The New England Swing & Soul Orchestra performed its first wedding in 1983. Since that time the band has played over 200 weddings at resort and private locales throught New England. All members of the orchestra were classically trained at various local colleges and most have performed in many different pop and jazz situations since 1974. The band maintains a large library of 500 tunes specializing in Big Band Music from the 1930’s and 40’s, 50’s Rhythm & Blues and Rock n’ Roll, Soul and Motown from the 60’s, and Contemporary Rock.
The Flying Fortress Swing Orchestra was formed by Peter McNeaney in 1980 at the Lashaway Inn in East Brookfield MA. Founding members were “Doc” Raoul Le Beau-alto sax, Ted Wirt-tenor sax, Bob LeBeau-baritone sax, Pete McNeaney and Mike Spencer trumpets, Steve LeHeureaux-trombone, Roger Fuller-bass, Jason Prouty-guitar, Corinne Gidetti-piano and Bob Littlefield-drums. “Doc” had previous experience with a version of the Glenn Miller band. This band spent the next 10 years playing engagements all over New England most notable in the Berkshires and at the Rose & Crown pub on Nantucket Island. This band had a following from the “Greatest Generation. In 1985 Wirt left the band and began booking a similar swing outfit called the Radio Swing Orchestra. This group played weddings throughout New England and college dates in the Pioneer Valley as well as concert performances with the Massachusetts Cultural Council starting in 1988.
In 2000, both groups combined to form the New England Swing Orchestra and have continued to play primarily Cultural Council Performances throughout Massachusetts. In 2002 the band met New Orleans saxophonist Charles Neville, which led to the development of the Charles Neville/Skeletones Big Band.
Ted Wirt: alto sax, clarinet, piano, vocal
Peter Carne: tenor sax, clarinet
Cliff White: baritone sax, bass clarinet
Peter McNeaney: trumpet
Mike Spencer: trumpet
Joe Sabol: trombone
Karl Raush: guitar
Gary Jackson: bass
Bob Pierce: drums