West Ranch High to host world famous Glenn Miller Orchestra

Nick Hilscher, lead of the Glenn Mill Orchestra, sings with the band as they play at West Ranch High School on Monday night. Katharine Lotze/Signal.
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The West Ranch High School jazz ensemble is scheduled to host the Glenn Miller Orchestra for a one-night concert on Tuesday, March 10, to help fundraise for the school’s music program. The night will begin with an opening performance from the West Ranch jazz band and then the orchestra will perform some of Miller’s famous tunes.

“It’s fun being able to play music from the era and it’s really cool experience for the students to be on the same stage of these musicians and then hand the show off to them,” said Brian Leff, director of jazz studies at West Ranch High.

This will be the fifth time the orchestra, which tours in Southern California every other year, will perform at West Ranch since they began the partnership years ago when Leff got an email from their agent.

“This was the popular music of the ’40s and ’50s, so it’s great to see the senior community of Santa Clarita come out and relive the music of their childhood,” said Leff. “It’s also really cool for our music students to see a professional big band perform because there aren’t a lot of professional bands like that on the road anymore.”

Leff described a Glenn Miller Orchestra concert as a trip through time, and said it’s unlike much of the modern jazz music heard today. Miller was a composer and band leader during the big band and swing era of American music, active in the late ’30s and early ’40s. According to Leff, Miller is often regarded as the iconic figure of the big band sound, producing multiple hits and gaining massive popularity.

Part of what makes a Glenn Miller Orchestra performance unique, according to Leff, is that in a musical landscape where much of even live performances is created artificially or electronically by a small number of people, the orchestra performance is an all-acoustic show of 17 professional performers. 

“The orchestra still has that authentic sound and they’re still using the same charts they were using decades ago,” Leff said. “Glenn Miller was the soundtrack of the ’40s. Even if you don’t recognize Glenn Miller’s name, if you play ‘In the Mood,’ anyone would recognize that song. Even if you’re not familiar with jazz, it’s still a very fun, live show.”

The Glenn Miller Orchestra is scheduled to perform at the West Ranch High School theater on Tuesday, March 10. The West Ranch jazz ensemble is set to begin performing at 6:30 p.m. and the orchestra is set to take the stage at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $25 for students, seniors and the military, and are $30 for general audiences. Premium seating is available for $40. To purchase tickets or for more information visit westranchmusic.com.

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