‘Dancing With The Stars’ axes its live orchestra

'Dancing With The Stars' competitors have been backed by the big band for 17 seasons. Handout

TORONTO — The big band featured on the first 17 seasons of the hit competition show Dancing With The Stars has been fired.

According to Ray Hair, president of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), the show’s 28 musicians, singers and arrangers have been given notice that they won’t be back.

Members of the Harold Wheeler Orchestra and Singers reportedly received an email on Jan. 30 from Wheeler informing them of a decision by ABC/Disney to replace the band with a “small electronic band” and recorded music.

Last season, for the first time, DWTS began using recorded music for some dance numbers instead of the live band.

There has been no announcement from ABC/Disney or the show’s production company, BBC Worldwide.

DWTS musician Rick Baptist urged fans on his Facebook page to protest the decision by contacting the network.

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According to the AFM, the show — which pairs professional dancers with celebrities — hopes to attract younger viewers by cutting the big band.

The AFM represents over 90,000 professional musicians in the U.S. and Canada.

The new season of DWTS debuts March 17.

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