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Gordon Dooley dance orchestra music

Identifier: CoU-GMA-26

Scope and Contents

The Gordon Dooley Dance Orchestra Music includes the complete scores and parts for the arrangements used by The Gordon Dooley Orchestra. The parts, stored by arrangement in book order, include 182 titles, primarily from the swing/big band era and constitute Dooley's complete society band arrangements for varying instrumentation, from nine to sixteen parts comprised of 4-5 saxophones, 1-4 trumpets, 1-4 trombones and 2-4 rhythm section players. Also included are some ephemera and publishsed documents related to Glenn Miller and his Orchestra, as well as photos and other memorabilia collected by Dooley throughout his career.


  • Creation: ca. 1941-2012

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Biography of Gordon Dooley

Bandleader, arranger and trumpet player Gordon Dooley was born September 10, 1921 in Yonkers, New York, where his father conducted the Yonkers Symphony Orchestra. The younger Dooley began his musical training as a violinist, turning his focus to playing trumpet in 1936, when he led his own junior high school dance band. (A notable member of that band was saxophonist Sid Caesar, who went on to fame as a comedian and television personality.) During high school, Dooley won a Harry James trumpet contest at the New York World’s Fair and after high school he freelanced as a trumpet player around the Long Island, New York area before making a commitment to lead his own band for a 7 night a week contract at the San-Susan night club in Mineola, NY

After a brief period on the road with the popular McFarland Twins Orchestra of Detroit, Dooley was drafted into the Army Air Forces and was assigned to the 529th AAF Band, playing at bases on the East Coast as well as at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, CO and at Lowry AFB in Denver. During his time in the AAF Band, Dooley came into contact and performed with such luminaries as Glenn Miller and Henry Mancini. Upon discharge from the AAF at the conclusion of World War II, Dooley joined orchestras led by Randy Brooks and Henry Jerome as well as the Glenn Miller Orchestra under the direction of Tex Benecke before becoming a member of Tex Benecke’s Music in the Miller Mood in 1950.

In the late 1950s, Dooley led a 10-piece territory band based in Omaha, NE until finally settling down in Denver, CO in 1960. In Denver, Dooley initially returned to the role of sideman, playing in many touring acts such as the Ice Follies, Ice Capades and the Ringling Brothers Circus, as well as with local society dance band led by Dean Bushnell. In 1976, Dooley started his own band in the Denver area, providing most of the arrangements for the unusual instrumentation of four or five saxophones, one trumpet and rhythm section, with the optional addition of four trombones. Much later, Dooley wrote parts for three extra trumpets to be added to his existing arrangements and later still created a book for one trombone only, further enhancing the band’s versatility.

The Gordon Dooley Orchestra stopped actively seeking gigs in the mid 2000s and had its last performance as a reuinited ensemble in September, 2012, for a Battle of the Big Bands benefit concert for the West Metro Fire Rescue Foundation in Lakewood, CO. Gordon Dooley was 92 years old when he died in October, 2013.


6.6 linear feet (17 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Gordon Dooley Dance Orchestra Music represents the professional library of the Gordon Dooley Orchestra, a society dance band prominent in the Denver area from the early 1960s through the early 2010s. The collection of music largely consists of the arrangements produced by Gordon Dooley for his ensembles of varying instrumentation. Supplemental holdings include photos, memorabilia and other artifacts related to Dooley and particularly his early association with Alton Glenn Miller, with whom Dooley had a professional relationship in the early 1940s.

<emph render="bold">Arrangement of Gordon Dooley Dance Orchestra Music</emph>

Collection is arranged in three series:

  1. Series 1: Parts, sorted by arrangement in book order
  2. Series 2: Scores and Music Notebooks, compiled in original order
  3. Series 3: Photos, Clippings, Books and Ephemera

Physical Location

Housed in the American Music Research Center, as part of the Glenn Miller Archives

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated by the estate of Gordon Dooley in 2016.


Processed and Encoded by:
Brian Casey
Date completed:
September, 2017
The Gordon Dooley Dance Orchestra Music 1955-2012
An inventory of holdings at the American Music Research Center
Conversion Draft
Brian Casey
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written inEnglish.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States