Ray Birely Memorial

Our Founder

Ray Birely, founder of The Ray Birely Orchestra, was very active as saxophonist and featured vocalist for numerous Maryland and Pennsylvania-based Big Bands in the 1930's and 1940's, including the Army/Air Force Band in Alaska during World War Two. 


After the war he returned home to his native Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania, to continue his love of music. Ray first organized a 7 piece "tenor band" in the early 1960's (3 tenor saxes, trumpet, piano, bass, drums, and vocal). The orchestra was gradually expanded from 7 to 9, 11 to 14, and finally to 17 instrumentalists and 2 featured vocalists. 


The Ray Birely Orchestra, known for its tradition of excellence in Big Band/ballroom dance music, continues today under the direction of Ray's son, Rocky, as he continues to honor his father's legacy and their very deep spiritual bond.