Toronto's Finest
Big Band Entertainment

Dance Music Jazz Swing Ballroom

Anthony Terpstra

"My band is not a pick-up band: it's mostly the same crew from the beginning and that's how you achieve chemistry."

~ Anthony Terpstra

Anthony Terpstra, Orchestra Director

Anthony Terpstra was born in Oakville in 1952 to Dutch immigrants who wanted their son to study classical music. However, on hearing a Count Basie record (which he still has) Anthony fell in love with it and states, "I knew intuitively what was happening with the drums, the tenor solos, trumpets and the excitement and the time. I knew. I had that record memorized and had Al Cohn and Stan Kenton and Gerry Mulligan records. I remember saying to a music teacher in grade three that I wanted to be a jazz musician when I grew up".

At the age of fourteen, Anthony played drums in his brother's band and at sixteen joined the Toronto's Musicians' Association. He went on the road playing in rock bands and show bands. His love of jazz led him also to playing in Big Bands and at 25 he started playing saxophone. He played tenor or baritone or drums and also performed vocal with many bands. He has worked with The Imperial Room Orchestra, The Metropolitan Toronto Symphonic Band and the bands led by Al Hirsch and Eddie Graf.

In 1988 he created The Starlight Orchestra basically to play the songs and melody-oriented dance music he truly enjoyed. He was encouraged by Bob Cary, who Terpstra says is "the greatest style lead trumpet you'll ever hear" and others such as Cam Walter and Al Hirsch. Terpstra knows what an audience wants and senses when to play it. "My role as leader is to play the night: I make the sets flow and ebb and play the ongoing dynamic of the band and crowd just like a conductor, only in a Dance Band sense". The Starlight Orchestra is made up of sixteen pieces including five sax, four trumpets, three trombones, piano, bass, drums and vocalist.

"Canada's finest dance big band. A perfect blend of age and youth, energy and experience. The Best in the City!"

~ Toronto Life Magazine
  "If you had an expectation of a Big Band Sound, the Starlight Orchestra far exceeds what you could ever imagine, they are fabulous!"

~ Lynn Frenette,
Fundraising Chairperson,
Hospice Dufferin's 2nd Annual