Special Collections and Archives
SALLY BENNETT BIG BAND HALL OF FAME
researched by Music Librarian Christopher Popa
After moving several times, the Sally Bennett Big Band Hall of Fame, featuring exhibits and memorabilia from famous swing and sweet orchestras, found an appropriate home in "Yesteryear Village," a "history park" at the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach, FL.
Its holdings include a trumpet used by Harry James, a trombone from Russ Morgan, one of Buddy Rich's drums, an autographed baton from Guy Lombardo, signature music stands, a musician's jacket from Sammy Kaye's band, a cap from Count Basie, and a mirrored ball from the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago.
Bennett, shown below, was born in Fountain Springs, PA on Aug. 30, 1917.
She had collected the items during her 20-year career as a radio and TV host in Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Cleveland.
Bennett was also a songwriter; one of her compositions, Magic Moments, was played and recorded by The Glenn Miller Orchestra in the early 1970s.
She died in 2003.
Two years later, tenor saxophonist Ben Grisafi of Palm Beach Gardens, FL was named "Musical Director" for the Hall of Fame, which held a grand opening at its Fairgrounds location on December 10, 2005.
Liz Doup. "Palm Beach woman the force behind plans for Big Band Hall of Fame Museum,"
Miami [ FL ] Herald, Apr. 4, 1997.
"Fairgrounds trumpets Big Band Hall of Fame groundbreaking" [ press release ].
Angie Francalancia. "Yesteryear Village shows resilience in face of Wilma," Palm Beach
[ FL ] Post / palmbeach post.com, Dec. 14, 2005.
Charles Passy. "Big Band Hall of Fame swinging open its doors," Houston [ TX ]
Chronicle, Mar. 26, 1999, p.3.
Doris Pease. "Big Band Hall of Fame" Ribbon cutting for America's first," Dancing USA,
June/Jul. 1999, p.19+.
Sally Bennett Big Band Hall of Fame, http://www.bengrisafibigband.com/Hall_Of_Fame.htm.
Jan Sjostrom. "Big-band enthusiast Sally Bennett, 85, dies," [ Walnut Creek, CA ] Contra
Costa Times / contracostatimes.com, June 19, 2003.
South Florida Fair and Americraft Expo Center, http://www.southfloridafair.com/.