Pewsey music maestro Tom Bott will bring the genteel experience usually found in the Ritz to Marlborough when he introduces afternoon teas with live music next spring.
Mayor Edwina Fogg was invited to a trial run in the period Assembly Hall at Marlborough Town Hall on Thursday, tucking into tea, tiny sandwiches and cakes while listening to Mr Bott’s High Society Orchestra.
While Mr Bott plays the violin, his orchestra also includes his wife Kim on piano, Elizabeth Flower on a second violin, plus musicians playing cello and bass.
The palm court orchestra serenaded the mayor with the music Mr Bott’s late grandfather, Bernard Bott, played with his orchestra in the 1930s in the grand hotels along the South West coast of England, and his great grandfather, Herbert Bott, a generation before in the Leicester area.
Father-of-two Mr Bott and his musicians play from the old scores that were passed down to him from previous generations. He plays his grandfather’s violin.
Mr Bott said he had been looking for somewhere for his High Society Orchestra to play while high tea was being served and he found that the Victorian town hall in Marlborough was just the place.
After Thursday’s trial run, for which local caterer Sarah Hicks provided the cakes and sandwiches, Coun Mrs Fogg said: “I think it’s a lovely idea and I hope that when the afternoon teas start a lot of people will support them.”
Initially the orchestra will play on the first Sunday of every month, starting February 3, from 2pm to 3.30pm. Admission is £16.50 a head, including afternoon tea.
Tickets can be bought from Mr Bott on (01672) 563501, from Charlotte Quest’s shop at 97 High Street, and a limited number will be available on the door.
Besides his own orchestra, Mr Bott plays regularly with Bourne-mouth Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and at West End productions. He is also principal second violin with the National Symphony Orchestra, performing with Catherine Jenkins, Russell Watson and Lesley Garrett.
Mr Bott said: “I believe it is important to bring live music into rural areas and I am keen to establish the High Society Orchestra in Marlborough.”
For more about the orchestra, visit www.tbhso.co.uk