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Glenn Miller Orchestra returns to Hays

Published on -5/23/2012, 9:30 AM

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Hello there, old-time music lovers. Now that our Sunday Music Chat with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra is over, it's time to renew our visit with the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

Our last Hays concerts with the Miller Orchestra were in July. At that time, the musical director was Gary Tole, and the vocalists were Valerie Duke and Brian Hemstock. All three performers are no longer with the orchestra.

Today's great Miller Orchestra's musical director and male vocalist is Nick Hilscher, a native of Atlanta, and the runner-up in the 1997 Alabama Collegiate Artists piano competition. In 2005, Hilscher was the featured vocalist for a 100th birthday celebration and cruise for Tommy Dorsey. After Buddy Morrow's passing, Hilscher was chosen to carry on as the director of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Hilscher has worked with the Glenn Miller Orchestra since 1998, and now performs as the Orchestra's musical director/vocalist.

Julia Rich returns to the Miller Orchestra as the featured female vocalist. She originally joined the orchestra in 1985, and has sung "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" and "Kalamazoo" in Chattanooga and Kalamazoo, and from Reyklavik to Honolulu to Salvador to Saskatoon. She has served as the GMO road manager, and she was also the vocal director for the orchestra's "Moonlight Serenaders" from 1989 through 2008. The Miller Orchestra currently performs "Two Afternoons in December," "The Irises," "If I Spoke French," "My First Love" and "Tete-a-Tete" from Julia's original catalog.

The 16-piece Glenn Miller Orchestra is stopping in Hays because they were well-treated here. If we want to continue to attract our golden-age big swing bands, we need to support their concerts.

On May 31, the Glenn Miller Orchestra will perform from 7 to 9 p.m. 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 www.ticketstorm.com.

Let's show entertainment producer Richard Hogan we appreciate his efforts to bring great swing music to our area. If you enjoy the great Miller arrangements of yesteryear, then bring your family and friends for our music.

Harry Watts is an AARP community service volunteer.

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