My Life In Music

Halifax has been linked with Aachen for almost 70 years. Everyone is welcome to come to the monthly Halifax Aachen Society meetings in the Maurice Jagger Centre. At the August meeting Stuart Atkins gave a very interesting talk entitled My Life in Music. Born in 1937 into a musical family in Flockton near Huddersfield he quickly learned to play the piano and trombone and joined the village Brass Band.

After school he worked as a tailor and in 1955 began his National Service which Introduced him to the music of Military bands. When he was demobbed music was his passion. It was the time of the growth of Dance bands and he played with various bands before moving to the Mecca in Leeds.

The music scene changed dramatically in 1967 when the Batley Variety Club opened, attracting top international performers. Stuart was now working full-time at the Club and developed as a music arranger and Director. His talents led to conducting for the Bachelors and working with Gene Pitney, Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones and Roy Orbison amongst many others. He ran his own 18 piece big band, working for 10 seasons as Music Director at the Blackpool Opera House and also at the Manchester Opera House on the Musical Barnum with Michael Crawford.

He married the singer Patti Gold and can still be found playing in York every Wednesday.

Geoff Barnes
Vice-Chair and Publicity Officer