The Royal Air Force Squadronaires
The Royal Air Force Squadronaires is one of the United Kingdoms finest Big Band’s with a world wide reputation for musical excellence. The origins of the Squadronaires can be traced back to 1939 when many of London’s professional musicians were recruited into the Central Band of the Royal Air Force based at RAF Uxbridge. Many of these musicians had previously been jazz and dance band performers and it was suggested that they form what was to become the Royal Air Force Dance Orchestra, later known as the Squadronaires.

The big band gained a reputation for versatility and flair, helped by such iconic band members as the trombonist George Chisholm and vocalist Jimmy Miller. They soon developed a distinctive style that rivalled many American Bands. Throughout the war years they were regularly voted ‘Best British Dance Band’ and in one memorable review that appeared in The Melody Maker they were described as having given ‘the greatest dance band performance that has ever been broadcast this side of the Atlantic’.

Following D-Day the ‘Squads’ toured France, Belgium and the Netherlands but were stopped in there tracks at the German border, they were then forced to make a tactical withdrawal as General Von Runstets counter offensive forced the allies back towards Paris.

This tradition of musical expertise lives on with today’s Squadronaires. Two recent recordings ‘Flying Home’ and ‘Doin’ Basie’s Thing’ have brought critical acclaim. The Band is the only military ensemble to have performed at the world famous ‘Ronnie Scott’s’ Jazz Club. The Squadronaires have also appeared at the Royal British Legions Festival of Remembrance with Will Young and Russell Watson, most recently at the Edinburgh and Goring Jazz festivals, the Royal Windsor Tattoo and warming up the crowds on the Esplanade at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The band has also been privileged enough to step inside the gates of Buckingham Palace playing at state events and Her Majesties garden parties.

As with all members of the Royal Air Force, RAF Music Services personnel are required to support British Forces on operations overseas, musicians have been deployed to Iraq with personnel currently serving in Afghanistan and The Falkland Islands. Roles have included force protection, guarding installations and supporting helicopter and air transportation squadrons.

Under the direction of its current leader, Sergeant Kevin Miles, the band has assembled a repertoire that reflects its style and versatility, from original dance band classics to the latest big band classics.