Posts Tagged ‘Big Band’

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Bob Jacks Big Band

May 30, 2013
bobjacks_1949

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Band: Bob Jacks Orchestra
Year: 1949
Genre: Big Band
Home: Chatham
Based: Wallaceburg
Photo: Bob Jacks Orchestra at Primrose Gardens in Wallaceburg, 1949

Notes: Bob Jacks, piano; Margaret Lashmore and Helen Chaika, vocals; John ‘Corky’ DuChene, John Hutchinson, Bert Trampleasure, Dave Forsyth, John Dugit, saxes; ‘Curly’ King, drums; Murray Carr, Gord Hazzard, Lyle, Stratton, trumpets; Bob Mann, trombone.

Jacks’ first orchestra was formed in 1935 while he was still a student at Chatham Collegiate Institute. The seven-piece band included three saxophones, one trumpet, a string bass, a guitar and Jacks himself on piano. Lake Erie locations such as the Erie Beach Dance Pavilion and Rondeau Park as well as dances in Chatham were some of the first entries in Jacks’ engagement book. By the summer of 1937 the orchestra had landed weekend contract at Erie Beach. But, the following year, Jacks’ Chatham-based music interest and his employment based in Wallaceburg led to the breakup of the band. A group of avid young Wallaceburg musicians, eagerly trying to create a dance band, invited Jacks to join in with them. Jacks took over the piano work and soon fronted the band. From then on, the Bob Jacks Orchestra became a Wallaceburg fixture. Beginning in 1941, the band played at Primrose Gardens and remained there, steadily, for more than a decade.
An accomplished pianist, Jacks gained a reputation as the orchestra leader with the ‘big band sound’. Word soon spread and crowds of dancers came from the surrounding communities and rural areas of Kent County. Eventually Jacks was playing for the Primrose crowd three nights a week. Over the course of nearly two decades more than 50 musicians and 12 vocalists had been associated with the band.
During my term with Bob Jacks Orchestra members included (saxes) John ‘Corky’ DuChene, John Hutchinson, Bert Trampleasure, Dave Forsyth and John Dugit; (trumpets) Murray Carr, Gord Hazzard and Lyle Stratton; (trombone) Bob Mann; (drums) Curly King; (vocalists) Margaret Lashmore and Helen Chaika —and, of course, Bob Jacks on piano. Chuck Ross and Doug Wickens occasionally played the string bass in turn. Pete Mitchell sat in on many dances for drummer Curly King, and Tommy Platt played tenor sax in the band when he was in town.

In addition to the regular dance schedule at Primrose Gardens, Bob Jacks occasionally booked the band for out-of-town engagements — sometimes renting a bus for the trip. One very special ‘road trip’ took the band to a recording studio in Chatham where the Bob Jacks Trio, consisting of Marg and Dorothy Lashmore and Helen Chaika recorded two numbers — Bless You and Sentimental Journey. Another Chatham appearance was at the well-known radio station, CFCO where the orchestra participated in a special wartime music program. Some of the band’s out-of-town engagements included various Kent County High School and collegiate formal dances, Blenheim and Ridgetown High Schools, the Rondeau Park Dance Pavilion and Erie Beach. Although the majority of Jacks’ road trips were within Kent County, they provided the Bob Jacks Orchestra important exposure in building its reputation as the ‘local orchestra with the Big Band sound’.

In 1953 when the crowds at Primrose Gardens in Wallaceburg thinned to the point of slim returns (for Bob Jacks Orchestra and the dance hall proprietor) dance nights were cut back to two a week, then one a week. Along with so many other Swing Era dance floors, Primrose Gardens went down fighting and finally the music went silent and the dance hall went dark. The Swing Era was over.

In 1969, a reunion brought many of the Bob Jacks alumni back to Primrose Gardens. A dance was organized and when the curtain opened on the stage the orchestra came out swinging with One O’Clock Jump — and ‘the crowd went wild’! For the rest of the evening Primrose Gardens took a sentimental journey back in time. During intermission Jacks remained at the piano — as he usually did during his years at Primrose — and continued to play many of the old favorites. The air in the dancehall was heavy with nostalgia as admirers gathered around the bandstand to watch and listen to Bob Jacks and his veteran musicians do what they loved so dearly and performed so masterfully.
The 1969 reunion provided a brief comeback for the Bob Jacks Orchestra, Primrose Gardens, the dancers and admirers — but, when the final set for the evening was announced, everyone knew, with heavy heart, that the last dance number would be Good Night Sweetheart.

Acknowledgments
Research and background information: Bob Quick (The Pastels), Alan Mann (Mann Historical Records), Bill Crozier, Time Life Records, Kingsville Gosfield Heritage Society

Source: http://www.wildwoodwv.com/john_hutchinson/audio.html
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Chateau Gai Orchestra

October 23, 2011


Band: Chateau Gai Orchestra
Year: 1946
Genere: Big Band

The Chateau Gai Orchestra was formed in 1946 at the home of Walter King in Blenheim Ontario.

Original members:
Mac McCutcheon – piano
Leighton Rumble – bass
Max McGregor – drums
Gord Tricker & Claire Scafe – trumpets
Phil Carney – trombone
Jack Trotter & Walt King – saxophones

Other players were Bus Bowers, Stan Betts, Sam Ryan, Bill King, Ray Macdonald.

The Chateau Gai Orchestra was noted for its sweet sound and danceable music often related to the sound and style of the Guy Lombardo band. The band played at many popular sites e.g. the Hi-Neighbour dances at the Kinsmen auditorium in Chatham for many years, Rondeau Park’s new and old dance halls, Blenheim High School Alumni Dances (49 out of 50), and Kenwick on the Lake, Sarnia. They were also in demand in London and many other towns and cities.

