The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra will perform in Pensacola at National Naval Aviation Museum on Tuesday, Jan. 17. The performance will be held in the museum’s Blue Angel’s Atrium aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola. The performance will begin at 7 p.m.
The orchestra is a fully self-contained 19 member group and is the most popular and sought after big band in the world today. Since 1956, the band has been consistently performing an average of 300 live dates each year worldwide.
Legendary Swing Era bandleader Glenn Miller was born in 1904. A musician since childhood, Miller toured with several orchestras in the 1920s and ’30s, working with the likes of Benny Goodman and the Dorsey Brothers. Miller formed the first Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1937. It was a financial failure. Following this first attempt, Miller honed the distinctive sound that would define his career and orchestra: a clarinet and tenor sax playing the melodic line, supported harmonically by three saxophones, backed by growling trombones and wailing trumpets. As Miller himself said, “A band ought to have a sound all of its own. It ought to have a personality.” In March 1938, Glenn Miller launched his second band which became an enormous success with a string of hits including the band’s signature tune “Moonlight Serenade.”
In 1942, at the height of its popularity, Glenn Miller disbanded the orchestra to volunteer for the Army. There, Miller organized the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band which performed 800 shows for servicemen in a single year. On December 15, 1944, Major Glenn Miller took off in a single engine plane from England to France for a string of performances. Miller’s plane disappeared over the English Channel and he was never seen again. While he didn’t return from the war, Miller’s music has lived on- with the exception of a few years following his death, Glenn Miller’s namesake orchestra and music have been consistently heard around the world since 1938.
The present Glenn Miller Orchestra was formed due to popular demand by the Miller Estate in 1956. Touring continuously for the past 60 years, the orchestra has been “on the road” longer than any other Big Band in history. The orchestra features music director Nick Hilscher, five reed players (saxophone, clarinet, flute), eight brass players (trombone, trumpet), three rhythm musicians (piano, bass, and drums), and two vocalists. With a repertoire that now exceeds 1700 compositions, the orchestra’s programs feature the big hits of the Swing Era (“Moonlight Serenade,” “In the Mood,” “Chattanooga Choo-Choo,” and “String of Pearls”), lesser-known tunes (“The White Cliffs of Dover” and “Rainbow Rhapsody”), and contemporary selections arranged in the Glenn Miller style.