Windjammers Unlimited is the brain child of and exists today, due to the labors of two individuals, Charles Bennett Jr. and Art Stensvad both lovers of circus music, who were seeking other soul mates, dedicated to the traditional music of the "Big Top." The thriving organization of today, originally organized in 1971 is the result of their dream.
The membership roster as of August 2009 contained 575 members from all walks of life, with the common interest of bringing this music back to life. Among the more memorable concerts Windjammer Bands have performed in conjunction with summer meets are the two at the Chautauqua Institute in New York State, the concert at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and the Center Ring Concert performed at the opening performance of the Ringling Red Unit at Venice, Fla. in 1986.
The first performance of Windjammers with the Sailor Circus in Sarasota in conjunction with the annual convention occurred in 1986 and has continued uninterrupted since that date. The success of these joint performances is attested to by the fact that most of the tickets for the public are gone two weeks before the performance date.
Windjammers has had its share of famous bandsmen who have all aided in making the organization what it is today. First and foremost was Merle Evans, director of the Ringling Bros. - Barnum & Bailey Show for over 50 years. He introduced Windjammers to his wide circle of friends, supported us in every way and established the contact with the Sailor Circus which has become so much a part of our annual conventions. Among the individuals who became members through Merle's urgings were Paul Yoder, Leonard Smith, Ken Slater, John McDonald, Bob Bamhouse, Charles Payne, Earl Slocum, and many others. He truly gave the group the boost that it needed to become a recognized musical society.