Glenn Miller Orchestra set to perform Jan. 29 at Civic Center

Staff report

			
				                                The Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater will bring to the stage on Jan. 29 the Glenn Miller Orchestra, a touring big band complementing the setting of the historic theater that first opened in 1928.

The Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater will bring to the stage on Jan. 29 the Glenn Miller Orchestra, a touring big band complementing the setting of the historic theater that first opened in 1928.

LUMBERTON — The Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater is bringing back a favorite touring big band to complement its historic setting.

The Glenn Miller Orchestra will perform at 7 p.m. Jan. 29 in the theater that first opened in 1928 — just 10 years before the original version of this famous big band was formed. The world famous orchestra, with its unique jazz sound, is considered to be one of the greatest bands of all time.

The legendary Glenn Miller was one of the most successful of all dance bandleaders 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 pavilion, built and sustained the momentum of popularity.

Miller disbanded his musical organization in 1942 at the height of its popularity to volunteer for the Army. There, he organized and led the famous Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band. It went to Europe to entertain servicemen performing numerous live and radio shows.

On Dec. 15, 1944, Major Miller took off in a single engine plane from Europe to precede his band to France, disappearing over the English Channel, never to be seen again. The army declared him officially dead a year later. With the release of the major motion movie The Glenn Miller Story featuring Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson in 1954, interest and popular demand led the Miller Estate to authorize the formation of the present Glenn Miller Orchestra.

On June 6, 1956, and under the direction of drummer Ray McKinley who had become the unofficial leader of the Army Air Force Band after Glenn’s disappearance, the reformed Glenn Miller Orchestra performed its first concert and has been on the road ever since. Other leaders have followed McKinley including clarinetists Buddy DeFranco and Peanuts Hucko, trombonists Buddy Morrow, Jimmy Henderson, Larry O’Brien and Gary Tole, and tenor saxophonist Dick Gerhart.

Since January 2012, vocalist Nick Hilscher leads the band. Today, the 18 member ensemble continues to play many of the original Miller arrangements both from the civilian band and the AAFB libraries. Additionally, it also plays some more modern selections arranged and performed in the Miller style and sound.

The present version plays an average of 300 live dates a year all around the world.

Tickets are $25 for individuals, $22 for seniors (65+) and military, and students are $10. Group discount rates of $20 each are available for groups of 10 or more when purchased in advance are available by contacting the box office. Note that balcony tickets require walking up significant stairs. No refunds or exchanges are available.

Masks will be required for admission to this performance but proof of vaccination will not be required. The theater will post updates to its web site regularly.

Tickets for the Mainstage Series can be purchased anytime online by visiting www.carolinaciviccenter.com. Tickets also can be purchased in-person or by credit card or cash from 1 to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, through the theater’s administrative offices; or by calling 910-738-4339. When available, tickets can also be purchased at the door. Theater lobby box office opens for ticket sales one hour prior to performance.