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Friday, April 22, 2016

The Glenn Miller Orchestra

     Whenever I think of The Glenn Miller Orchestra, I think of "Moonlight Serenade".  This is their signature song and has been since the band began.  Although Miller composed this piece long before he organized the band.  It was an exercise he did for a course in arranging.  But no matter.  It's so beautiful and just thinking about this song causes me to begin to hum it, which I was doing not so silently to myself as the band took to the stage this past Tuesday night at The Stiefel Theatre in Salina.

     After Miller's signature opening song, it was time for "The Chattanooga Choo Choo".  The whole place was dancing in their seats.  That's pretty impressive because the house was nearly sold out and all anyone had was a little bit of elbow room, so imagine an entire theatre operating as one as everyone did their best to move with the groove.  I think the orchestra probably enjoyed watching the audience as much as we enjoyed listening to them.  This song was the very first in history to sell over a million copies and the first to earn a gold record from RCA. Three band members as well as Nick Hilscher, the band leader, and Jenny Swoish, the female vocalist, sang this song on stage. And talk about 40's glam, Nick and Jenny were glammed up to the max!

     Just what is The Glenn Miller sound?  What sets this orchestra apart from others you may have heard?  That sound is created by the clarinet holding the melodic line, doubled or coupled with the tenor sax playing the same note; and the harmonies produced by three other saxophones, while growling trombones and wailing trumpets add their oo-ahs.  So simple a child could do it, or maybe not.  One thing about it, if I liked it, and I did, you know there has to be a saxophone in there somewhere.

     Janes Gates at The Stiefel Theatre had been so gracious to allow me to view Keb" Mo" last Friday, and The Glenn Miller Orchestra on Tuesday; she even let me bring along my photographer to Keb' Mo' where we got some amazing photos and then my videographer to this show to interview Nick Hilscher before the opening curtain.  Thank you, Jane!

     To learn more about The Glenn Miller Orchestra, check out their website: And check out their music on YouTube.  You'll love it!

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