Letter: Sad loss to music scene

This letter sent to the Star was written by Howard Greaves, Sheffield, S7

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 6:47 am
Keith Peters Big Band
Keith Peters Big Band

How sad to read in the same edition of The Star the loss of two stalwarts of the Sheffield music scene.

Keith Peters was a delightful man and my sincere condolences to his devoted wife Joan who was ever present at his amazing concerts.

He had a large following and, prior to the Covid lockdown and at the grand old age of 90, was still leading his band at their monthly appearance at the Farm Road Social Club always looking dapper in his trademark white jacket.

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Prior to that he ‘gigged’ at the Queens Road Social Club before its sudden closure.

Both venues lent themselves to his style of music which for the uninitiated could be loosely described as Big Band stuff from the 1920s through to the 1960s.

Keith did all his own arrangements for his band and my wife and I were avid fans often commenting that, particularly on the Glenn Miller numbers, if you closed your eyes the resemblance to the originals was uncanny.

These were the most requested and quite rightly so.

The 21-piece Keith Peters Big Band has a repertoire of over 600 numbers and you could guarantee every concert would be different and memorable.

I understand that the Band will continue under new leadership, but Keith will be a hard act to follow.

When I was vice chairman of the long gone Friends of Abbeydale Picture House charity, Keith performed there and you could guarantee that he always brought the house down (and it wasn’t just the acoustics in that fabulous auditorium!).

I sincerely hope the excellent CADS charity who now run this historic venue will consider a memorial concert when things get back to normal.

Wearing my other hat during my stint at the Abbeydale, I was the licensee in the downstairs Bar Abbey which held monthly Northern Soul nights under the KGB banner for which the building was famous in times past but on a much larger scale.

It still displayed the Hammer and Sickle flag from the old days and it was here that I first met DJ Barry Holland who sadly passed away last year, my condolences to his wife Ann too.

He introduced me to Northern Soul and although I have always been a big Tamla Motown fan, had never really studied this particular brand of Soul music.

Doing my landlord duties at these sessions was a form of force feeding and I soon became a keen fan.

As we had to shut down at 1am which Barry was always reluctant to do, I always had to nudge him with the remark of ‘it’s time for Jimmy’.

This was a hint for him to spin his final track which was always ‘Long After Tonight Is All Over’ – Jimmy Radcliffe’s 1965 hit.

This broad church approach to my musical tastes may seem strange but nevertheless true.

So thank-you Keith and Barry for all the pleasure you have given us over the years and may both your genres of music live forever.