Sauter-Finegan Orchestra plays “The Thunderer”

I‘m hoping this arrangement of “The Thunderer” isn’t blasphemous to you Sousa fans out there. I love the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra.  They were a wonderful big band led by Eddie Sauter and Bill Finegan, who were both experienced big band arrangers. They began recording together in 1952, using inventive arrangements that made use of a variety of unusual instruments, including lots of percussion.

In March 1957, the pair disbanded the group, and Sauter moved to Germany; Finegan continued as an arranger. They reunited in the studio in 1959 to release a new album, Return of the Doodletown Fifers, and to do jingles for advertisers. After Sauter’s death in 1981, Finegan revived the name Sauter-Finegan Orchestra for concerts in New York City in the 1980s.

I had the honor to work with Eddie Sauter back in 1969, when I played percussion for a pre-Broadway run of “Georgy,” a show based upon the novel “Georgy Girl.” The show took place at the Colonial Theater in Boston. Sauter was the arranger/orchestrator for the show. I hope you enjoy this wonderful chart written by Eddie Sauter.


About Bill Wiley

Bill Wiley Percussionist/arranger/announcer/voice over artist Bill Wiley is a 1970 graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music where he studied timpani and percussion with legendary timpanist Vic Firth. Upon graduating, he served as Principal Timpanist with the Portland Maine Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for 6 years. He also worked as a freelance percussionist in the Boston area performing with the Boston Pops, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Bill also spent 10 summer seasons as percussionist with the Lake George Opera Festival in Upstate New York. In 1976, a one-year contract with the Honolulu Symphony brought Bill to the islands. Deciding to stay in Paradise, he served on the faculty of Punahou School, where he taught percussion and arranged and conducted both the Junior School musicals and Punahou’s famed “Variety Show.” Bill has worked at Diamond Head Theater both as Maestro Donald Yap’s drummer for over 30 years and as DHT’s Music Director for 2 seasons. He has won three Po’okela Awards for his musical directing. In 1979 Bill began performing part time with the Royal Hawaiian Band . In 1990, Bill won a full time position as percussionist with the band. He was appointed as one of the band’s staff arrangers in 1994, and eventually contributed a vast catalog of original and arranged compositions. Bill was also an integral part of the band’s educational concerts as he introduced thousands of local children to the instruments of the band. In addition to music, Bill is also a successful voice over artist. A sample of his voice over work can be heard at Bill retired from The Royal Hawaiian Band in June of 2012. He and his wife, writer/editor Barbara Clemens, will divide their time between their Diamond Head Condo and their Cape Jellison, Maine farm house. He will also continue to lead and play marimba with his eight piece party band in Honolulu called “Taco Willie and the Refried Beans.” Ole’ and Aloha!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *