John Miller Orchestra

 

Fiona Paige

Fiona Paige

Fiona Paige, a multi-talented singer, actress and dancer, began her association with The John Miller Orchestra after she answered an advertisement. The Herb Miller Orchestra were looking for a female singer, and Fiona's audition took place in her living room with John Miller and the then manager as her audience and examiners. For refreshments Fiona rustled up a steaming pot of tea and plenty of rounds of cheese on toast. Fiona laughs as she remembers: "If you really want to know how I got the part, it was the cheese on toast and pots of tea! It's a running joke with John and the band." Fiona's audition with John and the manager took place on the Wednesday, and her first live performance took place on the Saturday in front of 2,000 students at Cardiff University! Posed with the obvious question: "How did you do it?" (as she most definitely did!) "I spent three days with a walkman on dancing and singing around my house and got rather nervous."

Fiona, known as the sweetheart of the orchestra, after twenty-five years with the band now laughs at the breath taking suddenness of her entrance into the world of Glenn Miller's music. Fiona sings in an American accent so naturally now but says that it came to her easily due to her trips out to America as a young girl. When her mothers' sister married an American, Fiona spent two semesters at high school living the life of a young American. Una Billings' famous TV School of Dancing has also attributed to Fiona's American influence. Fiona's voice, so evocative of the time, often gets compliments from the audience. "One lady came up to me and said that I'd sang a song that night that sounded exactly the same as when she'd heard it on the night that she first met her husband at a dance."

Although Fiona's first love was dancing, aged twelve, she started singing lessons. When Fiona reflects on that time it becomes obvious that singing and dancing are inbred right through to the bone, "To me, they are two of a kind, you can't have one without the other. When I'm on stage and I'm singing, I just can't stop myself from moving to the music. John Miller always says about Glenn "He wrote this music for dancing."

Looking back on her singing career as a solo artist taking her to Spain, Africa and France she says: "After the cushioning of 17 wonderful boys how could I ever go back to being solo?!"