1985 Confederate Air Force USO Dance Article

Pat Campion and the WW II Link Flight Trainer

The June 5, 1985, St. Paul Area Downtowner article about the upcoming hangar dance included this information about the dance:

"On June 15 and 16, the Southern Minnesota Wing of the Confederate Air Force will have a fully restored 1941 Link Trainer in operation during the annual 'Fleming Field Days'. ... On Saturday evening, June 15th, nostalgia buffs will be able to dance under the wing of a B-25 bomber with the 'Big Band' sound of the 20 piece Roseville Jazz Ensemble. The dance will be a 1940's style 'USO Dance'. Ladies are urged to wear 'bobby socks' and vintage clothing while their men don their old uniforms --- if they still fit. ... Show hours both days are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the 'USO Dance' starting at 8:00 p.m. Saturday evening. ... Dance donation is $3.00 per person."

Bob Lancette, director of the Roseville Jazz Ensemble, had proposed these dances some years earlier as a way for the Confederate Air Force to raise money.

In 1985, the band had no vocalists, so with the standard instrumentation plus director, the group's size would have been 18, rather than 20. Later, under director Glen Newton, the band added vocal soloists and later a vocal quartet, boosting the numbers beyond 20.

In later years the dance's changes in format included the addition (and later deletion) of bagpipers performing before the band and at the band's first break, free swing dance lessons before the dance, decoupling the dance dates from the air show dates and expanding to two dances each year, serving food and drink, costume contests and a grand march of all those in costume during the band's second break, swing dance exhibitions, a silent auction, and starting the engines of Miss Mitchell, the B-25 bomber referred to in the article.

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Friday, February 07, 2020.

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