"A band ought to have a sound of its own. It ought to have a personality."

-- Glenn Miller

With these words, Glenn Miller began recording under his own name for Columbia in 1935. His instrumental "Solo Hop" reached the Top 10.

In 1937, Glenn organized his own touring band and signed to Brunswick records.

In 1939, the orchestra had 17 top hits, including "Sunrise Serenade," "Moonlight Serenade," "Wishing," "Over the Rainbow," "Blue Orchids," and "The Man With the Mandolin."

In 1940, "Tuxedo Junction" sold 115,000 copies the first week, and Pennsylvania 6-5000 was released.

From 1940 through 1943, the GLO racked up many Top 10 hits, until Miller received an officer's commission in the Army/Air Force, where he organized a service band, performed at military camps and hosted a weekly radio series.

In 1944, Glenn took his band to Great Britain, performed for the troops and did radio broadcasts.

On Dec. 15 of that year, Miller boarded a transport plane to Paris, never to be seen again.

In 2003, Miller posthumously received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

And now, you have an opportunity to represent Western Kansas as the orchestra plays a concert from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at 12th Street Auditorium, 323 W. 12th.

Tickets are available at Tom's Music House, 201 W. 10th, (785) 301-2951, $20 advance, $25 at the door, or at wwwticketstorm.com.

As Hogan Entertainment brings The Glenn Miller Orchestra to Hays, join Director/Vocalist Nick Hilscher, and Vocalist Julia Rich, along with 16 talented Miller musicians as they express their personalities with old and new Miller arrangements.

Harry Watts, Hays, is an AARP Community Service Volunteer.