The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

September 18, 2013

Dance stepping 'back in time'

By Mike Glazer
For The Daily Item

SELINSGROVE — The Will Fisher Orchestra will be entertaining the “troops” at the SUN Area Chapter of the American Red Cross’s “Step Back In Time Hangar Dance” at Penn Valley Airport  in Selinsgrove on Friday, Sept. 20, starting at 7 p.m. Organized in 1940 by Will Fisher the “Big Band” played across Central Pennsylvania from its base in the Dillsburg area in York County. Fisher and his musicians traveled as far as Philadelphia and New Jersey entertaining their pre-war fans.

Clair Zeiders, a Susquehanna University graduate, the director of the WFO’s present iteration, is a retired high school music director.  Most of the band members also teach or have taught school in the Northern York School District.

Fisher died in 2005, but in 2008 Zeiders reformed the WFO with the blessing of Fisher’s widow, Gwynn.

As the original band’s popularity began to heat up so did World War II. Fisher went to war and his band went into hibernation. After the war, Fisher and his band reformed and played together into the 1950s.

According to Zeiders, in the 1960s the WFO was resurrected for a short time under the leadership of Ed Stansfield, an original member.

When organizing his band, Zeiders, knowing the history and popularity of the WFO back in its day, wanted to honor Fisher and the original WFO.

Today the band plays a few gigs a year and a couple of the performances are as a WWII tribute band playing the music of the early and mid 1940s. Zeiders says that some of the WWII vets who come to see the WFO play the music of that era still move pretty well. Some still get up and dance.

“This is the music of their youth. Something about the music of that time of our lives is very special to all of us,” Zeiders said.

Tickets are $35. For tickets or more information, call (570) 524-0400, ext. 1602.