Friday, November 04, 2011

Sepia Saturday 99 : Harry The Musical Workhorse


The theme photograph over at Sepia Saturday this week features a band and therefore I am trying to think musically. This is not easy, for the love affair between me and music is entirely one way : I love music and music detests any attempt by me to interpret its' precious muse. The familial hills of the Burnett family were never fully alive with the sound of music : my father would occasionally assault the concertina and grandfather Enoch, I am given to understand, played a not-particularly-mean euphonium. To arrive at proper musical talent we need to leave blood behind and say hello to Uncle Harry.

Harry Moore married my fathers' sister, Annie Elizabeth Burnett in 1933. Just before the marriage he was working as a professional entertainer, touring the country as part of a pierrot show called "The Silhouettes" (See Sepia Saturday 56 for more information). The above photograph probably dates from the early 1930s and shows Uncle Harry (right) taking part in a revue : for some reason Sigmund Romberg's Student Prince springs to mind. Following his marriage, Harry retired from full-time entertaining and combined a day-job as a coal merchant's clerk with evening and weekend work as a pianist in a series of West Yorkshire working men's clubs. His task would be to provide backing for any featured vocalists in addition to providing musical interludes between the comics and the conjurers.

It was the kind of job that made him a musical workhorse - someone who could turn his piano-playing hand to any occasion, be it a family funeral or a joyous wedding. So, if we were in need of some entertainment for the forthcoming 100th birthday party of Sepia Saturday (don't forget, it's next week), he would be just the chap to send for.

GO OVER TO THE SEPIA SATURDAY BLOG TO SEE THE OTHER PARTICIPANTS IN SEPIA SATURDAY 99. AND DON'T FORGET SEPIA SATURDAY 100 IS NEXT WEEK - WHY NOT JOIN US FOR THIS SPECIAL OCCASION.

32 comments:

  1. What a jolly trio. It could well be The Student Prince, though my memory of it is a bit hazy. I saw it with John Hanson in Nottingham in the 1960s and Mum had the music on LP so I do know most of the songs. There’s one right up your street Alan; “The Drinking Song”!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Every family needs an Uncle Harry, or my family's case, an Auntie Vera. Sadly, it seems like musical workhouses (wonderful term!) are somewhat extinct these days.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Shades of Mario Lanza and the Drinking Song. The chap in the centre looks familiar too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love those costumes! ♥

    ReplyDelete
  5. It always strikes me that someone with a practised musical talent will always be able to find an opening for earning a bob or two.

    ReplyDelete
  6. As a child I do remember "The Drinking Song" and "We are Three Jews from Jerusalem" being part of Uncle Harry's repertoire. I believe he once auditioned as pianist for Ted Heath's Orchestra. Am I right Ali?

    ReplyDelete
  7. That photo should come with its own soundtrack!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I feel the same way about music that you do. And you should hear me play the violin.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Tickets Please! Then you will be able to enjoy the music?

    ReplyDelete
  10. I would love to see your father assaulting the concertina.

    ReplyDelete
  11. "I love music and music detests any attempt by me to interpret its precious muse." Great line. Great first paragraph.

    re: "We are Three Jews from Jerusalem." Really? Too funny. Your uncle sounds like quite the guy. Every family should have an Uncle Harry.

    ReplyDelete
  12. A great photo and a great story to go with it! Thanks, Alan!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hear, hear for Uncle Harry! A delightful photo & story.

    ReplyDelete
  14. what nice picture! gloria

    ReplyDelete
  15. I do remember Uncle Harry from post 56. My grandmother must have had him in mind when she tried to get me to continue my piano lessons so I could always play at parties.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm glad that uncle Harry could continue his playing even tho he had to give up show biz. It must have really been in his blood.
    Nancy Javier

    ReplyDelete
  17. They seem to be having a joy of a time here! Don't you wish you could experience their entertainment?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Very "Gilbert and Sullivan"

    ReplyDelete
  19. I have bene saving a photo for a sepia saturday - forgot it this week, but next week perhaps I shall have a go.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'll bet everyone was wild about Harry! Super photograph, Alan.

    ReplyDelete
  21. certainly a chap I would have enjoyed meeting, possibly because of my envy due to my total lack of any musical aptitudes. can't sing, can't play, totally tone deaf here, it's pathetic!! but I dare say it must have been a welcomed addition to your family if you were also impaired, musically speaking.
    :)~
    HUGZ

    ReplyDelete
  22. They do look as though they were enjoying their parts!

    My immediate family was split down the middle as far as music is concerned. My mother was, and my sister is, very musical. My father was, and I am, tone deaf. My mother never really fully accepted it.

    ReplyDelete
  23. What a fun Family Photo! Fun bunch to be around I would guess, hmmm now I need to ask my mom if we have any musical family roots, havent asked that question. :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. If only you had Uncle Harry on tape...He sounds like an interesting man. Happy 100th. The calendar I mentioned months ago having photos from local history here is now available. Yours will be sent as soon as I locate a suitable mailer.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Even before I had read your description, I guessed the Student Prince.The Uncle Harrys of the world need to be commemorated for their contribution to art. A wonderful treasure and memory.

    ReplyDelete
  26. The family musicians are on my uncle's line as well, lol. The photo is priceless, I only wish I could think of a clever caption to make us laugh as much as is warranted by the fabulous expressions.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Very cool picture and story of your Uncle. I had an uncle who was musically gifted and played jazzy piano at a pizza place years ago where I live. He was a special person. We also have and have had much musical talent in our family. Unfortunately I do no possess any of those gifts/talents.

    God Bless!

    ReplyDelete
  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  29. What a super photo! As whowerethey implied, it lends itself to a caption competition.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Uncle Harry looks and sounds like a great guy ... how nice to have somebody like that in your family.

    Love this photo, and also learning about your family. Thanks so much for stopping by to say hello,

    Kathy M.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Classic shot, and I agree with Dominic about the caption competition. I'm afraid I'm not up on musicals, so can't offer much in the way of a suggestion.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I had an Uncle Harry who played no instrument, was not nearly as handsome and was not even actually related. What a great guy around to entertain at family events - a treasure!

    ReplyDelete