Club Entertainment- Some Personal Memories and Thoughts from the Stage
A not so old hand- and certainly ‘too young to hang up the microphone’ club entertainer, Lee Ross from Coventry, shares his experiences and thoughts with Club Historians. He writes of how difficult it has become getting bookings. He used to play in a 5 piece band in the early 1980s and there was plenty of work once they had been approved by the notoriously tough bunch of club entertainment secretaries in Coventry such as Canley Club’s Bill Maltby.
Later on Lee was part of a double act with his wife Kim providing the vocals. Now he is a one-man act, not necessarily by choice but due to the general decline in club entertainment and lack of money to pay for larger acts. He says that it gets lonely up there on stage but it’s a sad sign of the times. But Lee is endeavouring to find other venues to play and his resourcefulness is paying off to some extent. Keep singing and strumming Lee!
Due to the recession, the smoking ban and the general decline of the social club scene it has become increasingly difficult for entertainers to find an audience nowadays. Clubs and pubs are struggling and venues are closing at an alarming rate.
This was the dilemma faced by former professional singer and entertainer Lee Ross (42) when he returned to the area looking to re-start his interest in entertaining.
"I'd had many years off the entertainment scene due to moving out of the area and because my wife was ill and we had ceased our children’s disco business and had taken a long break. Eventually, about 3 years ago we down sized and relocated back to Coventry. Recently I decided that at 42, I was still too young to hang up the microphone for good and that I might see if I could secure a few gigs in the local area. However I soon realised the once thriving working men’s club and local live scene I'd seen in the 80's and 90's was now reduced to just a handful of places"
So Lee realised he would have to do a spot of lateral thinking to find other types of venues and hit upon the novel idea of combining his talents.
"I have always had a love of music way beyond my years, from the 50's and 60's and before and I really enjoyed entertaining children when we ran our kids disco. It struck me that a lot of what I had learned and incorporated in the act for children would probably also work with older people and those in care homes"
So Lee set up "SPANGLES Golden Oldies" a fun disco and live sing-a-long show aimed at entertaining mature crowds.
"I have played a few friendship clubs and care homes now and had great comments back. Some audiences can and do get up to dance but others are less able but still tap their feet and sing along. You can see they are enjoying themselves and it really brightens their day," says Lee.
Lee combines a mix of songs from the 40's, 50's and 60's with sing-a-long and good humoured audience participation and nostalgia quizzes. He has also recently provided discos and live music for 50+ birthdays, a 90th birthday, retirements, re-unions and for a couple celebrating 60 years of marriage. Theme nights have also proven popular with 60's and 70's and rock n roll nights a regular fixture for anywhere looking for something a bit different. He has also provided entertainment and disco at a number of charity and black tie functions.
You can also visit the Spangles Disco website - www.spanglesdisco.co.uk
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