About The Band

We are a traditional Big Band, consisting of 16 players – saxes, trumpets, trombones, piano, bass, guitar, drums and male and female vocalists.

Our repertoire is built upon the old Big Band standards, including music from the likes of Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, and Count Basie to name a few. Beyond that, we also play great dance music from each succeeding decade, including modern jump/swing, funk, and party favorites. We've got just about every kind of dance covered -- fox trots, waltzes, rhumbas, tangos, mambos, cha chas, salsa, and of course, swing.  

All of us have "day" jobs as well, and have among us a doctor, a couple of lawyers, a spy (oops, excuse me, "government worker"), a full-time mom, and a few professional musicians. What we all share is a love of Big Band music.

We would love to come and entertain you. We'll play for dances, weddings, socials, parties, fund raisers, or any other event where fun music is a must. 

So give us a call at 703-261-3911 or 703-609-2685 or e-mail us at jmcfarnsworth@gmail.com or dan.fairholm@gmail.com , and tell us you'd like to discuss booking The Northern Lights Dance Orchestra for your event!

A Brief History of the Northern Lights

Our roots go back to a little band out of Alberta, Canada that originated in the 1940s -- The Dow Rhythmers. Nadene Dow Forsyth, our founder, was the lead alto sax and clarinet player in this family band. Throughout her life, she formed and reformed the band everywhere she went. Before becoming what it is today, this band was at one time an "all girl" band, the RhythmMaids, made up of primarily college musicians, and an all-high- school band made up of Nadene's children and some of the finest high school players in Northern Virginia. In the past 30 years or so, we've been known as The Nutones, and sometimes The Gadianton Band. Under those names, we've played all over the Washington, D.C.metropolitan area. After Nadene's unfortunate passing in January of 2001, we renamed the band The Northern Lights Dance Orchestra. We chose this name to honor Nadene's native Canada and the Northern Lights that shine so brightly there, just as she shined so brightly when playing this music. We would like to particularly thank Nadene's family for allowing us to retain the music library Nadene built over the past 70 years. It was her wish that the band continue after she had gone, and we think she would be pleased to see and hear us now.