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Glenn Miller Orchestra to perform at Oak Glen

April 4, 2013
From staff reports , The Herald-Star

NEW CUMBERLAND - The Oak Glen Middle School Culture Club will welcome the Glenn Miller Orchestra at 7 p.m. April 16 at the school's auditorium located at 39 Golden Bear Drive.

The Oak Glen High School Jazz Ensemble will open for the orchestra, and the doors open at 6:45 p.m.

Known for such hits as "In the Mood," "Chattanooga Choo Choo," "A String of Pearls," "Moonlight Serenade" and "Tuxedo Junction," the Glenn Miller Orchestra was disbanded in 1942 - at the height of their popularity - when Miller enlisted during World War II. Miller disappeared over the English channel in a single-engine plane in December 1944, but his estate authorized the formation of the Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1956, and it has been touring ever since, averaging 300 performances in front of an estimated 500,000 people each year.

Nick Hilscher leads an orchestra including five saxophone players, four trumpeters, four trombonists and three rhythm musicians. The orchestra also includes two vocalists - one male and one female - who also perform with the Moonlight Serenaders.

Hilscher first began performing with the Glenn Miller Orchestra as the "boy singer" at the age of 19 in 1998, before returning to college to earn a degree in piano performance. He returned to the orchestra in 2000 as the piano chair.

Hilscher also has sung with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, succeeding Buddy Morrow as the leader for several years, and has performed with his own Nick Hilscher Big Band. He has recorded two albums, "Nick Hilscher Sings With the Glenn Miller Orchestra" and "Young and Foolish With the Nick Hilscher Big Band."

"It hit me like a ton of bricks, knocked me out and changed my life when I was 11," said Hilscher of first listening to Glenn Miller. "I'd never heard anything like that kind of music. It hit me at the deepest level a kid at that age could be hit."

Hilscher follows leaders such as Ray McKinley, Buddy DeFranco, Peanuts Hucko, Buddy Morrow, Jimmy Henderson, Larry O'Brien and Dick Gerhart.

Vocalist Eileen Burns also will appear. She was the former lead singer for the Demetrius Steinmetz Band and has been a featured vocalist with jazz musicians Joe Hunter, Mike Petrone, Ray Porrello and the Dukes of Wail. She has appeared regularly on the Mighty Wurlitzer Radio Hour albums and released her own solo album of original music penned for her by Larry Kass, "Eileen Swings the Larry Kass Songbook." Burns also was an original cast member of The Midnight Martini Show at Pickwick and Frolic in Cleveland.

The orchestra's "road book" includes 1,700 songs, including all of the original Glenn Miller Orchestra's hits, but also lesser known or non-traditional arrangements, including "The White Cliffs of Dover," "Rainbow Rhapsody," "Everybody Loves My Baby," "That's Sabotage," "Over the Rainbow," "September Morn," "The Body Electric," "Up Where We Belong" and "Star Wars/War of the Stars."

The orchestra maintains the distinctive Glenn Miller sound, created by the clarinet holding the melodic line, doubled or coupled with the tenor saxophone playing the same notes and supported harmonically by the three other saxophones.

Tickets are $21 in advance and $24 at the door.

A group rate of $19 per ticket will be charged for the purchase of 10 or more tickets. Tickets may be purchased at Oak Glen Middle School during regular school days from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

For information, call (304) 374-7474.

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