Daylight serenade

Glenn Miller Orchestra performs matinee

Glenn Miller Orchestra performs matinee

July 27, 2006|by JULIE E. GREENE

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -Glenn Miller has been dead for almost 62 years, yet his big band is still a hot ticket.

A big reason for that is the wave of patriotism since Sept. 11, says Larry O'Brien, musical director for the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

"Glenn Miller was the most patriotic band leader and (had) the most patriotic band in the world," O'Brien says.

He left the band at a lucrative time to enlist in the Army, O'Brien says. On Dec. 15, 1944, Miller boarded a transport plane from England to Paris to prepare for the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band's six-week tour in Europe. Miller's plane never arrived in Paris. There are several theories about how Miller died.

O'Brien says it was verified by a British crewman on his deathbed that Miller's plane was hit by a bomb being disposed of by a British bombing group. Because it was dangerous to land with bombs still attached, British pilots would drop any bombs they still had in the channel before landing.


The orchestra will perform at The Capitol Theatre on Sunday afternoon.

There have been some changes since Miller's reign over the orchestra.

The orchestra has an additional trombone and doesn't have a rhythm guitar. The trumpeters now play the fluegelhorn, a deeper sounding horn, and the trombone players use derbies rather than cup mutes on some arrangements for a mellower sound, O'Brien says.

The softer sounds work these days due to all the microphones used to capture the band's sound, O'Brien says.

The big band also has added some updated tunes, such as occasionally playing Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are."

The band still plays Miller's hits, such as "In the Mood," but the band is not mired in 1944, O'Brien says.

"We've made some slight changes. Nothing that somebody would say, 'Oh my God. Listen to that.' We're not taking 'In the Mood' and making it a cha-cha," he says.

If you go ...

WHAT: The Glenn Miller Orchestra

WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday, July 30

WHERE: The Capitol Theatre, 159 S. Main St., Chambersburg, Pa.

COST: Front-section seats cost $28, general admission; $26 for senior citizens. Back-section seats cost $26, general admission; $24 for seniors.

DIRECTIONS: Take Interstate 81 north to exit for U.S. 30. Turn left off exit onto U.S. 30. At the square, turn left on Main Street (U.S. 11) and go 1 1/2 blocks. The theater will be on the right. Parking is along the street and in nearby lots.

MORE: For tickets or more information, call 717-263-0202 or go to

The Herald-Mail Articles