In later years Ted Pudney of London took over the band and they continued to play in the Lombardo style for many years.
This band was truly part of the big band era in Ontario.

Info source by K. Crone: http://www.londonbigbands.ca/chateau.html
Get audio of this band online here: http://www.londonbigbands.ca/chateau.html
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Send your pictures & info to : Email us:
chatham_music_archive@hotmail.com

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The Bob Jacks Band

October 23, 2011

Band: The Bob Jacks Band
Year: 1941
Genre: Big Band

Bob was born in Chatham Ontario and passed away in Wallaceburg Ontario January 2 1972 at the age of 57. Bob taught music in the schools of Wallaceburg  and his mother Mary Jacks also taught music.
Bob formed his first band while attending Chatham Collegiate High School in 1935. He quickly established a reputation for good dancable music and became house band at the Primrose Gardens in Wallacburg from 1941 to 1953.. Over the years he had more than 50 musicians and 12
vocalists.

Bob started at the Gardens working in the coat check room. In 1940 he moved to Wallaceburg to work at Schults Die in the office. The band normally had 10 – 12 members plus girl singers and was so popular that Friday nights at the Gardens was always full. They also played at the high school dances service clubs as well as many dance halls in Chatham, Rondeau Park, Sarnia and Erie Beach. The band had a reunion in 1969 and in 1995 and both were well attended. Bob was also a very good pianist

Source: http://www.londonbigbands.ca/chathamJacks.html
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Email us your pics & info:
chatham_music_archive@hotmail.com

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The Pyranon Ballroom Chatham

July 12, 2010

Venue: The Pyranon Ballroom
What: Chatham’s premier dance hall
Location: Chatham Ontario
Year: 1945

Note:
   When record hops were the in thing, as many as 1,600 young people would come out on a Friday night to dance. The music they were excited about was Elvis Presley, Pat Boone and the likes of.
   Many big acts of the time played this venue on Colborne Street.  The Wilf Lancaster Orchestra was the local band that performed there regularly.

The Pyranon was constructed by Maurice Smyth. The first group to play the hall was Al Edwards and his band from Windsor.
Other events at the Pyranon: Bingo, wrestling, proms, fashion shows, banquets, social and political gatherings.

Big Bands that played: Sammy Kaye, Victor Lombardo, Vaughn Monroe, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, The Glen Miller orchestra, Les Brown, and Gene Krupa. The local ‘Big Band’ Wilf Lancaster Orchestra performed there regularly.
 
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The Castaways in 1963

April 29, 2010

click pic to enlarge

Group: The Castaways
Formed: Circa 1963
Home: Chatham Ontario Canada

The Original Trio:
Al Burniston – Trumpet/vocals
Roy Robinson – Drums
Dick Butler – Organ.

The above Castaways picture is circa 1965.

  In the beginning, they were known as the “Al Burniston Trio“. When Dick left, Cheryl Lancaster joined the band and soon after Fred Carney (trumpet/vocals) joined them. They changed the name to “The Castaways” around 1965.
 Cheryl left in 1968 and Dick re-joined the band and they kept the name. The Castaways continued to play at various halls throughout Kent County.
 

Thanks again to Cheryl L. for providing the photo & info.

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Wilf Lancaster Orchestra 1938

March 7, 2010

Band: Wilf Lancaster Orchestra
Formed:  1938
Genre: Big Band

Pic 1: Circa 1939-40   Pic 2: Unknown date   Pic 3: Chatham Vocational School (Date Unknown)

  The band began as an 8-piece but had to disband as the war was breaking out. The group later reunited in 1945. They would perform 3-4 nights a week to 700-800 people at the Pyranon Ballroom a night. The war was over and dancing was popular as the soldiers came back and the girls once again had dates.
   The band gained much respect and drew fans of the music from far and wide. They would also share the stage with acts from out of town such as “the world’s fastest drummer”…Buddy Rich.
  After the initial start, the band was commonly playing as a 12 piece orchestra.
  Wilf Lancaster retired in 1970 as leader of Chatham’s best known orchestral group.

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Wilf Lancaster Retires 1970

December 11, 2009

Click the pictures above to enlarge

Musician: Wilf Lancaster
Position: Band leader and drummer
Year: 1970

The following news was written in the CDN Monday November 2nd 1970. The concert advertisement ran in the CDN around the same period. No Author name posted.

Wilf Lancaster Retiring Big Band Sound Goes On

   Wilf Lancaster is retiring as leader of Chatham’s best known orchestral group, but the “big band sound” he initiated will linger on.
  Mr. Lancaster, who will pack up his drums following the band’s engagement at the Pyranon Ballroom Nov. 13th, has decided to listen to his physician, who told him “You will have to give up something”. His work at the International Harvester and Chatham Blueprinting has precedence, he says, so the band work has to be curtailed.
    However, his name will still be connected with the band, which was reactivated four years ago following a long lay off. Fred Foster has been named musical director and Dr. W. Pritchard business manager.
    During the last four years the band has played 27 engagements to more than 13,000 fans.
    “I’m glad the band will carry on and I am flattered they are going to use my name”. Mr. Lancaster said today.  “But it is going to be hard to quit because it has been  a tremendous thrill having such a grand group and playing for the best audiences in the world”.
     Mr. Lancaster said he played his first summer engagement at a resort on Lake of Bays in 1930, which makes more than 40 years of music.

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