Garwood Van

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b. 1911, Newark, New Jersey, USA, d. April 1999, Nevada, USA. Van served his musical apprenticeship in several dance bands, including those led by Hal Grayson, Eddie Oliver, Victor Young, Lennie Hayton…
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b. 1911, Newark, New Jersey, USA, d. April 1999, Nevada, USA. Van served his musical apprenticeship in several dance bands, including those led by Hal Grayson, Eddie Oliver, Victor Young, Lennie Hayton and various studio ensembles. He formed his own orchestra, heavily orientated towards hotel and supper dance work, in Los Angeles, California, USA, in 1936. The band was alternately led by featured vocalists Maxine Conrad or Gail Storm. The Van band found good bookings at venues such as the St. Francis and Mark Hopkins hotels in San Francisco, the Chase in St. Louis, the Hotel Utah in Salt Lake City and the Muehlebach in Kansas City. In California they usually found themselves based at the Trocadero Ciro’s or Florentine Gardens. Van helped to pioneer the rise of dance band music in Las Vegas when he appeared at the El Rancho. The rich pickings the city offered strong entertainment troupes was reflected in Van’s decision to base himself there for the next several years, including a long engagement at the Frontier Hotel. This booking lasted for five years from 1952, before he opened a record store in his adopted state. The venture brought him great personal wealth, so much so that he was able to retire from the business in 1962.