Dance Band Encyclopaedia
Born: September 16, 1906 in Bootle, Liverpool, England.
Died: July 1953, Manchester.
Alfred (Jack) McCormick was born in Bootle, Liverpool, England on
September 16, 1906. He was the first child born to John Joseph
McCormick and Jane Elizabeth (Hodgeson) McCormick and was one of four
children. He had two brothers, George and Cyril and a sister Amy.
He had a few jobs as a young man, but finally chose his love of music as
his career. He was very versatile, and could play quite a few
instruments as well as leading the band; the violin, tenor and soprano
saxophones as well as the clarinet. He eventually formed his own
band in the early 1930's called "Jack McCormick and his
Ambassadors" and they would play all over the area for various
functions, especially at the Rialto Ballroom in Liverpool, where they
played for " Dances". His signature tune was "Tea For
Two". It was at these dances that he met his wife, Ethelwin
Harrison, she would come there with her sister Kathleen.
was also very musical, was a gifted pianist and also a ballroom dancer,
in fact had won the North of England Dance Championships at the Winter
Gardens in Blackpool, England. They were married a few years later
in 1934 and resided on Stanley Road in Liverpool.
In late 1933, Jack and the band made their first traced recording, for the local "Majestic" record label (based in Blackpool) and a few months later made 2 test recordings for British Homophone's "Sterno" label. The members of the band at this period are believed to include Bill Boland (trumpet & trombone); Cyril Wookey & Alf Roberts (saxes); Frank Woods (piano); Harry Case (guitar); Jack Martin (bass & trombone); Arthur Haydock (drums). Wookey & Haydock were both former members of Henry Hall's Manchester-based Midland Hotel Band, and Boland & Case were subsequently to play for Joe Loss in London.
was during this time (1934-1939) that he and his band became quite
popular and would broadcast from time to time on the BBC from the
Rialto Ballroom in Liverpool.
the second world war broke out in 1939, he moved his family to Blackpool, a
safer area then Liverpool, and entered the Royal Air Force as a sergeant
in charge of entertaining the troops, he was stationed in Iceland off
and on until the war ended in 1944.
he came home, he formed another dance band, I'm sure with some of his
previous dance band members. They were offered a
permanent position to play for Lewis's Restaurant, which was
part of a large department store in Manchester, England. The members of
the band at that time were; Don Bamford, Dick Kyte, George Harrison,
Eddie Lawn, Ted Shuttleworth and Charley Maycock. He would still
broadcast his music, and in August 1947, was featured with Michael
Miles on "Radio Forfeits". It was at this time he also
appeared on "Music While You Work" the radio series. He worked
for Lewis's for many years until his early death in July, 1953. He lived
in Blackpool until the family moved to Manchester in 1952.
and Ethelwin had three children, two sons, John and Peter and a daughter,
Pauline. In 1956, Ethelwin emigrated to the United States with her
My thanks to Jack McCormick's son, Peter, for the information & photograph scans
Three photographs of Jack McCormick & his Ambassadors (dates unknown)