“Glenn Miller Orchestra”, For “Great Waters”, Captivated Wolfeboro, NH, On July 31, 2015.
by Anura Guruge
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Attribution will be enforced with gusto.
Well, well, well. They made a believer out of me, and a few weeks away from my 62nd birthday, I, thanks to the “World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra“, suddenly find myself willing to believe that I might possibly like ‘Big Band’. Wow. That took some doing and that alone is testament to how good, compelling and even mildly titillating they were. Yes, there were ladies older than me going ‘ga ga’ like blushing teenagers over very suave band leader (and Director of Music) Nick Hilscher and I can’t even tell you the words used by one of the photographers present to describe what he thought of the female vocalist, Natalie Angst (and he expressed no angst in what he said). Though I did not get to meet them, and I really did want to, I gather there were close to 25 Word War II veterans who attended — gratis, since this performance was going to be free for any and all Word War II veterans. That alone was neat. WW II ended 70 years ago. So to be a WW II vet you have to be around 88 and older. The last WW II vet I knew personally, my very neat neighbor Milt Cram (who inspired me to buy a few shares of Apple in 2007 (pre-split) for around $3), has now been gone 8 years. Don’t think I know any others.
Growing up in Britain as I did you can’t escape Big Band and in particular Glenn Miller. But Big Band had never done much for me — until last night and the “World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra”. Yes, of course, I know all the timeless hits and like all good Brits tear up each and every time I hear “Bluebirds Over the White Cliffs of Dover” — and as somebody who used the ferries in/out of Dover on quite a regular basis, the White Cliffs are very real and poignant to me. Their rendition of the “Bluebirds” last night was UP THERE was EXQUISITE! Dare I even say it because this might be considered sacrilegious, but I like their rendition even better than Vera Lynn’s classic. I hope I am not going to be getting a letter from the Foreign Office saying that they have withdrawn my cherished British Citizenship for saying that. That could be beyond embarrassing. I would have to seek asylum (in every sense of the word) since that is the ONLY citizenship I have. But, I have to say that. I know that Vera wouldn’t mind. I wonder whether the lovely Natalie has ever heard of Vera?
It was quite the night. Kingswood Art Center was nearly packed. Some 600+ people I gather. And from what I heard they loved it. Right at the end an elderly couple, and they had to be past 70, got up and slowly and softly danced in the aisle. Wow. It was so touching. And I heard that from one of the ushers. How you could feel the audience’s connection with the music and the ‘band’. All very good. Great bunch of guys and Natalie was very sweet. The band members, despite their unmistakable talent — and the fact that they do about 300 shows a year — are very unassuming, carry their own ‘kit’ and set it up (and take it down) without any fuss or requests of assistance. Wow. I was impressed — and we did help out. It was fun.
For the ONLY time in my now 2 years of volunteering for Great Waters I took a book with me, inside my camera bag, because I thought I would end up being bored — and as a stagehand I needed to stay till the end. How wrong I was. Book never came out. The “World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra” had me captivated and if they managed to do that, those that came to see them must have had an absolute TREAT. I wonder how many people knew that it was ‘National Orgasm Day‘! And it was.