Past Memories of Dances – Hi-Toppers Orchestra

Recently I found a cassette tape with tunes recorded by the Hi-Toppers Orchestra in 1965. This collection of polkas, waltzes, and ballroom standards brought back many memories of dance music of the past. Of course, the collection also reminded me of how the musical entertainment has changed throughout the years. Nearly all of the following reminiscences were experienced by the members of the Hi-Toppers Orchestra during our playing years from 1949 until 1987, while some of the changes occurred before and after these years.

As the lifestyle changed so did the dance entertainment. Many years ago when the rural folks had a chance to gather for a dance, they made the most of it by celebrating most of the night. These people physically worked hard and they “played hard” in dance halls when air conditioning was unheard of.

Many of the dance halls had a stage and benches around the perimeter. Many times the perimeter benches could not accommodate all the dancers, so some simply stood on the dance floor until the band played the next set. Drinks were served in a nearby room or in a separate building for the management did not want to run the risk of a sticky spilled drink on the waxed dance floor. During the warmer months the dancers would enjoy their drinks while visiting outside of the nonair -conditioned halls during band intermissions.


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