Swing Fans Pack Peacock Hall
The Peacocke Hall at the Rye College was full to the very last seat for the appearance of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, part of the Rye Christmas Festival, on Saturday 13 December. Tickets were sold out within days of going on sale, the seats could possibly have been filled three times over.
There were many ‘War babies’ among the audience but a good sprinkling of youngsters demonstrates why the famous forties music lives on.
The famous band did not disappoint, their renditions of the familiar Glenn Miller arrangements were brilliant and the overall performance was completely professional in the hands of Rae McVay, Glen himself would have been proud of the way his music was presented.
The Glenn Miller Orchestra UK
The Glenn Miller Orchestra UK was formed in 1988 in conjunction with Glenn Miller Productions of New York. The Glenn Miller Orchestra UK has maintained the exact line-up on stage devised by Glenn, consisting of the leader, five saxophones, four trumpets, four trombones and three rhythm plus a male and female vocalist. The singers perform both individually and as part of The Moonlight Serenaders vocal group. The Uptown Hall Gang – an outstanding Dixieland group drawn from members of the orchestra is also featured.
The Band’s library comprises of more than 200 scores, many of them from the original library, which includes the great arrangements from both the civilian and Army/Air Force orchestras. The library features contributions from the world’s greatest arrangers including Jerry Gray, Billy May and Bill Finegan.
Back in the big band era of the 1940’s, any dance band worth its salt had a distinctive signature tune. The theme of the Glenn Miller Orchestra was and
remains, Moonlight Serenade. Interestingly though, Glenn Miller originally wrote the music of the song as an exercise for a music arranging course. He composed it long before he had organised his orchestra and today Moonlight Serenade is considered a standard in the field of popular music. Its popularity as an instrumental continues undiminished.
The Glenn Miller Style
The Orchestra have instituted some changes in the music – changes they think Glenn would have brought about himself were he still alive. However, they stay true to his sound and style – even when adding new songs to the repertoire. The new additions have turned out wonderfully, sounding very much the way Glenn would have insisted if he were still here! Quality music always withstands the test of time, ageing gracefully and mellowing over the years. If anything, the authentic Glenn Miller music is now more popular than ever. The Orchestra are aware they owe it to Glenn to keep it that way.
Peter Cosstick’s Master Stroke
Getting the Glen Miller Orchestra to perform at Rye was a master stroke on the part of Peter Cosstick, it was the jewel in the crown in a marvellous Christmas Festival. The Festival has become part of Rye’s Annual curriculum in the two short years Peter has been the co-ordinator. 2008 will be a hard event to follow.