The Glenn Miller Orchestra Appreciation Society

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Transcript of The Glenn Miller Orchestra Appreciation Society


    The Glenn Miller Orchestra Appreciation Society

    Christmas Edition

  • Hi De Hi, big band lovers!

    Where has the year gone? It really worries me how quickly time seems to fly the older you get!! It seems like only yesterday I was welcoming you to our Jubilee Edition. Since then, the Orchestras been south to Jersey, then into the midlands in Leicester, Fareham in the home counties and west to Shrewsbury. It was so upsetting to see the floods around Shrewsbury barely a couple of weeks after we played there. It was unrecognisable on the news clips, from the beautiful town we played in. Our best wishes for a swift recovery go out to those affected.

    Our travels have also taken us to North London, Aldershot, Dudley and Manchester - where we were honoured to have a special guest join us on stage - none other than the great Tommy Whittle who grew to fame in the Ted Heath Orchestra. More inside about this musical treat!

    But for me, the high spot of the past three months has been the introduction - for certain shows only - of a string section! The first concert with Glenns AAF line-up was at the Derngate in Northampton, where we were also joined by Youth Brass 2000. St. Louis Blues March has never sounded so good! Read all about it in this issue.

    As I write this, were on the plane returning from two shows in Spain. We have lots of snaps of the guys and gals to share with you.

    For those of you I dont have the chance of greeting personally before Christmas, may I offer best wishes for the festive season and, of course, a very happy and prosperous New Year!

    Enjoy the magazine!


    Contents Rays Message

    Ray with Bobby Dave Ford & Bruce Douglas

    Rays Message 3

    Jersey Bounce 4

    Tommy Whittle 5

    The New String Section! 6-7

    The Glenn Miller Orchestra 8-9 accompanied by Youth Brass 2000!

    Madrid and Barcelona 10-11

    Spotlight on one of the Band Members - Loren Hignell 12

    Members Page 13

    Forthcoming Concert Dates 14-15


  • Last September, we were booked for two shows at the Opera House in Jersey in the Channel Islands. It was a super three days there.

    The Band flew over on the morning of the first show - all except Danny Hammerton who decided to go over a day early and spent the evening chatting to the RAF Red Arrows team in the bar!

    Ray and Sue took the ferry so they could bring the music pads and a few of the bulkier instruments in the car. On the way, Sue offered to help a lady with a guide dog who was trying to find her way from the car deck to the restaurant. It turned out that the lady was a guide-dog trainer, she wasnt blind at all! Of course, we thought that was hilarious. Who did Sue think was driving the car? The dog?

    The weekend was an RAF reunion and featured a spectacular air display. As well as Dannys new friends, the Red Arrows, there was a fly-past by a massive period Boeing B29 Superfortress which had flown in from America and, after the show, flew on to Scotland looking for a runway long enough to land on!

    As there were more than a few veterans in the audiences for the concerts, Ray included the Dambusters March in the programme. We felt honoured that a surviving member of the Dambusters squadron was in the audience on the second night.

    Over a period of nearly 70 years, Tommy Whittle has earned himself the reputation of being the greatest British tenor sax player of all time, playing alongside Ted Heath, Cyril Stapleton, Jack Parnell as well as a number of small bands of his own. So it was a genuine thrill for audience and musicians

    alike when Tommy, now aged 86, travelled to Manchester with us on the band bus, stepped up onto the stage to join the Glenn Miller Orchestra for a number. Tommy displayed his outstanding musicianship and playing technique as he led the band on How High the Moon.

    Tommy also enjoyed it so much that Ray invited him to come back and join us again in Wolverhampton!

    Tommy WhittleJersey Bounce

    Boys meet outside the hotel before going off to see the air display.

    Left to right ... Simon Andy Daniel Alan Dave Bobby Bunny and Martin


  • The New String Section! short while until it was decided that it was too expensive. Since then, fans of Glenn Miller have been denied the opportunity to hear the orchestra in concert with a string section...

    ...until now!

    Ray decided that the fans deserve a chance to hear, live, some of Glenns finer arrangements. So hes presenting a limited number of shows with the Glenn Miller Strings. The first of those shows was the concert at the Royal and Derngate in Northampton. And what a hit it was.

    The audience were thrilled to hear the band playing the augmented versions of Miller standards like Moonlight Serenade, Story of a Starry Night, Rhapsody in Blue, Danny Boy and Cherokee.

