The Mazatzal Hotel & Casino welcomes the world famous Glenn Miller Orchestra Saturday, March 2.

Glenn Miller and His Orchestra made a big impact right before and during the war. And it had more hit records in one year than anybody in the history of the recording industry. In fact, its recording of Chattanooga Choo-Choo earned the first Gold Record ever awarded to a performing artist.

Now, more than 60 years since the public first embraced the successful Miller Sound, both the legend and the music live on. The Glenn Miller Orchestra is the most sought after big band in the world today for both concert and dance engagements. Still considered the greatest band of all time, its unique sound is loved by almost anybody that cares for dance music.

The Miller Estate formed the present Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1956 following strong popular demand aroused as a result of the successful motion picture, an immense box office smash – “The Glenn Miller Story,” starring James Stewart and June Allyson. The band has been touring consistently since, playing an average of 300 live dates a year around the globe to millions of fans.

It is now more than 75 years since Glenn Miller first succeeded with the orchestra, which still bears his name until this day. Except for a few years following his disappearance, Glenn’s orchestra and music have been heard around the world continuously since 1938.

Tickets are $20 per person, purchased in advance, and $25 day of event. Tickets are available online at mazatzalcasino.com or at the cashier cage. Guests must be 21 or older to attend.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the show starts at 6 p.m.

About the legendary Big Band

The first Glenn Miller Orchestra did not make it at all. It was a total and absolute economic failure. But Glenn knew what he wanted, held to that dedication and relentlessly worked to succeed. He launched his second band – the one that lives on today – in March of 1938. The Glenn Miller Orchestra has been a “hit” ever since.

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 pavilions, built and sustained the momentum of popularity.

Glenn 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 movie “The Glenn Miller Story” 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 Ray 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 Glenn Miller Orchestra is a fully self-contained group consisting of the music director, five saxophone players, four trumpeters, four trombonists, and three rhythm musicians (piano, bass and drums). Also, there are two vocalists, one male and one female, who perform individually and as part of The Moonlight Serenaders® vocal group.

Contact the reporter at tmcquerrey@payson.com

Contact the reporter 

tmcquerrey@payson.com

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