Tom Round fondly remembered;
Thomas Round was a world famous opera tenor who lived in our village from the 1960’s.
I first met Tom in the mid seventies as a member of the chorus he assembled for his company’s “Gilbert and Sullivan for All” concert which had toured the world.I’d already listened to many of his performances on LP recordings which I still have.
I met Tom again when we moved to the village in 1987 and formed a firm friendship which continued until he died.
Tom was born in Barrow, became a joiner and then a policeman based in Lancaster.He was one of the policemen who were placed on guard outside Buck Ruxton’s home in Dalton Square in 1936.Although in a “Reserved Occupation”,Tom joined the RAF on the outbreak of war and trained pilots in Texas.Whilst in Texas Tom was frequently called on to sing in charity concerts in air force bases and churches,often flying long distances as part of his “training”.
He returned to the UK ,flying Spitfires. I once asked him what was the most frightening part of flying? “Walking from the dispersal hut to the aircraft” was his reply.
On his demobilization Tom successfully auditioned for the D’oyly Carte Company and began to sing the tenor roles in the Gilbert and Sullivan operas.He eventually left the company in 1964 forming his own “Gilbert and Sullivan For All” touring company.
Tom spent a great deal of time away from his childhood sweetheart and wife Alice as he toured.Alice maintained a map of the world which clearly showed where Tom was due to play.This was crucial as Alice used Western Union to pay the artists and venues all over the world.They were married for over 72 years.
Tom was a gentleman, always willing to give you time and always ready with a good story.
At one point in the 1950’s Tom was selling more records than Frank Sinatra.Tom was always engaged, countless appearances on the BBC , the singing voice for Tom Arnold’s Ice Shows, Royal Variety Performances, the list goes on.
Alice and Tom were members of Holy Trinity and Tom sang in the choir.
Never a “Luvvie” but a “real” person who brought his unique voice and persona to millions
THOMAS ROUND 18TH OCTOBER 1915 – 2ND OCTOBER 2016 eighteen days short of his 101st birthday.