The stars have aligned to bring two of the great surviving big bands to the St. Louis area. It will be a rare treat to experience the sounds of both the Jimmy Dorsey and the Glenn Miller Orchestras within three weeks of each other this September and October. It is ironic that Glenn Miller at one time recorded music with the Dorsey Brothers, so for fans of big band music, this promises to be an exciting time!
The first big band to arrive in the St. Louis area is the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, which will appear at the Anne Whitney Olin Theatre in nearby Godfrey, IL. on Sunday, September 12, 2010 at 3 p.m. Led by Bill Tole and Nancy Knorr, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra continues the Dorsey Brother legacy by bringing the sounds of the big band era to the stage once again. The Jimmy Dorsey band rose to stardome during the 1940s, and continued to hold great influence in the music industry into the 1950s. In 1953, Jimmy joined his musical brother, Tommy Dorsey, to form a combined musical group until Tommy’s death in 1956. Sadly, Jimmy Dorsey himself died in 1957, but his namesake band has lived on, and will delight those in attendance on this current tour.
The Glenn Miller Orchestra will perform at the Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri - St. Louis for two shows on October 2, 2010 (2 p.m. and 8 p.m.). Miller played and recorded with Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, and Benny Goodman, among others. In 1937, Glenn Miller stepped out to form his own band. On October 7, 1942, Glenn Miller reported for induction into the Army and was immediately assigned to the Army Specialist Corps. He ultimately organized the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band. In the Fall of 1944, the band was scheduled to be sent on a six-week tour of Europe and would be stationed in Paris during that time. Miller decided to go ahead, in order to make the proper arrangements for the group's arrival. And so, on December 15th, Glenn Miller boarded a transport plane to Paris, never to be seen again. Since then, the namesake band has lived on, inspiring local big band leaders, such as Granite City, Illinois’ Stan Fornaszewski, to continue dedication concerts throughout the hot midwestern summers.
Make your plans now to attend both the Jimmy Dorsey and Glenn Miller Orchestras when they come to the St. Louis area, and carry on the big band tradition for another generation.
(Portions of this article were obtained from the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Touhill PAC and the Alton Visitors Bureau).