Glenn Miller Returns!

The famed king of big band swing is back at Yale by popular demand.

The famed king of big band swing is back at Yale by popular demand.

On February 11, the Yale University Concert Band will raise the spirit of Glenn Miller and the 418th Army Air Forces Band as they lived and played in New Haven more than a half century ago.

A distillation of the historic Glenn Miller radio shows that were rehearsed and broadcast live from New Haven in 1943, the retrospective concert –originally performed at Woolsey Hall in 1994 – strikes a particularly poignant note with a population author Tom Brokaw describes as “the greatest generation.”

Originally conceived by Yale Bands director Thomas Duffy as a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of D-Day, the program recreates in eerie detail the “I Sustain the Wings” concerts Glenn Miller’s Army Air Corps Technical Training Command Band performed at Woolsey Hall in New Haven from May 1943 to June 1944.

The first concert was so successful that Duffy and some 70 Yale undergraduates took the show “on the road,” playing in significant D-Day locations in France and England during the summer of ‘94. The show was also reenacted at Woolsey Hall in ‘95.

Yale students, each assuming the name of an actual band member and dressed in Army Surplus uniforms from the WWII era, dish up nostalgia with such enduring favorites as “In the Mood,” “St. Louis Blues March” and “Moonlight Serenade.” A backdrop of the same American flag that hung in Woolsey in ‘43, props that authentically return Woolsey’s stage to its 1943 ambience, and the taped announcement of Miller’s 1944 disappearance over the English Channel, help recreate the mood of America’s “finest hour.”

Duffy himself plays the part of the renowned trombonist and big band maestro Miller, down to the wire rimmed glasses and Miller’s insignia on his GI jacket.

The Glenn Miller performance will be featured in the second half of the program on February 11. The first half will be devoted to several inspiring compositions related to some of history’s other struggles for freedom. These include a medley of the anthems of the Armed Forces, “In Memoriam, Dresden,” and the profoundly stirring “Gnomon”, written by Thomas Duffy to commemorate the Vietnam War Memorial in Frankfort, Kentucky.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. at Woolsey Hall on Friday, February 11. Tickets, which range in price from $12 to $25, may be purchased in advance, or if any remain, at the door the night of the show. For more information or to purchase tickets call 203-432-4113.


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Dorie Baker:, 203-432-1345