The Harry James Orchestra Comes to Music Hall Ballroom

Arts and Entertainment

September 15, 2015

"Now directed by its former lead trumpet, the enormously talented and irrepressible Fred Radke, the Harry James band is still packing them into concert halls around the globe nearly nine months a year."                - Dan K. Thomasson, Scripps Howard News Service

On Tuesday, October 13, from 7-10:00 p.m., the legendary Harry James Orchestra will fill historic Music Hall Ballroom with music from the swing era and beyond.  The Harry James Orchestra, led by Fred Radke, performs a one-night only dance and concert as part of WMKV Public Radio's 20th Anniversary celebration.  The three-hour dance and concert will benefit public radio WMKV 89.3FM which is simulcast on 89.9FM WLHS.  Tickets are $30 ($35 day of show) and can be purchased at the Aronoff Center and Music Hall Ticket Offices, by calling (513)621-2787, or online at  Discount parking for $3.00 is also available.


"The Harry James Orchestra is known for being one of the best swing dance bands on tour," says WMKV station director George Zahn. "Dancers of all ages fill the floor at their concerts, and we plan on Cincinnati's dancers showing up in force and filling Music Hall Ballroom's 22,000 square-foot dance floor."


The Harry James Orchestra is led by trumpeter Fred Radke.  A conductor, composer, arranger and recording artist with his own Swingin' Big Band, Radke played lead trumpet under Harry James himself, a "dream come true" for the then young musician.  In 1989, six years after James' death, the Harry James Estate and Columbia Artists asked Radke to lead the Harry James Orchestra for a 50th anniversary concert.  He has been leading the orchestra ever since.


In the words of Harry James, "Band leaders must be like automobile manufacturers before the war.  They must be bringing out new models all the time.  We have to vary our programs, playing sweet numbers and jump numbers, and we have to play them different ways."  This philosophy still drives today's Harry James Orchestra, which tours throughout the United States and Canada.  Radke also produced and recorded classic Harry James Orchestra hits in a four-volume set entitled Reminiscing, featuring Radke and his Swingin' Big Band.


The Harry James Orchestra concert for WMKV 89.3FM Public Radio is made possible by the support of Mercedes Benz of Ft. Mitchell, and ArtsWave.




WMKV is an independent public radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio, celebrating its 20th year of operation, and the only licensed public radio station in the country owned by a continuous care retirement community (CCRC), Maple Knoll Village, and serves as a mission-oriented feature of parent Maple Knoll Communities, Inc.  The station has carved a niche as a local broadcast and worldwide-streaming audio leader for nostalgia including music (now oldies, standards, and big bands), classic radio comedy and drama, and information programs.  The station is heard at 89.3FM, simulcast on 89.9FM WLHS in Butler and Warren Counties and streaming audio worldwide at


Music Hall Ballroom, which measures 22,000 square-feet, is Cincinnati's largest event room outside of the Duke Energy Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati.  When it opened in January of 1928, on the second floor of the south wing of Music Hall, it quickly became the place to socialize and celebrate events and has hosted countless concerts, dances, and celebrations.  Renovated in 1998, the Music Hall Ballroom features many art deco fixtures from the old RKO Albee, and how also hosts a Mighty Wurlitzer Organ which was once housed in the RKO Albee and later in the Emery Theatre.