    In addition, a local young peoples brass band - theyre called Youth Brass 2000 - joined the Orchestra to form a considerably enhanced brass section for the second-act opening playing St. Louis Blues March.

    Check our schedule of forthcoming concert dates (pp.14-15) to see when the Strings are performing!

    Ray always tries to keep the shows fresh while not forgetting there are huge hits that regular patrons demand be performed year after year. So, blended in with In the Mood, Tuxedo Junction, Chattanooga Choo Choo and many other favourites, the Orchestra, in the past, has brought along stars like Patti Andrews of the Andrews Sisters, Joan Regan and the late Eric Delaney, not forgetting more recent favourites like Britains Got Talent winners: Irresistible.

    So, whats new for 2013?Most people associate big band music with line-ups that include 5 saxes, 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, 3 rhythm and lots of noise!

    However, Glenn Miller - while admittedly using the above line-up most of the time - did have a mellow side to his character too. And while the version of Moonlight Serenade that we all know and love demonstrated Glenn Millers incredible arranging ability with clarinet and saxes, there is also a lesser-known version using strings which is equally beautiful, if not more so.

    Strings in Millers line-up were most apparent in his Army Air-Force band which he brought to Europe in 1942.

    Following Millers disappearance in 1944, and the end of the war a year later, the band returned to the States and continued with a string section for a


  • Accompanied by Youth Brass 2000!

    The Orchestra considerably augmented by Youth Brass 2000 - made up of school children and youths from around Wilbarston Village in Northamptonshire - all playing St. Louis Blues March.


  • Madrid and BarcelonaIts nice to be able to say we are building a fan base in Spain. We make two or three visits there a year and we were there just last month. This trip we took the Jiving Lindy Hoppers and vocal group Irresistible along with us.

    We played the Auditorio Nacional de Madrid and Palau de la Msica, Barcelona

    We are looking forward to our next visit at the beginning of January to Malaga and then off to the Canaries!

    The pictures are very casual ones but we hope you like them!

    Alan & Danny

    Colin & Catherine

    Moonlight Serenaders

    Irresistible Sound Check

    ...with her bodyguards!

    Jreena of Jiving Lindy Hoppers...

    Dan, Simon & Brucevv

    Jiving Lindy Hoppers...

    ...Running Wild with the Orchestra

    Bob in a pot! 1110

  • Spotlight on one of the Band Members - Loren HignellTake a good look at these two pictures of Loren Hignell and youll see a man who appears to have a split personality! In fact hes just a guy who believes in getting the most out of life. He achieves that by playing the sax brilliantly and having fun.

    This graduate of Anglia Polytechnic University and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama has plied his craft in forms of music as varied as backing Jamaican reggae artists and backing Sir Cliff at the Royal Albert Hall. Hes played in all the best places - QEH, the Royal Festival Hall, the Radio Theatre at BBC Broadcasting House, the Savoy Theatre, Buckingham Palace and the Palladium.

    He learned the big band tradition playing with the Syd Lawrence Orchestra for four years.

    Apart from being an invaluable member of the saxophone section, Loren always has a ready smile for everyone! By the way, were not sure where Loren picked up the unfortunate growth on his nose - it could have been Blackpool or Spain!

    Members Page

    As a World War II baby, I grew up with radio, and I remember in those days hearing the Glenn Miller Orchestra so often and eventually, owning a record player, I purchased a Glenn Miller 10 LP. Moonlight on the Ganges, etc. The quality of that sound and music stayed with me. Over many years there has been dozens of bands who have imitated Glenns Sound and, even with modern recording techniques, they have never bettered Glenns original work. Ray and the Orchestra - and vocals - do a fantastic job...

    Geoff Sheldon

    I recently had my 80th birthday and stlll dance to Miller music whenever possible. Have 18th November on my calender when you visit the Derngate Northampton.

    Hugh Geddes

    Congratulations on the new G.M.O.A.S. magazine, its a CRACKER! Lots of interesting bits and good pictures too, looking forward to the next issue.

    Bryan and Jenny

    We would just like to thank you

    for such a wonderful evening of

    entertainment, Rosemarie was

    thrilled to bits, I was standing up

    cheering and clapping it took me

    completely out of myself. I looked

    at Rosie who was a different

    woman, to see her so happy was