Glenn Miller can truly be called “America’s favorite musical patriot.” Did you know that from 1939 -1942, his band had 70 top ten hits? No other artist, to our knowledge, has had more records in the top ten at one time than Glenn Miller.
Glenn was also the first person to receive a Gold Record, for his smash hit Chattanooga Choo-Choo. In 1940 and 1941 the Glenn Miller Orchestra was voted the Number One band in the country. By 1942, the band was making $15,000 - $20,000 per week! Yet, at the height of his popularity, Glenn Miller gave up a lucrative recording and touring career to enlist in the United States Army during World War II. He felt an obligation to do all he could for the war effort, and that meant joining the service. Assigned to the Army Air Forces, Glenn modernized the band program, and the music of his Army Air Force Band boosted the morale of the troops. The Band’s contributions to the war effort were recognized by all who heard them, from generals to the G.I. in the fox hole. Glenn ultimately gave his all for the war effort. He disappeared over the English Channel on December 15, 1944 while flying to Paris, France to make arrangements for a live Christmas Day event for the troops.
You can learn more about this fascinating, inspiring, and ultimately tragic story at the 40th Annual Glenn Miller Festival in Clarinda, Iowa from June 11th – 14th. The Festival celebrates the music and life of Glenn Miller, one of Iowa’s most famous sons. During the Festival you can explore the rich history of Glenn Miller’s Army Air Force Band.
The Glenn Miller Birthplace Museum will open a new special exhibit during the Festival called, Next To a Letter From Home. Vivid photographs, descriptive text, and compelling words from band members and soldiers let you explore the history, impact, and legacy of Glenn Miller’s Army Air Force Band.
The exhibit highlights the many accomplishments of Major Glenn Miller, as a band-builder, a modernizer of military music, and morale-booster. In addition, the fascinating story of the Band’s work in the service is told, from recruiting and fundraising efforts in the U.S. to radio broadcasts and live concerts, to thousands of troops in Europe, even after the disappearance of their famous leader. A look at the major impact the Band had on troop morale as well the legacy of their military music, round out the exhibit.
Enjoy a stimulating presentation by author and historian Dennis Spragg on Saturday, June 13th. Mr. Spragg, of the Glenn Miller Archives in Boulder Colorado, will explore the disappearance of Glenn Miller over the English Channel including many of the theories of how Glenn disappeared. Afterward, Dennis will be available to sign copies of his new book on the subject, Resolved: The Disappearance of Glenn Miller.
Don’t forget to stroll the travelling exhibits by the Glenn Miller Archives and the Glenn Miller Birthplace Museum while you attend the Festival. You’ll see photographs, letters, personal items of Glenn and more. And, of course, you can “hear the history” of Glenn’s Army Air Force Band by attending one of our spectacular concerts we have lined up for you. Visit glennmiller.org or clarinda.org to learn more.