The death has been announced of the musician, conductor and composer/arranger Frank Bryce. He passed away peacefully on Friday 15th December following a period of illness. He was 88.
A product of the Besses Boys Band, he went on to play and conduct Besses o'th' Barn Band. He gained third prize in the 1945 Alexander Owen Memorial Scholarship and went on to serve with the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards Band for five years during which he became a star student at Kneller Hall.
He later became a renowned tenor horn player with the short lived Clayton Aniline Works Band which gained two top-six finishes at the British Open in the 1950s.
Frank Bryce also made his mark as a fine multi-instrumentalist (he played the violin up until his death) as well as a prolific and much admired composer and arranger.
'Promenade' written in 1969 is perhaps his most well known original work, used at the WD & HO Wills Second Section Grand Finals in 1970, as well as being utilised as the Third Section Area set-work in 1976 and the Senior Cup the following year.
His arranging skills saw works recorded by many leading bands and ensembles such as James Shepherd Versatile Brass.
The likes of 'Polly Wolly Doodling', 'Aces High', 'Sunshine of Your Smile', '633 Squadron', 'Trombola' and the flugel solo 'Black Velvet' became popular concert standards.
As a conductor Frank Bryce led Besses o' th' Barn from 1963 onwards, working with the likes of Andre Previn. He led the band to the North West Area title in 1972 and to a sixth place finishes at the British Open in 1964 and 1966.
His last major appearance with the band was at the 1977 British Open. He later enjoyed a short spell conducting James Shepherd Versatile Brass.
His arranging skills saw works recorded by many leading bands and ensembles such as James Shepherd Versatile Brass4BR
A man of considerable varied talents, his radio play 'Little Green Apples ' was broadcast on Radio 3 and he also wrote a number scripts for the television soap opera 'Coronation Street'. He studied graphic art design in his 70s.
He was predeceased by his wife Joyce. As he bequeathed his body to medical science there will not be a funeral, but his son David will organise a memorial service in the New Year.