Grandview Victorian Orchestra Biography

The Grandview Victorian Orchestra, based in the Denver, Colorado plays for historical events and Victorian Balls throughout the United States and is proud to be associated with the Single Action Shooting Society. “We’re delighted to be connected with the warm and sincere bunch of folks that we’ve met through SASS” said John Reading, musical director and piano player for the orchestra.

John, Sue and Tina, the three core members of the orchestra, have been playing music together since 1991. They are known for their superb dance music in the Contra dance communities throughout Colorado. Now their talents for providing authentic historical community dance music is drawing interest in more venues across the country and the orchestra has become the band of choice for Victorian events in the south west. Event planners and attendees recognize how a quality performance and attention to musical detail can elevate an event to something to remember.

The trio also performs under the name 'Balance and Swing' with more of an emphasis on contemporary contra dance and New England fiddle tunes.  BAS has performed throughout Colorado at a variety of festivals and dance camps including the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, the Peoples Fair, the Renaissance Faire, Westminster Artist Series, Wells Fargo Culture Fest, and others.

In the spring of 2002, Balance and Swing met dance caller and historian Sharon Guli (Miss Tabitha) at an outdoor community dance in Ft. Collins, CO. During their performance, an exciting synergy emerged. Sharon recognized that the style of Balance and Swing could complement her own Victorian Ball events and suggested that Balance and Swing expand their focus to include more Victorian styles and join with her for future performances across the nation. The Grandview Victorian Orchestra was born! Since that time, Sharon, her husband Mike and the Grandview Victorian Orchestra have performed together for a number of events including balls for the Cheyenne Regulators (a SASS chapter), the Arvada Historical Society, Colorado Springs public schools, and the Sand Creek Raiders (another SASS Chapter). The Grandview Victorian Orchestra performed at the SASS National convention in Las Vegas at the Riviera Hotel since 2003 and continues to be grow in popularity with SASS chapters and Victorian, Colonial and other historic recreation dance events. Each year brings new and different events to the musicians’ schedule. One of the most exciting of these has been their participation in the SASS National Convention Victorian Ball in Las Vegas. GVO has participated in Victorian Dance cruises plying their trade on the high Caribbean seas for events organized by River Crossing, Inc.

Susan Reading on fiddle, learned to play in New England in the early 70’s. She had contact with some of the finest fiddlers in that region and has played consistently with Contra dance bands and traditional musicians since then. She relocated to Colorado in 1991 with John and became involved in the traditional music community. Sue has a large repertoire and enjoys playing anywhere, anytime.

Tina Gugeler plays hammered dulcimer. Originally from Louisiana, she made her way to the Denver area after taking the long way around via Ketchikan, Alaska. Tina started her hammered dulcimer career in Ketchikan in 1986 playing for local Contra dances. In 1992 Tina won the Colorado State hammered dulcimer championship and in 2000 went on to win the National Hammered Dulcimer Championship in Winfield, KS. In addition to her work with BAS, she does solo performances and teaches.

John Reading as musical director, piano player and business manager has the best of all worlds. He gets to play with his wife and other great musicians and is rewarded with the delightful energy that is passed between the orchestra and the dancers in each performance. John has played many venues and styles from standard jazz to swing to classical and everything in between and continues to hone his skills in the period music recreation arena. If you listen carefully, you might hear the influence of his life as a jazz musician in the Boston area or a little blues sneaking in as well.

For more information, please contact John Reading at 720 984-2552, email