Boston Folk Orchestra

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Boston Folk Orchestra
Years active 1975-1979, 1996-present
Associated acts Baroque
Members
Richard Birbeck (vocals), Will Vaughan (guitar), Mel Stopper (flageolet and banjo)
Past members
Graham Neish (accordion), Stephen ‘Spud’ Murphy (guitar and mandolin), Mark Addison (electric bass), Keith 'Lurch' Baker, Dave Parkinson (guitar), Pete Benzie (guitar), Kim Biggs (accordion), Richard Peel (drums), Thea Bell (mandolin and saxophone)

Boston Folk Orchestra was a band playing folk music at least some of whose members were former students of Boston Grammar School.

Formed in 1975 in the market town of Boston, Lincolnshire, on the back of a then thriving local and national folk club scene, the Boston Folk Orchestra (BFO) comprised original members Richard Birbeck (vocals), Stephen "Spud" Murphy (guitar and mandolin), Will Vaughan (guitar), Graham Neish (piano accordion) and Mark Addison (electric bass).

Spud had introduced Richard to folk music and his large collection of songs and they often performed together as a duo. The other members had been players in other local bands before BFO was born. Their brand of mainly rousing chorus driven traditional folk songs, with obligatory audience participation, made them a popular local band. The 1970s saw BFO regularly performing to full houses at Boston Folk Club and in pubs, theatres, beer festivals and charity events across the East Midlands. They also had great success in talent competitions, reaching the regional final of the Manns Brewery competition in 1978. As their popularity grew, they were invited to play at larger venues culminating in appearances with comedian "Blaster" Bates and twice with British country star Pete Sayers. In 1976 BFO made their one and only recording in a local studio.

Along the way they would be joined at times by stand-in members Dave Parkinson and Pete Benzie on guitars, but the original core of the group remained until their break up in 1979 due to work and family commitments.

In 1996 the band reformed to play at the Revesby Folk Festival, then being organised by bassist Mark Addison. Radio Lincolnshire were there to record the event. Sporadic appearances by the band followed over the years including performances at Boston's Party in The Park, Anglers Retreat in Hertfordshire and the Reedham Ferry Folk Festival in Norfolk, where Kim Biggs stood in on accordion on occasions. By now BFO had expanded to include Richard Peel on drums and Thea Bell on mandolin and saxophone.

Following Thea's departure from the band, Mel Stopper (flageolet and banjo) joined in 2010.

In 2012 the band was was rocked by the death of its main influence Spud Murphy who is still so sadly missed. Graham Neish died in 2015.

Nowadays BFO, being spread across the UK, play together rarely, but are a regular feature at the ever popular Music Under the Stars charity event in Buckland Village, Buckinghamshire.

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