ANDERSON – Excitement is building as The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra will fill the Paramount Tuesday with jazz music in a style celebrated for thrilling audiences all over the country, not to mention Europe, Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Guam, the Philippines, and South and Central America.
“Big bands are part of the history of this theatre,” said Ann Hardacre, board member. “Big bands played here when it opened and, for a time, performed every Wednesday. It’s hard to book them because of the expense, but we wanted to do something for our biggest supporters – and they are interested in big bands.”
While the first Glenn Miller Orchestra was a complete economic failure, his second band, which began in 1938, still lives today. A top dance bandleader during the era of swing in the 1930’s and 1940’s, the band enjoyed the success of hit records, drawing power at performances and wild popularity.
Disbanding in 1942 to volunteer for the army, Miller then assembled the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band. During a trip to Europe, Major Miller disappeared over the English Channel and was later declared dead.
Interest in the band revived after the release of the movie The Glenn Miller Story featuring Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson in 1954. This prompted the Miller Estate to authorize the formation of the band that travels today.
Having toured since 1956, the Glenn Miller Orchestra has had several music directors. Vocalist Nick Hilscher currently leads the 18-member ensemble of five saxophone players, four trumpeters, four trombonists, three rhythm musicians and two vocalists.
“The fans from that generation wanted the band to continue and it really is amazing that seventy years later the band is still extremely popular,” said Hilscher. “I think that the music certainly is the leading element in the equation, but it’s the way in which the Glenn Miller Orchestra has always presented the music that has kept it fresh and exciting all of these years and keeps us popular throughout the world.”