Fran Lambert began his musical life at the piano, quickly switching to the clarinet after a particularly poor performance of a Clementi Rondo at a school concert. His first public performance, still in short trousers, with the Billy Munn band at a 21st birthday dance at the Imperial Hotel, Torquay, led to private tuition with Sidney Fell professor of clarinet at the Royal College of Music.
Despite the classical training, traditional jazz was his first love and he was soon he was sitting in with most of the revivalist jazz bands of the late 1950s and early 1960s. A decade or so later he could be found in New Merlin’s Cave, Islington, with John Chilton and what was to become the Feetwarmers, George Melly’s backing band.
He was taught to sing by Christopher Bishop, then a schoolmaster but to become EMI’s chief record producer responsible, inter alia, for many of Sir David Willcocks’ recordings with the choir of Kings College Cambridge.
The financial necessity of becoming a Chartered Accountant and then a banker rather put an end to Fran’s musical ambitions and he only returned to singing in the 1990’s, the clarinet, sadly, making increasingly infrequent appearances.
To-day he sings bass with Saffron Walden Choral Society and, together with now retired director Paul Garland, became a founder of SOG when conductor Michael Thorne announced his intention to perform Die Meistersinger having been stunned by the acoustic of Saffron Hall at the hall’s opening concert.
He is now principally responsible for all of SOG’s business and administrative arrangements.