Glenn Miller Orchestra rocks the HPAC

Nick Hilscher, music director and vocalist of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, performs “At Last” at the Haugh Performing Arts Center. (Dillon Cooper/Citrus College Clarion)

By Dillon Cooper | Managing Editor

Anne Marie Miranda | Staff Writer

The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra performed in the Haugh Performing Arts Center on March 9.

The Glenn Miller Orchestra began in 1935, when Glenn Miller decided to record using six horns, a strong quartet and a rhythm section.

The orchestra’s popularity boomed in 1939 when they earned 17 top ten hits, those of which include “Stairway to the Stars” and “Moon Love.”

They would top that feat in 1940 when they had 31 top ten hits.  Including “In the Mood” and “Tuxedo Junction,” which were both inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

The 17-member band, including the band director/vocalist Nick Hilscher, perform 48 weeks out of the year and carry a stack of music compositions the size of an encyclopedia.

Hilscher, who is the ninth bandleader of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, sang and executed classics such as “At Last”, and “Barkley Square” to a tee.

Hilscher’s performance exuded energy and confidence, not to mention brilliance.  He performed at the highest standard the entire time he was on stage.

The band opened with “Moonlight Serenade” and included favorites such as “Little Brown Jug,” “A String of Pearls,” “Tuxedo Junction,”  “Pennsylvania 6-5000,” and “St. Louis Blues March.”

The Moonlight Serenaders, the modern version of The Modern Heirs, consist of trombone player Joseph Zeigentus, vocalist Natalie Angst, 19, and saxophone players Kevin Sheehan and Ian O’Beirne collaborated on crowd pleaser “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”

Angst and Hilscher put on a scintillating performance. Their vocals and charisma together filled the HPAC with energy.

Sounds of the saxophones, trumpets, trombones, base, drums and piano… revived the 30s-40s sound of Glenn Miller.

The first act ended with a salute to the veterans in the audience. Asked to stand up and be acknowledged they were greeted with applause. Patriotism rang around the HPAC as the orchestra began playing “American Patrol.”

Instrumental solos were all of the highest quality.  Each musician displayed their talents, stimulating the audience with their stirring medleys and powerful harmonies.

The show closed with a standing ovation, and the band responded with an encore “Stardust.”

The longevity of this 77-year-old band is undeniable. The talent and discipline they devote to practice is incredibly apparent. This dedication has made them the success they continue to be.

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In case you missed them at Citrus College, the next scheduled concert for the band is in Red Bluff, Calif. on March 21 at 7p.m.


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