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Experience the "Miller Sound" at the Glenn Miller Festival
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Experience the "Miller Sound" at the Glenn Miller Festival

“A band ought to have sound all of its own. It ought to have personality.”-Glenn Miller

Have you ever heard a big band song come on the radio, and you instantly knew it was a Glenn Miller tune? If so, Glenn Miller would be very happy. Glenn wanted to create a sound that was uniquely his own so that when people heard his songs on the radio they easily knew it was the Glenn Miller Orchestra. This unique playing style became known at the “Miller Sound,” and made Glenn Miller and his orchestra the most popular band in the early 1940's.

The “Miller Sound” was partly born out of failure.  After Glenn’s first orchestra failed in 1937, he determined to create his own sound on his second attempt as a band leader. Glenn pioneered a new style that included a clarinet playing lead along with saxophones playing harmony. It made the “Miller Sound” and helped to propel the Glenn Miller Orchestra to stardom!

You can hear the “Miller Sound” in person when you attend the 40th Annual Glenn Miller Festival in Clarinda. Glenn’s special style will be featured by many of the bands attending this year’s festival including the Osaka Rakers Jazz Orchestra and the World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra.

The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra still tours and plays Glenn’s pioneering music fifty weeks out of the year. The present GMO was formed in 1956 and has been touring consistently since, playing an average of 300 live dates a year, all around the world. Today, the 18-member ensemble continues to play many of the original Miller arrangements both from the civilian band and the Army Air Force Band libraries.  Additionally, it also plays some more modern selections arranged and performed in the Miller style and sound. Nick Hilscher and The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra will play two different concerts in Clarinda this year for the 40th Annual Festival. 

New to the festival (but not to the “Miller Sound”) is the Osaka Rakers Jazz Orchestra from Osaka, Japan. Established in 1962, the Osaka Rakers Jazz Orchestra has actively performed in the jazz scene in Japan for over fifty years. Originally formed as a youth music program, the Orchestra is now comprised mainly of working adults.

The 28-member orchestra (8 saxophones, 5 trumpets, 6 trombones, and 9 rhythm), is significantly influenced by Glen Miller Orchestra and the “Miller Sound.” Based out of their own performance studio in Osaka, Japan, ORJO plays regularly in Japan at varied venues including theatre concerts, local government functions, and corporate events.

These are just two of the bands that will celebrate the pioneering work of Glenn Miller at the 40th Annual Glenn Miller Festival in Clarinda, Iowa. We hope you get “In the Mood” to Swing down and see us June 11th – 14th. You won’t be disappointed!




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  1. Travel Iowa Team
    Travel Iowa Team
    We're looking forward to this! We shared your great info on Pinterest
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