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.



  1. Looking up to see if the Lancaster Band was still in operation. I played drums in the group in 1989/1990 as a fill in drummer for their regular guy who was recooperating from heart surgery. The band was under the leadership of Bill ( forgotten last name at present), and we were stationed out of Leamington/Kingsville area. I was told by Bill and some of the older fellows that this was Wilf Lancaster’s band. Do you have any other information?

    I’d love to hear from you if you have any suggestions. In the meantime I will rack my brain to find out Bill’s surname. I know he owned and operated Highliner Mushroom Farms, piloted a Laker Seaplane and was a retired dentist.

    Let me know if you come up with anything.

    Tim Mellanby
    Courtright Ontario Canada

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