Present Big Bands In London Ontario
Although big band venues and ballroom dancing have declined in popularity since their heyday there is still a significant demand in London not only to hear but also to dance to music of that era. At present there are five big bands in the city actively playing swing charts for listening pleasure, special occasions and dancing. Sadly many of the dance halls in the area where big bands entertained thousands in the past have now gone. Wonderland Gardens, 401 Plaza, and the Stork Club have all met untimely ends. But other venues have opened up to fill the void, the Wolf Performance Hall for formal listening concerts, Aeolian Hall for dancing, cabaret and performance, a new Wonderland Gardens rising from the ashes, and the many ethnic halls where big bands and small groups can perform. The five current bands as of Jan 2008 are listed on the left.
It is not really surprising that a city of London's size can support so many big bands.. London has an enviable reputation for producing fine musicians and this can be attributed in no small way to the excellence of the music programs run by the local school boards. Also the University of Western Ontario Music School has a significant influence on the music scene since many of their highly skilled music graduates choose to stay in the London area when their studies are finished. In previous years the RCR Band stationed in London was influential, as well as music training organizations such as the London Police Boys Band, started during WW2, which gave hundreds of young people their initial music training. Many of them can still be found playing in bands today.
Use the links (left) to visit each big band page. Watch and listen to video and audio clips taken at the locations where the bands were playing. But always remember that nothing can equal the thrill of attending an actual live performance where one can experience the real sound and resonance of the instruments, that heightened listening sense that picks up the subtle accents the musicians use in their playing, the collective blending of the sound and the excitement of just being in the crowd. Come out and support these groups when they are playing and help them in their efforts to keep the music of the Big Band era alive.