The orchestra was created in late 1993 by arranger-conductor Robert Benson, as a special project for the venerable Willowbrook Ballroom, in Willow Springs, Illinois. Since its inception, the orchestra has had many Saturday night performances at the Willowbrook, always to large and enthusiastic crowds, and has performed in country clubs, at private parties, and in such diverse venues as the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco and the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.
The orchestra has had monthly public dances in the Guildhall Ballroom of the Ambassador West Hotel, and the Palmer House Hilton Hotel, Chicago, for three years, through 1998. The RBO has played for private and corporate functions in Chicago at the Drake, the Ritz-Carlton, the Four Seasons, the Palmer House Hilton, and many others.
"Robert Benson, the best arranger in the business...."
Ann Gerber - Chicago Skyline, 9/20/84
The Robert Benson Orchestra is a swing orchestra, as distinguished from
a big band. Like a big band, this orchestra always swings, with the 6 man
brass and woodwind sections ensuring a big, full "big band" sound
when necessary. But it's the violin section that enables this orchestra
to express itself in a much greater dynamic and sonic variety than that
which a big band is capable of.
Mr. Benson's musical arrangements are intricately constructed, and are always interesting, vital and swinging. The emphasis is placed on a heavily syncopated feel which makes you actually want to get up and dance, even if you've never danced before! Whether you're a novice or a professional dancer - neophyte or master of ballroom styles - you're always welcome on the
dance floor, and you'll be guaranteed to have FUN.
All of the great American songwriters are represented, including Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Glenn Miller, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Duke Ellington, plus contemporary songwriters. This orchestra plays the finest "New York Society" style in the United States today.
The Robert Benson Orchestra is unlike any orchestra in the United States, and it's an integral part of the new generation ballroom dance orchestra movement that's currently sweeping the nation. You'll know and appreciate the difference!