Francis Lambert, Fran to all and sundry, began his musical life at the piano, quickly switching to the clarinet after a particularly horrendous performance of a Clementi Rondo at a school concert. He took to it like a duck to water giving his first public performance, still in short trousers, with the Billy Munn band at a 21st birthday dance at the Imperial Hotel, Torquay. This led to private tuition with Sidney Fell professor of clarinet at the Royal College of Music.
Despite the classical training, by the age of sixteen he was sitting in with most of the revivalist jazz bands of the period and some ten years later 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 and to become a well-known 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 Paul Garland, became a founder director of SOG when conductor Michael Thorne announced his intention to perform Die Meistersinger having been stunned by the acoustic of Saffron Hall at the choral society’s inaugural performance of the Verdi Requiem.
He is now principally responsible for all of SOG’s business and administrative arrangements.