Ray Chew named new 'Dancing with the Stars' music director

Feb. 7, 2014 at 2:22 PM   |   Comments

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Ray Chew has been named the new music director and composer for "Dancing with the Stars" in Los Angeles, ABC announced Friday.

Chew's band will feature a new lineup of live musicians and singers performing music ranging from the latest pop hits to the great standards of the past, the network said in a news release.

Season 18 of the show is to premiere March 17.

"Live music is the lifeblood of 'DWTS' and we couldn't be more excited to be working with Ray and his talented band. Ray is one of the most versatile and dynamic musicians working today. It promises to be a spectacular season," Conrad Green, the show's executive producer, said in a statement.

"I'm looking forward to continuing the musical legacy established on 'Dancing with the Stars,' a show that respects live music and musicians. It is important to me and to the producers to maintain the integrity of the music presentation for the dancers as well as for the viewers," Chew said. "Toward that end, my approach will be to utilize first-class live vocalists, arrangers, copyists and musicians of all instruments."

Chew most recently served as the music director of the 65th annual Emmy Awards show. He has also been seen on such network television series and specials as "American Idol" and "It's Showtime at the Apollo."

ABC confirmed last week longtime band leader Harold Wheeler and his 28-member group of musicians and singers were leaving the show, but the network didn't say why.

The Hollywood Reporter said ABC wanted to replace the band with a smaller group of musicians and increase the use of pre-existing recordings.

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