QUALITY ARRANGERS MAKE ALL THE
Steve Cooper -
Steve is our chief arranger providing much of the music
you hear when you're out on the dance floor.
Steve has been leading various dance bands in the
Chicago area since the early 1970's and knows what
dancing is all about. An accomplished trumpeter,
Steve also plays the piano, saxophone, organ, and many
other instruments. He has performed with the
likes of Sammy Kaye, The Ted Weems Orchestra, The Teddy
Lee Orchestra, Bob Crosby And His Bobcats, and many other "name" bands.
He appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show when she did
a special on ballroom dancing and he has also written
arrangements for the New York Philharmonic.
He currently resides in the Chicago area with his wife
Mary where he concentrates his free time on arranging
and producing Big Band shows in tribute to Lawrence
Welk, Red Nichols, and other stars of a bygone era.
When you're dancing to songs like "My Way," "When I
Fall In Love," and "You're The Cream In My Coffee,"
those are just a sample of Steve's many danceable
creations for our orchestra. To visit Steve's
Glasser - Don's tagline "Music Smooth As Glass,"
meant just what it said, and every arrangement he
crafted during his 40+ years in the music business was
indeed just as smooth as glass. Perhaps one of
the greatest alto saxophonists of any generation (2nd
only to Carmen Lombardo), Don knew just what dance
music should be.
Prior to World War II, Don lead his own band briefly
before he was drafted. After the war he worked
and arranged for the Art Kassel and Ray Pearl
Boasting the finest female vocalist of all time, Miss
Energy herself, Lois Costello, the Don Glasser Orchestra was
popular from 1954 until Don's retirement in
Don and Lois were favorites at New York's
famous Roseland Dance City, The Peabody Hotel's Skyway
Ballroom in Memphis, Chicago's Melody Mill Ballroom, and every dancing location in between!
When you're dancing to "Skirts," "Anything Goes," "Tea
For Two," "Charley, My Boy," and "Sweet Georgia Brown,"
you're dancing to just a few of the many Don Glasser
orchestrations we have in our library. It really
doesn't get much better than this!
Robert Dix - Bob Dix lead one of the most popular
West Coast Dance Orchestras from 1948 until his
retirement in 1993 at the age of 85. Based out of
Fresno, California, his orchestra was styled after the
likes of the great Jan Garber.
A saxophonist from the very beginning, Bob was
keenly aware of what dancers wanted, and his
arrangements reflected his passion for keeping dancers
Before being drafted for service in World War
II, Bob worked with and arranged music for bands such
as Orrin Tucker, Gus Arnheim, and a few other popular
West Coast Dance Orchestras.
With his brother Al Dix (who played 1st trombone in the
Dix Orchestra), the pair made some of the best
danceable music one could ever hope for. Bob
could be found in the lead alto spot doubling on
In the late 1960's, Bob traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada,
where he subbed on alto sax with the real Jan Garber
Orchestra, getting a true glimpse at some of the finest
dance music ever made in America.
Bob wrote most of his own orchestrations, with an astounding
600 charts to his credit (not including work he did for
other Big Bands). That library - written for his own
great Big Band - was shipped to Richmond several years
ago so that a new generation of dancers could enjoy it.
When you're cutting a rug to songs like "I'll Get By,"
"In The Mood," "Frenesi," and "Tuxedo Junction," it's
Bob Dix that's giving you those happy feet!
- A lifelong resident of New
Jersey, Martin has been performing and arranging Big
Band music since he was in high school back in the
His foray into the world of the Big Bands began
when he purchased his first Guy Lombardo 78 RPM record
back in the early 1950's. He began writing
orchestrations for the high school band in which he
performed and later formed a dance band during his
college years where the writing continued.
He is a protégé of Guy Lombardo's famous arranger,
Dewey Bergman. Having studied Mr. Bergman's work
for many years, his uncanny ability to recreate those
great sounds is nothing short of a blessing for our
In his professional career he turned to the world of
law and has been a practicing attorney in the Lakewood,
NJ area since the mid-1960's.
