“The hardest thing in the world is to start an orchestra—and the next hardest, is to stop it.” That bit of wisdom was uttered by Hans Richter more than a century ago, but he might very well have been speaking about the Glenn Miller Orchestra, which will be in southwest Oklahoma at the Robert M. Kerr Performance Hall at Quartz Mountain for a Valentine’s Day Concert and Dance. The Shortgrass Arts and Humanities Council is sponsoring this event on Thursday, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m. Partial funding is being provided by the Oklahoma Arts Council.
The legendary Glenn Miller was one of the most successful of all the dance band leaders back in the Swing era of the 1930s and 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 his 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. He was never seen again and no trace of the plane was ever found.
Due to the popular demand, the Miller Estate authorized the formation of the present Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1965. The nineteen-member band continues to play many of the original arrangements that keep exciting the fans who have not heard them played for a while. Additionally, they are also playing more modern selections in the big-band style. The entire repertoire which now exceeds 1,700 compositions keeps the band popular with both young and old. The Band plays to sell-out crowd and its popularity has never waned.
Everyone is invited to the concert and dance on Feb. 14. There will be dancing on the stage floor around the band and the performance hall acoustics are perfect for those who prefer just to listen to the big band music. Tickets are $10 for adults and $10 for students and are available at the Altus Chamber of Commerce, 482-0210: or by calling 477-1616. They will also be available at the door.