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The Glenn Miller Orchestra

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by Lydia C. Lee (subscribe)
Lydia C. Lee is still trying to work out what to do with her one wild and precious life. She currently is a haphazard blogger. Read more at holidazeandhellidaze.blogspot.com.au or www.pandoraandmax.blogspot.com
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In the Mood for a Moonlight Serenade, At Last

Even if you think you've never heard of Glenn Miller, you have heard his music. His songs are famous from the golden era of swing, and have pervaded popular culture in one form or another, every decade since. Great hits and standards such as In the Mood, American Patrol, Chattanooga Choo Choo, A String of Pearls, Tuxedo Junction, his theme Moonlight Serenade, Pennsylvania 6-5000, A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square, Barrel Polka; the list goes on and on.


The State Theatre was filled to capacity last night with an audience of enthusiasts of all ages. The grand old theatre seemed the perfect location for the concert of the great music of yesteryear. The Orchestra entered to rousing applause, setting the mood for the evening.

The Orchestra itself is lively, there's a lot of movement with seventeen band members and constantly changing featured artists. We were in front of the pianist, whose hands weren't the only the only thing dancing. I found my eyes kept drifting back to watch him, as his enjoyment of the music was delightful to watch.


One of the highlights of the evening is the Miller arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue – the piece of music is one of my favorites, but with fourteen brass instruments playing it, the sound is superb and also very different to the more common piano arrangement.

They also have two vocalists, the male conjuring up Bing Crosby for Don't Fence Me In, and acing that crooner sound of the '50's. There were Swing Exhibition Dancers peppering the set with varied dance routines, including a tap number.


I came to Glenn Miller through the Andrew Sisters (my parents found is hilarious that in the late '70's I was saving my pocket money for records by both ACDC and the Andrew Sisters – I blame Bill Collins and the Sunday Afternoon Movie for that!), so I was thrilled when the Swing Kittens came out to sing some of the Miller classics made famous in the Andrew Sisters style.

Glenn Miller was born in 1904. He became the leader of the most popular Big Band in the Swing Era. He was a jazz musician, playing with Benny Goodman and the Dorsey Brothers as well as an arranger and composer. He was one of the best-selling recording artists from 1939 to 1943. In 1940 he had a massive thirty one Top 10 hits, and for three years was the top recording artist worldwide. In '42 he formed a Service Band and performed in military camps for the troops, and weekly on his own radio show. Sadly he went missing over the English Channel in 1944, while on his way to entertain the U.S troops in France the war effort.

This Glenn Miller Orchestra formed in 1956 and has been touring consistently ever since, playing an average of 300 live dates a year all around the world. The resurgence of swing dance continues every time someone hears those infectious tunes played with a chorus of brass.

The enjoyment of the audience last night was clear when the band leader even managed to overcome the traditional Australian unwillingness for audience participation, with the enthusiastic singing by the crowd of Pennsylvania 6-5000.


The Glenn Miller Orchestra is in Australia for the first time. They have a couple more Sydney dates and then tour the country until mid November. If you haven't already, grab yourself some tickets for a thoroughly entertaining evening.

The PR said they would give the 'audience a sentimental journey down memory lane on the eve of Glenn Miller's 75th anniversary' - and they most certainly did.
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Why? Entertaining evening of great music
Where: Australia wide tour
Your Comment
Aww. Wonderful article. I love Glenn miller and the film of his life starring Jimmy Stewart. Even played him at dads funeral. Great to see a new generation able to appreciate his music. Will this come to Melb? Cheers. Vanessa.
by Vanessa de Largie (score: 3|1343) 1676 days ago
Aww. Wonderful article. I love Glenn miller and the film of his life starring Jimmy Stewart. Even played him at dads funeral. Great to see a new generation able to appreciate his music. Will this come to Melb? Cheers. Vanessa.
by Vanessa de Largie (score: 3|1343) 1676 days ago
what a night last night at the State Theater in Sydney. Glenn Miller Orchestra concert was all what I hoped for and more. The theater was packed to the rafters mostly by the baby boomers generation - a great atmosphere, great appreciative audience...one of those really memorable nights out.
by alena (score: 0|3) 1687 days ago
It was great fun, wasn't it? I just wished they had a dance floor - felt like I should be sipping cocktails at the Coconut Grove...
by Lydia C. Lee (score: 2|626) 1687 days ago
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