2017 Glenn Miller Festival Entertainers


The 2017 Glenn Miller Festival is once again featuring

the world-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra with two new shows, and several new bands.

Check out who will be “swinging” into Clarinda!


World-Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra – The most popular and sought after big band in the world today for both concert and swing dance engagements. With its unique jazz sound, the Glenn Miller Orchestra is considered to be one of the greatest bands of all time, with over 1700 compositions. The present Glenn Miller Orchestra was formed in 1956 and has been touring consistently since, playing an average of 300 live dates a year all around the world.

Led by Nick Hilscher, since 2012, the 18-member ensemble continues to play many of the original Miller arrangements both from the civilian band and the AAFB libraries.  Additionally, it also plays some more modern selections arranged and performed in the Miller style and sound.

Nick Hilscher is a first rate singer of the American Songbook. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, he began his professional career in his teens, playing piano and singing in the Atlanta area. His early musical influences were Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller, and Tommy Dorsey.  Nick first joined the Glenn Miller Orchestra as the band’s Male Vocalist in 1998 at the age of 21, taking a hiatus from his performance degree in piano at Samford University.  After returning to school and finishing his degree the following year, Nick returned to the GMO as the band’s male vocalist for another five years.  Now as Music Director, Nick is still honoring the tradition of Glenn Miller with an excellent band that is pleasing audiences everywhere.

The GMO, along with Maria Schafer and the “Moonlight Serenaders,” is scheduled for two performances during the 2017 Glenn Miller Festival; both sure to delight audiences of all ages. Each concert will showcase different songs ranging from Glenn’s “great classics” to songs “from the vault.”  You’re sure to be singing along and tapping your feet as the GMO takes you back to the days of the Big Band Era.

The GMO is scheduled to perform at 7:30 PM on Friday, June 9th in the High School Auditorium and again at 4:30 PM on Saturday, June 10th, also in the High School Auditorium.


John Morgan and His Big Band Orchestra – John and his Orchestra are scheduled to play at the popular Glenn Miller Festival dance on Saturday, June 11, 2017 at 8:00 PM.  This is one dance you don’t want to miss. The John Morgan Orchestra debuted at the Val Air Ballroom in 1985 and has been a well-known name dance band ever since.

The leader, John Morgan, originally from Clinton, Iowa (now a West Des Moines resident), is an accomplished reedman, singer, and arranger. His close association with Don Hoy and Russ Morgan, assure a consummate and completely professional performance.  The band has played in ballrooms in over five states, is a favorite at private parties, and has played for many Governor’s Inaugural celebrations. Come enjoy their smooth big band arrangements where you go home humming the melody and feeling the urge to dance.


Lady Luck Trio – Great Ladies of American Song – Lady Luck is new to this year’s Festival.  They will entertain with two unique shows: Great Ladies of American Song which features hits from some of America’s greatest female vocalists. Their 1940’s Radio Gold is a return to the 1940’s era of swing, be-bop and WWII patriotic melodies.

Lady Luck Trio—Great Ladies of American Song, performance is scheduled for 4:30 PM Friday, June 9, 2017 at the High School Auditorium.

The Lady Luck Trio—1940’s Radio Gold show will be performed at 1:30 PM on Saturday, June 10, 2017 at the High School Auditorium. You can enjoy breakfast with the Lady Luck Trio on Saturday at 7:00 AM, at the Fire Station.

The three women of Lady Luck are no strangers to the stage. With a variety of singing, dancing, and theatrical backgrounds they bring a wonderful combination of talent and entertainment to delight their audiences.


Dr. Pete Madsen and the University of Nebraska Jazz Ensembles – The award-winning UNO Jazz Ensembles will entertain on the town square at 8:00 PM on Friday Evening. They continue to receive acclaim for their outstanding musical performances from internationally recognized jazz artists, clinicians, and adjudicators.  In addition to hosting the annual UNO Great Plains Jazz Festival, the ensemble makes regular appearances at nationally recognized jazz festivals and at state and regional conferences.

UNO Jazz Ensembles and Combos have been selected multiple times by nationally competitive recorded audition processes to perform at premier festivals and conferences including the University of North Texas Jazz Festival, the Notre Dame Jazz Festival, the Midwest International Association for Jazz Education conference, and the North Central National Association for Music Education Conference.  Under the direction of Dr. Pete Madsen UNO Jazz Ensembles have toured Europe four times (2003, 2008, 2013, 2016) and Asia three times (2010, 2012, 2015). The UNO Jazz Ensemble has performed with Nathan East, Randy Brecker, Diane Schuur, the Brubeck Brothers, Eric Marienthal, Jon Faddis, Harry Watters, Ken Watters, Peter Erskine, and Jim Pugh to name only a few.


Mr. Takamasa Numata and the Blue Beginners from Mito Japan – The band is scheduled for three performances during the 2017 Glenn Miller Festival; Friday, June 9th at 1:00 PM in the High School Auditorium, Saturday, June 10th at 10:00 AM, and Sunday, June 11th at 2:00 PM. In 1984, Big Band Director, composer, and music arranger, Mr. Takamasa Numata, took up the post as educator in the mechanics course of Mito Technical High School, Ibarka Prefecture, Japan. He founded the big band, “Blue Beginners” during the same period. He has lead the band over the past 30 years. Mr. Numata is the Vice President of East Japan Headquarters of the Japan Association for Jazz Education (affiliate of the International Association of Jazz Education.) He is also the Chairman of the Ibaraki Big Band Jazz Federation, Ibaraki Coalition of Cultural Groups.

Mito Technical High School has a long history as the central technical high school of Ibaraki Prefecture. This year, 2017, marks the 107th anniversary of their founding. The largest scale technical high school in the Prefecture with an industrialization facility, mechanics course, electronics, course, IT course, engineering and construction courses.

The Blue Beginners is a high school big band with over 33 years history. As school club activities, the band participates in recitals on over 50 stages annually and produces a CD each year, with 10 releases to date. The band has recorded a total of 70 songs. The band’s repertoire covers various genres from Jazz standards by Glenn Miller and Duke Ellington to fusion, pop, Japanese children’s songs, and enka ballads and is held in high regard by a broad range of groups from children to the elderly. At present there are 25 active members; 15 girls and 10 boys.

The Blue Beginners have earned the following awards:

  • Tsukuba Big Band Contest: Prize for best performance
  • Eastern Japan Student Jazz Festival: Prize for best performance, seven years running
  • National Cultural School Jazz Festival, Ibaraki Prefecture representatives


Shades of Blue Jazz Ensemble of the USAF Band of Mid-America

The Shades of Blue is the jazz ensemble of the United States Air Force Band of Mid-America. They have proven themselves to be a crowd favorite at the festival. This group of 18 professional enlisted musicians has a repertoire that ranges from traditional big band jazz, to bebop and swing, to modern jazz.

The band pays frequent tribute to the Air Force’s musical heritage, and has collaborated with actor Wilford Brimley on a highly acclaimed salute to Major Glenn Miller. Whether performing for a head of state, before a capacity crowd in northern Wisconsin, or for our troops at home and abroad, the Shades of Blue reflects the heritage and pride of our great nation and the United States Air Force.


GMBS Big Band – Each year musicians from across the country converge on the Glenn Miller Festival to play in the Glenn Miller Birthplace Society Big Band. You can enjoy their concert on Friday, June 9th, 2017 at 9:30 AM featuring the 2017 Scholarship Winners.


Tickets for these events can be ordered by calling or visiting the Glenn Miller Birthplace Museum, phone number 712-542-2461, or emailing shari@glennmiller.org, or by downloading the ticket order form on our Website under the “Festival” tab.