Dear friends in the music industry
I was saddened to hear of the passing of Dennis Farrington who was a well know band leader, identity, and legend in the music industry for so many years. He was 87 years young and greatly respected by those who dealt with him, including myself. He was a gentleman in the true sense of the word and will be greatly missed, especially by the hundreds of musicians who turned up over the years to play in a ‘Dennis Farrington Band’ at some gala event at a town hall in Victoria.
Thank you Dennis for your remarkable contribution to the Australian live music industry.
Fortunately he was interviewed and recorded by Bill Stephens at the National Library of Australia last year and an abstract of that recording is listed below:
Denis Farrington born 1920 in Tallangatta, Vic., talks about his family background; his siblings; growing up on a dairy farm; his schooldays; his swimming career; training for the Olympics; his career as a barber; Harry Motherson; his interest in music; playing in a brass band; selling records; being selected to represent the State of Victoria at the Berlin Olympics; his swimming skills; how the outbreak of war affected his swimming career; training in fitting, turning and welding while continuing work as a barber; football, cycling; moving to Richmond; commencing his music career; his first band, ‘The Blue Moon Orchestra’; finding engagements for his orchestra during the depression; a typical routine for the orchestra; the source of his band arrangement; how the first vocalist sang with a megaphone; demonstrates with a snippet of song; dance styles in vogue at the time; maintaining ‘The Blue Moon Orchestra’; sourcing musicians.
Farrington discusses his reasons for not pursuing a career in recording and broadcasting; how he became an employer of musicians; deputising at the Tivoli; sourcing musicians to work in television in the early days; working two jobs; playing at Government House; routine for musicians playing at Government House; protocol when playing at Government House; popular dance repertoire; supporting charities; obtaining sheet music and orchestrations; his favourite musicians and their attributes; Bob Gibson; Jimmy Burke; Kenny Weate; Max Reddy; Stella Lamond; Toni Lamond; Helen Reddy; working several Dennis Farrington Orchestras on the same night; a brush with gangsters; meeting Pat Lewis in 1972; dress codes and presentation; musicians and alcohol; his children and grandchildren; his O.A.M; his life governorship of Royal Melbourne Hospital.
from Brian Moran, Vice President