Big band performs swing-era music

NANAIMO - The Glenn Miller Orchestra performs two shows in Nanaimo at the Port Theatre March 21 and 22.

The Glenn Miller Orchestra performs two shows

The Glenn Miller Orchestra performs two shows

Big band music soared in popularity during the swing era.

Songs like Moonlight Serenade, composed by Glenn Miller, and Chattanooga Choo Choo, written by Mark Gordon and Harry Warren, and recorded by The Glenn Miller Orchestra became hits in the 1930s and ’40s.

Miller had a dream of creating a big band. His first attempt failed, but he didn’t let that stop him and in 1938 he created The Glenn Miller Orchestra and soon had a string of hit records in his wake.

With the outbreak of the Second World War, the group disbanded, but took on another form when Miller created the Glenn Miller Army Force Band.

It was in 1944 that Miller died. He took off in a single engine plane to travel to France from England for a show and disappeared over the English Channel. A year later he was declared dead.

His legacy lived on despite his death. In 1954 his story was told in the movie The Glenn Miller Story, featuring Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson. And two years later the band’s drummer, Ray McKinley reformed the orchestra and throughout the years musicians have been keeping the legacy alive.

The modern reincarnation of the Glenn Miller Orchestra performs two shows at the Nanaimo Port Theatre, Monday (March 21) and Tuesday (March 22) at 7:30 p.m.

The band has 18 members and is led today by Nick Hilscher, music director and vocalist.

The shows are presented by the Vancouver Island Symphony and are a signature event for Festival Nanaimo. Tickets range in price from $38-$67.50 depending on seating locations or $18 for students. For tickets call 250-754-8550 or

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