Glenn Miller Orchestra returns to the Egyptian

Published: Thursday, May 2, 2013 5:30 a.m.CDT

The big band sound from the 1940s returns to the Egyptian Theatre as the Glenn Miller Orchestra takes to the stage at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The first Glenn Miller Orchestra was formed in 1937 and failed financially. Glenn Miller launched his second band in March 1938 and it became a sensation, with multiple hits and huge box office sales. In 1941, the Glenn Miller Orchestra had more hit records in one year, including “A String of Pearls,” than anybody in the history of the recording industry at that time. In addition, Glenn Miller’s “Chattanooga Choo Choo” received the first Gold Record ever to be awarded, with more than 1 million copies sold.

In 1942, during World War II, Miller volunteered for the Army and disbanded his musical organization. On Dec. 15, 1944, now Major Miller took off in a single engine plane from England – against his better judgment – to precede his band to France and was never seen again. The army officially declared him dead one year later.

Based on popular demand, the Miller Estate authorized the formation of the present Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1956.

Nick Hilscher is the current music director and male vocalist for the orchestra; Eileen Burns is the featured female vocalist. The Glenn Miller Orchestra is a fully self-contained group consisting of the music director, two vocalists, five saxophone players, four trumpeters, four trombonists and three rhythm musicians. As the vocalists, Hilscher and Burns perform individually and as part of The Moonlight Serenaders vocal group.

Today the Glenn Miller Orchestra travels more than 100,000 miles each year, playing nearly 300 dates and entertaining more than 500,000 people annually.

Premium reserved seat tickets cost $32 for adults and $27 for seniors and students. Regular reserved seat tickets cost $25 for adults and $20 for seniors and students. Tickets are available by phone at 815-758-1225 or online at www.egyptiantheatre.org.

The theater is located at 135 N. Second St., DeKalb.

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