Nat Temple Page

Nat Temple, the friend

by Bryn Williams

One of dad's greatest friends, was Toastmaster Bryn Williams, who sadly cannot be with us today but sends the following tribute:-


I first met Nat in the 1950s when, as a spotty-faced skinny, aspiring Toastmaster I did a party with him. I was a voracious listener to the LIGHT PROGRAMS on the wireless, and knew all the names of all the bands that broadcast in those days and was in awe of those legends of the Danceband World. Names like Sid Phillips, Sidney Lipton, Ted Heath, Ken Mackintosh the Squadronaires, and, of course Nat Temple
Little did I realise then that these legends of music were merely lads with huge musical talents simply there to entertain people and make them happy. Nat was amongst those and at our first meeting he was kindness personified; We clicked instantly and possibly because he had the same zany, silly, off-beat sense of humour and fun as did I, it laid the foundation of a life-long friendship full of respect, and in our own weird ways, love - because to know Nat was to love him -
Throughout those years we cemented that friendship and it gave me huge delight to give him gigs all over the U.K. which he loved. We worked together on many of them and despite being a famous and top-class leader of highly skilled professional musicians, he never came the 'big-time' or tried to monopolise the scene - Life working with Nat was just pure joy.
We frequently spent hours on the phone just chatting away - not only about music, but also about all types of inconsequential rubbish which used to amuse us, but such was this relationship that we never seemed to start or end a conversation, but just picked up from where we left off last time.
I hadn't heard from Nat for several weeks and was sitting at home one day waiting - nay PRAYING for the telephone to ring to offer me a gig somewhere! - anywhere!!! - a Masonic at the Connaught, or a Wedding in Little Piddle Puddle, or anything - anywhere - to fill in a date, when the phone actually rang. I picked it up and this male voice at the other end of the line said; "YOU'RE WELSH AREN'T YOU? --- ONLY I'VE GOT THIS GIG IN WALES NEXT WEEK AND THEY WANT SOME WELSH SONGS!........KNOW ANY"?" and that was it! "Yes Nat" Said I "I am Welsh and do know plenty of 'em. What do you want? Oh and by the way HELLO!" It was that kind of friendship, so rare nowadays, which I treasure to this day. He was that kind of man
He was a fiercely proud man but a man whom I never EVER heard say an unkind or hurtful word about anyone. He had this oh so loopy sense of humour and we frequently teased each other with silly stories. I was privileged to be invited to the Diamond Wedding of Nat and Freda a few years ago and was asked to say a few words and recall my opening remarks. "NAT TEMPLE, A super guy, fabulous musician, great player of both the sax and clarinet.
NAT TEMPLE about whom that legend of Jazz and supremo of the clarinet, BENNY GOODMAN once said: NAT?..........WHO??????" Nat loved it. HE LOVED TO LAUGH!
He was respected as a fine musician by the highest authority in the land HIS FELLOW MUSICIANS who recognised a superb talent and brilliant practitioner! He practised that "damned liquorice stick" EVERY DAY OF HIS LIFE! HE NEVER MISSED A DAY which must have sometimes driven his family potty, but it is certainly why he kept the very high standards he always set himself.
His signature tune, CANSONETTA which he composed himself, is a glorious melody and one of my personal favourites of that entire genre. In my humble view it somehow typified Nat. It's in the minor key, it is gentle and melodious and whenever I play it, Nat's features and his clarinet always spring to mind.
Such was his modesty and passion for playing in front of an audience, that he didn't actually care where he was working - whether it was for our Royal Family at Royal Palaces and Castles, or at vast conferences all over Europe. He was equally at home playing in scout huts, golf clubs, pubs or synagogue halls. Nat loved them all.
All the mathematicians in the world could not total up the countless millions of people who have revelled in Nat's music and been entertained by him. It is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.