Charles Schlarbaum conducting the Windjammers Unlimited band in a “preview concert” on January 24, 1986, at Ringling’s Venice, FL Arena. The recording was made from the stands but is still interesting from an historic perspective. Thx to Eric Beheim for digitizing this taped recording.

  1. Ringling Bros. Grand Entree (Sweet)
  2. Slim Trombone (Fillmore)
  3. Royal Degree (English)
  4. Wyoming Days (King)
  5. International Vaudeville (Alexander)
  6. Abdallah (King)
  7. March Olevine (Vandercook)
  8. Rival Rovers (Alexander
  9. Quality Plus (Jewell)
  10. Barnum & Bailey’s Favorite (King)

Comments by Don Covington (WJU #119).  We traveled down to Venice from Sarasota where we had the convention.  The Ringling show used the Venice Arena for rehearsals before the start of each season.  They gave several public performances for local audiences before starting the tour.  Thanks to Merle Evans, we were invited to play a pre-show concert before one of these performances.  I remember Gunther Gebel Williams coming in to listen to the band.  He along with many other performers had great things to say about the band.  We stayed to see the show after we finished the concert.  Seeing the circus in that building was overwhelming.  The Arena floor was laid out to be the same size as Madison Square Garden.  That left little room for seats that were high school gym style folding bleachers along the edges.  Everyone in the audience was treated to a front row perspective of every act and spectacle.  High up in the rafters was an office that overlooked the floor.  Kenneth Feld and his staff would sit there to oversee the action.  They had curtains that they could open and close.  The performers would check to see if the bosses were watching to tell how they were doing.  If the curtains were open during their act it usually meant that they would be called in and told to make changes such as making the act shorter or adapting it to fit with what was going on in the other rings.  I still remember feeling the wind and smelling the aroma as the elephants sped by on the track next to our seats.