Glenn Miller strongly persuaded jazz music during the 1940’s ushering in the Big Band Era. His musical influence lives on today through compositions such as Community Swing, Doin’ the Jive, Moonlight Serenade and a host of other titles. Residents of Clarinda, Iowa are proud of the talents of this predecessor. Guided tours showcasing the birthplace of Glenn Miller, a museum and an inspirational film are offered by the local preservation society. All three attractions are officially endorsed by the Glenn Miller estate.
- Birthplace of Glenn Miller: Visitors may take a guided tour through the birthplace of Glenn Miller by knowledgeable staff, while visiting the museum. His birthplace is located on the same grounds as the museum.
- Film: The film unravels the history of Glenn Miller’s rise to fame from humble beginnings in a small rural Southwestern Iowa town. He earned money from milking cows to purchase his first trombone. He eventually studied under Dr. Joseph Schillinger in New York City. His first big break came with Ben Pollack’s group. Miller went on to accompany Bing Crosby and Judy Garland. He also played in the pit band for two Broadway shows. In the mid 1930’s he performed and composed with the Dorsey Brothers. Miller did not form his first band until 1937. He developed a unique sound, which brought him much success during the following years. Miller volunteered for the army in 1942. He often performed for the troops. In 1944, the plane he was on came up missing and was never located.
- Museum: The 3,000 sq. ft. museum is divided into several sections to relate the story of Glenn Miller’s rise to fame and service during World War II. There is always something new to see at the museum, even for return visitors due to the rotating exhibits. His trombone, a letter from home, military uniform, photographs and other artifacts recounting the story of his life are on display for visitors to view.
- Festival: A festival has been held in his honor for over 40 years. The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra entertains visitors along with other bands from around the world. Picnics, dances and historical displays keep the music and memory of Alton Glenn Miller alive in the hearts of fans. Information concerning the 2016 festival is available on the website.
(Photo is courtesy of Day 3 Jazz and Big Band downloaded by Operation Janet on Flickr’s Creative Commons.)