Some of the orchestrations he has contributed to our
library include "Muskrat Ramble," "Time On My Hands,"
"Boo-Hoo," and "A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody," to
name but a few. You just can't resist the urge to
dance when Martin has written one of our charts.
Frank Bettencourt - Frank spent nearly 25 years
as lead trombonist and arranger for Jan Garber.
Joining the "Idol of the Airlanes" in 1937, he began
writing orchestrations for the orchestra immediately.
With a brief time away from the band for the armed
services during World War II, Frank returned in 1946 to
continue his duties as trombonist and arranger.
In 1962 he formed his own orchestra which eventually
became the "House Band" at New York's famous Roseland
Dance City in Mid-town Manhattan.
For a period of time in the 1960's, Frank was Carol
Channing's musical director in New York and later
worked with other stars of Broadway.
In later years his orchestra primarily performed at
"The Club" in Birmingham, Alabama and he continued to
lead it up until he was in his 90's. He passed
away in February of 2011 at the age of 94.
Frank contributed such great orchestrations to our
library including "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves
You," "Little Brown Jug," "Sweetheart Of All My
Dreams," "(It Seems To Me) I've Heard That Song
Before," and many, many more!
Fuerste - Hunter began performing on the trombone
during high school in his native Dubuque, Iowa.
He studied music at North Texas State University and
later went on to become one of the most sought after
Ophthalmologists in the country, serving as head of the
Iowa Medical Society for a number of years.
In 1972, he spent a year working with and arranging music
for Dick Jurgens And His Orchestra. During this
time, he traveled all across the Mid-West performing in
all of the famous ballrooms including The Melody Mill,
The Willowbrook, The Col, The Aragon, and so many more.
In 1976 he joined Guy Lombardo And His Royal Canadians
as lead trombonist. He began writing
orchestrations for the orchestra working alongside
Lombardo arrangers Dewey Bergman and Larry Owen, an
experience he will never forget.
Today he leads his "American Vintage Orchestra," based
out of Dubuque, and continues to practice medicine.
His yearly concerts in tribute to the Big Band Era at
the Grand Theater in Dubuque, usually sell out months
Among the many musical contributions Hunter has made to
our library, you will find "Chattanooga Choo-Choo,"
"Little Dutch Mill," and "Top Hat, White Tie, and
Tails." To visit Hunter's web site,
Smolen - Whenever we've needed an arrangement of a
specific tune for a specific event, Chicago area
bandleader Ron Smolen, has come through for us.
With a library containing well over 5,000
orchestrations, Ron has been able to help us acquire
charts for unusual songs as well as many standards.
Ron began studying the accordion in high school and
began leading a Big Band in the early 1970's. He
later learned to play the piano and is predominately
featured on that instrument with his Orchestra today.
Ron's first Big Band performed for one of the last
public Big Band dances at the famous Aragon Ballroom in
Chicago back in 1973.
Today, Ron leads a very popular Big Band in the Chicago
area and is in demand wherever dancing feet need a good
We're very happy to be associated with Ron and some of
the orchestrations he has provided us over the years
include "You're Driving Me Crazy," "Heart Of My Heart,"
"Cheek To Cheek," and "Petite Fleur."
To visit Ron's web site,
Teddy Lee, Sr.
- One of the most gifted alto saxophonists of all time,
Teddy was perhaps the only saxophonist who could
duplicate the sound of Carmen Lombardo.
In his early days he performed with and arranged for
The Ray Pearl and Wayne King Orchestras.
In 1958 he formed a Big Band of his own in the Chicago
area, and later became the house band at the famed Willowbrook
Ballroom, where his son held court until the ballroom
burned to the ground in October of 2016.
Writing danceable orchestrations was always his
specialty, and his knack for pleasing dancers lives on
today through his many wonderful musical gems.
When you're out on the dance floor dancing as The Royal
Virginians perform "New York, New York,"
"Lucky Day," "Jumpin' At The Woodside,"
"One O'clock Jump," and countless
others, you have Teddy Lee, Sr. to thank for that! To
visit the Teddy Lee Orchestra's web site,