us - our aims and our policies
orchestras and bands in this brochure are all managed by the
United Services Organisation - better known as the U S O. The
company was started some 12 years ago by orchestrator/conductor
Greg Francis directly following him providing a young orchestra
for the Lord (David) Puttnam film Memphis Belle.
some encouragement from Lord Puttnam and Warner Films, it was
decided to keep this new exciting young orchestra together after
the film release as a working orchestra. The aims of the U S O
have since become simply to provide the opportunity for young
musicians to develop their skills playing big band music of the
of the excellent music colleges and youth orchestras tend to concentrate
on either classical or
very 'way out' big band music. There is very little training in
respect of the music of the 1940's - a very important part of
our musical heritage.
There is also very little opportunity for these young people to
join the established orchestras since, they are mostly populated
by the more senior musicians. One great thing about the music
business is that many musicians do go on to play their instruments
into their 70's and 80's. Whilst this is a good thing of course,
it does preclude most of the younger players from having their
chance. Hence we maintain a policy of employing younger musicians.
By supporting our young orchestras you will be helping to continue
that policy, thus ensuring that 'our kind of music' is still being
played as it should be in 20 or 30 years time.
U S O management team has grown over the years and we now manage
several more 'big' bands, each one having it¹s own particular
identity. Whilst the Memphis Belle Swing Orchestra still continues
to perform as a typical 1940's American Swing Band, the Glenn
Miller Tribute Orchestra provides a very polished tribute to the
less raucous music of the swing bands.
1997 we reformed the original Squadronaires Orchestra as a tribute
to one of the finest British bands ever. The New Squadronaires
Orchestra plays a great mixture of the swing band music and the
softer ballad styles of Harry James, Benny Goodman and some of
the Glenn Mille hits. The Savoy Dance Orchestra plays the pure
music of the late 20's and up to the mid 30's era, when swing
finally took over. In 2001 we were asked to provide a selection
of big bands at the Blackpool Tower ballroom for 6 nights a week.
We decided to alternate the bands and in so doing, we reformed
the world famous Blackpool Tower Big Band. This band plays music
from the early 1950's right up to the superb James Last 'party
dance' music of the 80's and 90's.
The band is resident at the Tower Ballroom 4 nights a week playing
for ballroom/sequence and party dancing. We now have sole worldwide
management of the Nelson Riddle Tribute Orchestra which accompanies
our 'Kings of Swing' and 'Bobby Darin Songbook' shows. It has
also accompanied Joe Longthorne and a tour is in preparation with
the success of our orchestras and shows at Blackpool Tower in
2001/2/3/4 (bar profits trebled!) the band were replaced by a
7 piece small band. That¹s progress 'Blackpool Style'!
you decide to book one of our bands, you can expect a level of
service which you would not normally experience in the music business.
We will provide you with publicity assistance, advice if you need
it, and you can rest assured that every event will be supervised
and performed in a totally professional manner. No other swing
orchestra 'carries' a 'baby grand' piano. Ours do so because we
are concerned with creating a truly authentic atmosphere. They
didn't use electronic pianos on wire stands in the 1940's and
so we do not use them now. Similarly, the musicians were young
and 'clean cut' in the 1940's. All of our musicians are similarly
'clean cut' and very professional in their manner and musicianship.
company policy is then, to encourage the younger generation to
listen to, play and enjoy the music of a wonderful era. In an
age when television and the music industry mass produce 'Pop Puppets'
and 'Musical Muppets' it is surely a refreshing change to know
that there is at least one organisation which is trying to maintain
a degree of musicality amongst the younger generation. That organisation
is the U S O!
RECORDINGS ARE AVAILABLE OF MOST OF OUR BANDS