Flashback Friday: The Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Riverfront, Newport (May 2010)

This week’s Flashback Friday travels back 10 years to the Glenn Miller Orchestra’s appearance at Newport’s Riverfront Theatre in May 2010.

Andy Howells was there to take a non-stop music trip of the war-time bandleaders back catalogue performed by the present-day Glenn Miller Orchestra conducted by bandleader Ray McVay.

It is apt that on the week of the 65th anniversary of VE day the UK version of the Glenn Miller Orchestra played two live concerts at Newport Riverfront. I attended the second concert on Saturday evening in which the orchestra under the direction of musical director, Ray McVay played to a packed house of Glenn Miller fans.

The 16 strong orchestra maintains a line-up on stage originally devised by Miller himself, consisting of director, five saxophones, four trumpets, four trombones and three rhythm plus a male and female vocalist.  The singers performed both individually and as part of The Moonlight Serenaders vocal group, The Uptown Hall Gang – an outstanding Dixieland group drawn from members of the orchestra.

The orchestra, dressed in smart red blazer and bow tie for the first half, American air force uniform for the second, played many Miller classics including Flying Home, At Last, Tuxedo Junction (in which members of the orchestra walked freely amongst the audience as they played – much to our delight) Chattanooga Choo Choo and Pennsylvania 6-5000, with great emphasis on the ‘Oh!’ on the numbers climax.

There were also tributes to other artists including, quite rightly, Dame Vera Lynn in which vocalist Jan Messeder, performed White Cliffs of Dover and We’ll Meet Again. Colin Anthony also delivered some great vocals in Sinatra-style including Fly Me to The Moon and A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.

Other highlights included Lead alto, Peter Hughes (distinguishable in his small trousers) performing My Funny Valentine and 2nd alto, Andy Potts providing a magnificent solo on You Made Me Love You.

Moonlight Serenade, Little Brown Jug, String Of Pearls and In The Mood also delighted the audience, showing that nearly 70 years on from his tragically early death, you still can’t beat the musical magical melodies of the Glenn Miller sound!

  • Flashback Friday is written and compiled by Andy Howells

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