Remembering Joe Agro - Band Leader of the Stardusters Orchestra

Ours and many other communities lost a beloved man late last year, Joseph James (Joe) Agro, bandleader of the Starduster Orchestra.

A musician at heart, Joe found himself involved not only in playing the saxophone in the Starduster Orchestra, but in many other facets of the musical industry as well.  He played in several bands and was also involved in running musical events and festivals, writing articles for music publications, working in radio and much more. 

Based in Marin County, the Starduster Orchestra has been a unique and beloved traditional 16-piece big brass band specializing in swing and other dance music from the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s since they first organized in 1996. They have provided audiences the highest quality music and dance experience possible while staying true to their original goal of playing the very best original and custom arrangements available. In the Starduster Orchestra’s own words, “Audiences get to enjoy the sound of the Big Band Era the way it was played. The excitement of our music compels audiences from eighteen to eighty to get up and dance.”.

Those who enjoyed the music that Joe and the Stardusters played, those who danced the night away to the sounds of the big brass band, those who had the privilege of experiencing an evening with the Stardusters, will never forget him.

Paula Pohan Davies, a regular attendee of the Stardusters dances at Mill Valley Community Center, writes, “Most of the dancers are, like myself, over the age of fifty and have relied upon dance as a means of staying in shape as well as in touch with the larger dance community. You see, we have a special bond. If you dance, I don't need to explain it; if you don't dance, I would be spinning in circles to try and explain the experience; suffice to say it is unique and very, very precious.  Along with the universal feelings of isolation from family and friends, COVID19 has totally blown apart this special connection. I myself have been in agony worrying about the people who have enriched my life beyond measure. I want as many of them as possible to know that I am still here, tapping my foot and waiting for the music to begin again!”.

If you would like to contact Paula and keep the dialog and spirit of Joe Agro & the Starduster Orchestra going, along with those who enjoyed their music and dancing, you can email her at

Joe passed away peacefully on September 4, 2020.  Our thoughts are with his family and friends.  He was 78.