Of the orchestras'
first broadcasts in January 1941, one critic in the
Melody Maker was to write 'Any of you lucky enough
to hear this airing will, I am sure, agree .......
that this is the greatest dance band performance that
has ever been broadcast this side of the Atlantic'.
The band was to receive many similar accolades throughout
its¹ existence. After the war, the musicians
decided to keep the orchestra together as a co-operative.
The Squadronaires then remained together under Pianist
Ronnie Aldrich until 1964 when, with the advent of
the new music, the dance and swing orchestras became
unpopular with the masses.
AND THEN ?
Some years later,
due to the hard work of Syd Lawrence, the style of
Big Band music began to regain popularity. The (new)
Squadronaires Orchestra was reformed under the leadership
of Saxophonist Harry Bence and worked as a modern
style band. Following the death of Harry Bence in
1997 the orchestra came under the leadership of Trumpet
player Greg Francis and the orchestra became a part
of the United Services Organisation which handles
the world famous Memphis Belle Swing Orchestra (from
the film Memphis Belle) and the Glenn Miller Tribute
Because the USO is
concerned with the heritage aspect of its orchestras,
it was decided to have the orchestra dressed and presented
just how it was in the 1940's. That means the musicians
have to be young - no beards , long hair or earrings!
Most importantly they are now dressed in authentic
RAF uniform. The band desks are motived with the RAF
roundel and are in red white and blue, and the stage
backdrop is a massive 16 x 8 RAF ensign flag and the
Union flag. The main aims of the USO orchestras are
to introduce young musicians to the era of Swing,
and to teach them to perform just how it was then.
If you want pure and
professional British nostalgia - (and tunes people
know) this is the band for you!