank Randle, Mike and Bernie Winters, Arther Haynes and Albert Modley.

Formed in 1954, by Welshman Francis Langford, the Scholars were the forerunners to modern boybands like One Direction and Union J.

They were 16 boys aged 13 to 19, who covered popular ballads, semi-classical songs and rock’n’roll.

The Scholars’ well-respected singing teacher and pianist Monty Sidford finally settled in Blackpool, but passed away several years ago.

Malcolm, who has tried several times to track down his former bandmates, said: “I know several of the lads will still be about and would love to hear from any of them with a view to having a reunion, which would be absolutely wonderful.

“It would mean so much to me to get in touch with them again.

“I was a member until I was called up for National Service in 1960, when unfortunately I lost contact with many of the lads in the act.

“I do know a couple of the lads from Blackpool became well-known around the Blackpool clubs after leaving the act in the 1960s.

“The younger members had to attend school in whichever town or city we were appearing in and had to be out of the theatre by 9pm to comply with educational requirements.

“As a group we covered everything from Gounod’s Ave Maria to rock and roll, which made us a rather unique and popular act.”

The group also made a film in 1955, a male equivalent of St Trinians, set in a boys school and starring Fred Emney, Cardew Robinson, Freddy Mills and a very young Ronnie Corbett.

Among the members Malcolm would like to track down are, from Blackpool – Alf Kelly and Johnny Duffy, from Liverpool – Rod Ford and Eric Williams, from Swansea – Gilly Reese, from Manchester – Peter Griffiths, from Cardiff – Carl Spragg and from Sunderland – Douglas Jobling.

Anyone with information can contact Malcolm on 020 7916 1787 or email m.carmichael39@gmail.com