Wartime Entertainment Celebrated In Sunday Spectacular

The Glenn Miller Orchestra - June 11

They were the musicians whose tunes and songs helped define the wartime generation.

And now the big hits from the dance halls of the Thirties and Forties on both sides of the Atlantic are being celebrated as The Glenn Miller Orchestra comes to Norwich Theatre Royal on June 11.

The legendary band-leader and his magicians packed out the US dance-halls and clubs with big hits like In The Mood, Tuxedo Junction, Moonlight Serenade and Chattanooga Choo Choo.

World War Two brought the GI’s over to this country and with them came the massive tunes by the likes of Glenn Miller. By 1944, the band-leader and his musicians were playing 40-date tours, many of them at US air-bases around East Anglia, and also making dozens of radio appearances.

On December 15, 1944, Glenn boarded a single engine C-64 Norseman aircraft to travel to Paris, France where he was to make arrangements for a Christmas broadcast. Tragically, the plane never reached France and was never found.

But, despite the tragic events, the UK’s bond with the music of Mr Miller remained strong and remains so to the present day.


That musical legacy has been bolstered by The Glenn Miller Orchestra. It was formed in 1988 by the musical entertainer Ray McVay who is best known as the musical director for the original Come Dancing series.

McVay approached the offices of the Glenn Miller estate asking to set up an official orchestra to honour the musician.

Since then, it has built a strong reputation touring all over the UK as well as Europe, Asia and South America.

It maintains the original line-up of five saxophones, four trumpets, four trombones and three rhythm, plus a male and female vocalist.

And it boasts a library of more than 200 scores which include terrific arrangements from both the civilian and Army Air Force orchestras.

The concert at Norwich Theatre Royal will also feature songs made famous by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Louis Armstrong, as well as paying tribute to other well-known bandleaders from the era like Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman.

The show also features the Swing Time Jivers, a newly-formed jazz dance company which specialises in styles from the 1920s to 1960s including the Charleston, swing and lindy hop.

Also gracing the stage are The Polkadot Dolls, a vocal harmony trio who pay tribute to The Andrews Sisters and also pride themselves on their love of the lindy hop.

John Bultitude, of Norwich Theatre Royal, said: “Glenn Miller’s music did not just define a generation. It has remained incredibly popular ever since. This will be a great chance to enjoy some iconic music and some authentic wartime entertainment.”

The Glenn Miller Orchestra perform here on 11 June, and tickets are available now.