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  History Of The Bill Dayton Big Band
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The Bill Dayton Big Band is one of the most successful of the regional Big Bands. Established in 1972 in Gettysburg, PA by Bill Dayton, the Bill Dayton Big Band has performed in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, at many of the ballrooms built especially for Big Bands, in states such as South Dakota, Iowa, and Oregon, as well as cruise ships.

Along with its original musical director, Professor Robert "Bob" Zellner of the Gettysburg College Music Department, the band was led by Bill Dayton on alto sax, tenor sax, and clarinet, with vocals provided by Bill's wife, Phyllis, and daughter, Sandra. Their son, Craig Dayton (ASCAP/NARAS/NSAI), composed, arranged, and orchestrated many of their musical numbers.

Led now by co-leaders, vocalist Sandra Dayton and trumpeter Steve Richwine, it continues to be a very popular Big Band in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Washington, DC  with excellent musicians and a solid dance beat, providing many dancers and listeners with great Big Band music. Now a Maryland-based Big Band, it is the goal of Sandra and Steve to bring the generations together by way of Big Band dances, and so they encourage each of you to bring your friends and family members (all generations) to dance to one of Maryland's finest professional Big Bands...the Bill Dayton Big Band.                                                   


"...In Gettysburg, during the early 1970s, Bill Dayton's desire to form a Big Band ran into considerable opposition. Turned down by numerous ballroom managers, he was told that, "No one will ever hire Big Bands again." The rejections only reinforced his resolve. With the help of Robert Zellner of the Gettysburg College, he hired his musicians; Mr. and Mrs. Dick Staley, owners of the restaurant and ballroom known then as Schotties in Littlestown, PA, agreed to premier the band. Sandra well remembers that premier in February 1972."

"The night before the first performance, Bill closed his shop, the Upper Adams Lanes in Biglerville, PA, at 1 a.m. He then drove 12 hours round trip to New York in a snowstorm to purchase sound equipment and jackets for the band."

"The Big Band performed that snowy night to a small but enthusiastic crowd of dancers. Subsequent performances were soon sold out, and for the next 25 years the band played throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, DC, as well as other states within the Mid-Atlantic region."
- Gettysburg Times - Gettysburg, PA


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