Glenn Miller Orchestra swings into Columbus this Sunday

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The first orchestra Glenn Miller formed didn&squo;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 in March of 1938, and unlike the first band, it became an enormous success. And it has been a &uot;hit&uot; 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 &squo;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.On December 15, Major Miller took off in an ancient, single engine plane to precede his band to Paris. The weather was foreboding. Not very confident, he said to the pilot, &uot;Maybe we ought to call this off?&uot; The flight officer ribbed him about his fear of flying, &uot;Do you want to live forever?&uot;Now, over sixty years since the public first embraced the successful Miller Sound, both the legend and the music live on. 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&squo;s disappearance. Since then, other leaders have followed Ray including clarinetists Buddy DeFranco and Peanuts Hucko, trombonists Buddy Morrow, Jimmy Henderson, Larry O&squo; Brien and tenor saxophonist Dick Gerhart.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&squo;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&squo;s day. Still considered the greatest band of all time, its unique sound is loved by anybody that cares for dance music.Tickets are $20 per adult and $10 for students. For more information, directions or tickets contact the Tryon Fine Arts Center at 35 Melrose Ave. in Tryon by calling 828-859-8322 or going to their website at Tryon Fine Arts Center:TFAC is a nonprofit organization operating to foster the arts in Polk County and the surrounding areas. They operate a 335-seat multipurpose auditorium presenting a

variety of cultural events. Affiliated with TFAC are six autonomous groups, each with its own board of directors, officers and membership. These &uot;affiliates&uot; support workshops in Painting, Sculpture, Acting and much more.

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