Sidney Torch (1908-1990) was an English conductor, composer, and cinema organist. He was born in London, England, and studied the piano at the Blackheath Conservatoire in south east London.
When the cinema’s Christie Theatre Organ was installed in 1928, Torch became the Assistant Organist to the Chief Organist, Quentin Maclean. Torch took over as Chief Organist at the Cinema in 1932.
Torch then played the organ in a number of London cinemas and in 1937 he became the Chief Organist of the new Gaumont State Cinema, Kilburn. In 1940 he was drafted into the RAF and stationed near Blackpool. While in the RAF, he became the Conductor of the RAF Concert Orchestra, where he learned to arrange music and to conduct.
Torch conducted many orchestras and bands, particularly those of the BBC, and created the BBC Light Programme show “Friday Night is Music Night”, which began in 1953. Torch also conducted the BBC Concert Orchestra for nearly every Friday Night show until his retirement in 1972, which came after a disagreement with the BBC: Torch snapped his baton in half at the end of his last concert.