The Hartford Jazz Orchestra (HJO) began its Monday night ritual in October 1965 at King Philip Middle School in West Hartford, under the direction of Hall High School band director, Bill Stanley. The band continued under the same leadership, at the same location, until the early 1970s, when it moved to Manchester Community College. During this period, it was operated under Bob Vater, who was on the teaching staff at MCC. Briefly, the band suffered from a lack of quality musicians and spotty attendance. But the group began working with a series of new and interesting musical arrangements.

In the mid β€˜70s, with Bob Vater at the helm, the band performed concerts with the Woody Herman and Stan Kenton big bands, along with joint appearances with jazz greats Zoot Sims and Clark Terry. It was about at this time that Chic Cicchetti joined the ensemble as a section trombone player. The HJO moved to Newington High School in 1979 and continued under the direction of John Mills. Due to space availability, some of the meetings were conducted at the Newington Town Hall.

The band returned to MCC for a short time, under the direction of Bill Stanley. Chic Cicchetti began to make his presence felt with his stellar musical arrangements, and eventually assumed leadership. In the early 1980s…

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