Thursday, January 19, 2012

HISTORY OF SYRACUSE MUSIC - CHAPTER 23 - SANDY BIGTREE & THE BIGTREE SISTERS

Sandy Bigtree became popular at the age of one (WHEN TV- 1st Anniversary) appearing with her talented sisters Norma and Jean, collectively known as the "Bigtree Sisters". They appeared many-many time with WNDR's Wayne Schram and with Jim Deline on his WSYR Radio and Television program known for their singing and dancing routines. The Bigtree Sisters performed at many fun raisers, variety shows, talent shows, fashion shows, concerts in both large and small clubs to Suburban Park and on stage at the War Memorial. In the Post Standard (February 14, 1958) Joe Beamish recalls "One of Syracuse's most talented singing-dancing trio's is the Bigtree Sisters. Jean now 12 is a freshman at SU, Norma age 15 attends Valley High School and little Sandy is 8 enrolled at McKinley School. In 1963 they backed up Channel 9's  Baron Daemon (Mike Price) on his smash hit "The Translvania Twist" instrumental backing was by Sam and the Twisters (Amato, Fetterly, Palumbo & Wolf). To this date this is still the largest selling 45 rpm single in Central New York History,

As the sisters went their separate ways Sandy appeared on Denny Sullivans' popular WSYR TV-3 noontime television show on January 27, 1965. During the summer of 1965 Sandy spent eight months doing summer stock with her sister Norman at Melody Tent in Toms River, New Jersey.

She then expanded her career working in New York City in off Broadway musicals, such as "Dames At Sea", before returning to Syracuse trying her hand at rock n' roll. She became a member of the Fallen Angels (1967), The Utmost (1968) and the Livin Ennd (1969-70). With the Livin Ennd, Sandy recorded the single "Round Round" I'm Your Clown and is featured in the bands album "The Ennd of An Era" recorded live at the Poorhouse North on February 27, 1975.

Then after a short pause it was on to Skip Murphy's "Out of the Blue" before forming her own band the "Sandy Bigtree Band (1975), followed by "Sandy Bigtree and the Great Northern Expedition" (1978). Band members included Bob Perry, Terry Mulhauser, Gary LaVancher, Bill Lutters, Dan :Cato" Eaton and vocalist Sandy Bigtree.

Now into Dayson Recording Studio in 1975 as Sandy sang lead vocals on Max single "While You Sleep" (a Syracuse super studio group consisting of David "Rock" Feinstein, Dan Elliott, Mike Ferrante, Howie Castle, Jack Belle, George Day & Ron Wray). Sandy and her band then recorded the Buddy Holly song "Rave On" for the "We Remember Buddy Holly - A Syracuse Tribute EP produced by Ron Wray and distributed world wide into 22 different countries through the Buddy Holly Memorial Fan Club. Lastly a great Christmas song was recorded, but to this date has never been released.

Sandy Bigtree was Central New York's premier woman vocalist in the 60"s-80"s in Syracuse Rock History. She sang and danced with her sisters at the Syracuse Area Music Awards Show at the Landmark Theater. She also appears on the tribute to Dave Pasternack Cd released in early 2000.

Sandy appeared at the Haudenosaunce Friendship Festival in 2002 and then returned with members of her former band in August 2004. The "new" Sandy Bigtree Band" included former members Gary Lavancher, Terry Mulhauser, Jeff Chard along with Out of the Blue sax man James Moore and drummer Mike Donohue of the Roosevelt Dean band. Sandy also performed at the David Pasternack live tribute concert at Damon's Club in Cicero.

Sandy Bigtree was inducted into the Syracuse Area Music Hall of Fame (SAMMY's) on June 5, 2008 by longtime friend Syracuse Music Historian- Ron Wray. She then performed at the second annual Haudenosaunee Festival in Hanover Square in downtown Syracuse, August 3, 2008. Sandy Bigtree also played a show at the Inner Harbor July 8, 2009. Her musical legacy continues to this day. PS- And a nicer person you will never meet....

1 comment:

  1. Great History saw Sandy Big Tree Band in 1976 near Utica. Went to school with one of her band mates. Grew up watching Syracuse TV so remember all the TV shows mentioned. Wondered if The Big Tree sister's were related to the famous John Bigtree?

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