Meet Banbury's creative crooner

Barry Whitehouse, aka Beau Norton
Barry Whitehouse, aka Beau Norton

One of Banbury old town’s stalwart retailers, often given the name ‘Arkwright’ by other retailers and customers, is also a crooner in his spare time.

Known for his vintage fashion style in the shop, art supplies store owner Barry Whitehouse regularly dons his tuxedo when he’s not behind the till and croons to the tunes of Sinatra, Dean Martin, and many of the songs made famous in the forties and fifties.

Barry said: "It all started just over a year ago, before that I hadn’t sang in public in almost twenty years.

"When I was younger I used to love singing, and sang at my mother and father’s wedding anniversary when I was 19. Sadly my father passed away a month later and I didn’t feel like singing much after that.

"I used to sing to my mother a lot at home, but after she passed away three years ago I was at a loss and had nobody to sing to. I began posting short clips of me singing on my social media pages as a Sunday Sing Along, and from there I began to get bookings.

"I created a new vintage persona, Beau Norton which is the name I sing under, and I have been privileged to sing at many events, as well as to care homes. It is amazing the power music has on people, in the same way art does I suppose.

Barry added: "Seeing people in the care homes almost come to life when they recognise songs from their younger years is so rewarding."

After coming as a runner up in Mr Vintage UK last year, Barry decided to try and bring more of a vintage scene to Banbury.

He has booked Banbury Town Hall for a vintage music evening, ‘Beau Norton and Friends’ on Friday, September 27.

He will be joined on stage with Banbury’s own answer to the Andrews Sisters, The Bluebelles and their band, Carrie-Anne Lawson the driving force and singer in The Glamophones who were the Midlands leading vintage girl harmony group, Betsy Harmony a vintage singer with a fun fifties vibe and Tom Carradine known throughout the south for his Cockney Sing Along nights.

Tickets are just £10 each and are available from The Artery in Parsons Street, or from www.beaunortonsings.com.