LPCA is In The Mood for Miller’s Big Band Sound! Wednesday, August 15 at 8pm
“The hardest thing in the world is to start an orchestra and the nest hardest, to stop it.” That bit of wisdom was uttered by Hans Richter more than a century ago, but he might very well have been speaking about the Glenn Miller Orchestra, which appears at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts on Wednesday, August 15 at 8pm. Tickets are $22 and can be purchased by calling the LPCA at 518.523.2512. For more information visit online at LakePlacidArts.org.
The first Glenn Miller Orchestra didn’t make it at all. It was a total and absolute failure. But Glenn knew what he wanted, held to that dedication and relentlessly worked to succeed. He launched his second band – the one that lives on today – in March of 1938. It’s been a “hit” ever since.
The legendary Glenn Miller was one of the most successful of all the dance bandleaders back in the Swing era of the 1930s and ‘40s. A matchless string of hit records, the constant impact of radio broadcasts, and the drawing power at theatres, hotels and dance pavilions built and sustained the momentum of popularity.
Glenn disbanded his musical organization in 1942, at the height of its popularity, volunteered for the Army and then organized and led the famous Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band. It went to Europe to entertain servicemen, and then, on December 15, 1944, Major Miller took off in a single-engine plane from England to precede his band to France, never to be seen again. The army declared him officially dead a year later.
Due to the popular demand, the Miller Estate authorized the formation of the present Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1956 under the direction of drummer Ray McKinley, who had become the unofficial leader of the Army Air Force Band after Glenn’s disappearance. Since then, other leaders have followed Ray including clarinetists Buddy DeFranco and Peanuts Huncko, trombonists Buddy Morrow, Jimmy Henderson and Larry O’ Brien, tenor saxophonist Dick Gerhart, trombonist Gary Tole, and now Nick Hilscher.
The 19-member band continues to play many of the original Miller arrangements that keep exciting fans who have not heard them played for a while. Additionally, they are also playing more modern selections in the big-band style, carefully selecting only those newer tunes that lend themselves naturally to the Miller style and sound, carefully selected pieces that will stay around for a while. The entire repertoire which now exceeds 1,700 compositions keeps the band popular with both young and old.
Most of the band’s shows are sell-outs. It has proven staying power, and its popularity has never seemed to wane. Indeed, the Glenn Miller Orchestra today is still the most sought after big-band in the world just as it was in Glenn’s day.