Big band keeps Miller magic alive in Crawley

The Glenn Miller Orchestra
The Glenn Miller Orchestra

The world’s greatest big band swings into Crawley on Sunday, June 12.

The Glenn Miller Orchestra, led by Ray McVay with guest stars the Swing Time Jivers, will perform at The Hawth at 3pm.

Back in the late 1930s Glenn Miller and his orchestra packed the dance halls in the United States. They enjoyed a string of hits like ‘In the Mood’ and ‘Tuxedo Junction’, as well as ‘Moonlight Serenade’, ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’ and ‘Pennsylvania 65000’.

World War II brought the Miller magic to UK.

In the US, at the outbreak of war, Miller had formed a large marching band that was to be the core of a network of service orchestras. He was then given permission to form his 50-piece Army Air Force Band and take it to England in the summer of 1944. The band’s musical style and showmanship immediately endeared them to UK audiences, playing some 80-odd concerts around the country and performing some 40 radio broadcasts – all during the remainder of the year.

On December 15, 1944, Glenn boarded a single engine C-64 Norseman aircraft to travel to Paris where he was to make arrangements for a Christmas broadcast.

Tragically, the plane never reached France and was never found.

As far as UK music-lovers were concerned, a special relationship had been forged between them and Glenn Miller and his music – a bond that continues to this day.

The current UK band was put together in 1988 by legendary musical entertainer Ray McVay in conjunction with Glenn Miller Productions in New York.

Since then, over the past quarter of a century, this great orchestra has built itself into something of an institution as it tours venues in the country, as well as satisfying a demand for Miller’s music in Europe, Asia and South America.

The orchestra consists of the leader, five saxophones, four trumpets, four trombones and three rhythm plus a male and female vocalist. The show features the voices of Colin Anthony and Catherine Sykes, as well as the harmonies of the Moonlight Serenaders.

Tickets cost £21 (discounts £19.50) and can be purchased from The Hawth box office on 01293 553636 or at

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