Big Band Ballroom Dance Week-ends
bySouthern Rhapsody Dance Society

Al Curtis

Al Curtis Orchestra Biography 12/19/2015

Since the early 1960's, Knoxville Trombonist Al Curtis and his Orchestra have been thrilling audiences all throughout the Southern United States. With a diverse song selection the Orchestra effortlessly transitions from Big Band to Waltz to Tangos that dancers and listeners both enjoy.
Al Curtis passed away in 2004, passing the leadership of the Orchestra to 30 year veteran saxophonist Russell Ramsay. The band hasn't missed a step as the tradition of excellence continues today playing for private parties, conventions, and various civic events. The Orchestra's make up is as multifaceted as their song list taking the form of a traditional Big Band to smaller quartets for more intimate affairs.

Russell Ramsey, currently the leader of the Al Curtis Orchestra, received both the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also received the Doctor of Education degree in Administration and Supervision from UT. As director of the Sevier County (TN) High School Band program for 39 years where he was responsible for the marching band, symphonic band, concert band and jazz band.  The symphonic band received 22 consecutive years of superior ratings in grade VI level music and has performed at the Tennessee Music Educators state conference, the Tennessee State Concert Festival and the invitational Orpheus Festival at East Tennessee State University, Johnson City. In 2011 he was elected as an honorary life member of the East Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association.

In addition, Russell has played in bands backing such stars as Lynn Anderson, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Mitzi Gaynor, Tom Jones, Liberace, Floyd Cramer, Red Skelton, and Frankie Vallee and the Four Seasons, Broadway road productions of “Can-Can’, “A Chorus line”, and toured with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus red unit.


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