Learn about Swing Era singers Bob and Ray Eberle

In the Swing Era, the Glenn Miller Orchestra was popular; Ray Eberle sange for Miller’s band. He and his brother, Bob Eberle, are the subject of a presentation by Bob Suss for the New Scotland Historical Association on Feb. 2. The public is invited to the free event.

To the Editor:

From 1935 to 1945, the swinging Big Band Era was at its peak. In 1934, at the age of 18, Hoosick Falls native Bob Eberle, with his parents’ encouragement, decided to try out for the amateur portion of Fred Allen’s “Town Hall Tonight”” radio program.

Bob traveled to Albany, then took a boat to New York City. He was chosen to compete. In March 1935, Bob won first prize — $50 cash and a week’s engagement at the Roxy Theater in NYC.

This led to other engagements including one at the Troy Policeman’s Ball on a bill with the Dorsey Brothers Band. Their vocalist, Bob Crosby, was leaving to form his own orchestra. The Dorseys were impressed with Bob’s singing and hired him.

Shortly after, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey split up to form separate bands. Bob went with Jimmy Dorsey, and Tommy Dorsey hired another promising singer, Frank Sinatra. Later in his life, Sinatra said the reason he began his solo career when he did was to beat Bob Eberle to the punch. Sinatra described Bob’s singing as “so rich and pure it used to frighten me.”

In 1938, Ray Eberle got his start when another musician in Dorsey’s band decided to form his own band. He asked Bob Eberle if he knew of anyone else who could sing the way he did. Bob recommended his brother, Ray, and Ray was hired.

That new band leader’s name was Glenn Miller. Both Eberle brothers became very popular, ranking among the top four musicians of 1942, along with Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby.

Bob Suss will present a program for the New Scotland Historical Association, describing the brothers’ careers with pictures and audio clips. Bob is a musician, association member, and retired microbiologist.

Come take a musical walk down memory lane and learn about these talented Hoosick Falls brothers who made the “Big Time.” This entertaining and educational program will be presented at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 2, at the Wyman Osterhout Community Center in New Salem on Old New Salem Road. Admission is always free.

On the same day and at the same location, please take the opportunity to take in the exhibits at the New Scotland Historical Association Museum, which will be open for a half-hour before the program.

Judy Kimes


New Scotland

Historical Association

More Letters to the Editor

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.