Rick Gerber knows the Glenn Miller Orchestra must be doing something right as the band prepares for its fifth extensive tour of Australia.
“I like to say, in those five tours, the only places we haven’t played are Darwin and Uluru,” the orchestra’s musical director says with a chuckle from his home in Missouri.
“The tour we’re doing is almost 30 shows over seven or eight weeks and they’re all repeats because we’ve had such good audiences and sold-out shows.”
The Glenn Miller Orchestra will celebrate its 82nd anniversary by bringing back the unforgettable music of the 1940s golden era of swing.
The Australian tour, which will include a concert at the Civic Theatre in Newcastle on Sunday 15 September, is set to highlight the ‘Big Band’ hits; the original Glenn Miller arrangements; music of legends such as Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra; and the romantic World War II melodies made famous by Dame Vera Lynn.
The Glenn Miller arrangements include timeless icons of American culture like Chattanooga Choo-Choo, In the Mood, Pennsylvania 6-5000, and Moonlight Serenade.
The concert will also feature sensational routines by the Broadway Swing Dancers.
For Gerber, his love of Glenn Miller’s music started at an early age.
“I remember asking my mother to play Moonlight Serenade and saying, ‘this band sounds different,’” he recalls.
“She said: ‘that’s the Glenn Miller sound’ and that sparked my interest in arranging.”
It is a passion that has taken Gerber around the globe, including Singapore, Thailand, Peru, and Brazil.
In 2013, a career highlight saw the orchestra perform in front of late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was himself an accomplished musician and composer.
“It was a very special performance; he was of very fragile health, but he was enjoying it immensely,” Gerber says.
“We were treated royally.”
Tickets are still available to the Newcastle concert via Ticketek.
The performance will start at 2pm.
Go to civictheatrenewcastle.com.au/Whats-On/All-Shows/Glenn-Miller-Orchestra for more information or links.