The 42nd Annual Glenn Miller Festival – June 8th – 11, 2017

On the second weekend in June, visitors and entertainers from around the world will converge in Clarinda, Iowa, the Birthplace of Glenn Miller, to celebrate the music and memory of the great American bandleader, trombonist, composer and arranger. Hear exciting bands from around the world topped off by the World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra. Enjoy the Glenn Miller Birthplace Museum and the Birthplace Home; stage shows; picnics; dances; historical displays; plus the fellowship of hundreds of Miller fans from around the world. The majority of concerts and programs take place at the Clarinda High School. Please note location for each program. Lunch will be available for purchase at the high school on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Thursday, June 8th

Glenn Miller Music Scholarship Competition
The festival begins with our 41st annual Glenn Miller Music Scholarship competition. High school seniors and college freshmen from across the country compete in vocalist and instrumental competition for a chance to win scholarships. In all, the Glenn Miller Birthplace Society awards $12,000 in scholarships, annually. It is not the purpose of this competition to select Glenn Miller look-alikes or sound-alikes, nor is it limited to pop music performance. Rather, in honoring Glenn, we wish to seek out and assist promising young talents from any field of applied music who may be musical leaders of tomorrow. The scholarship competition runs from 8:15 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Vendor Fair
Visit the town square and “shop ’til you drop” at the vendor fair. The vendor fair, organized by the Clarinda Chamber of Commerce, features unique crafts, products, food, and wine. While you’re there, make sure to check out the wonderful stores and restaurants we have downtown. From clothes to flowers to one-of-a-kind gifts, there is something for everyone. The vendor fair hours are 11:00 am – 7:00 pm.

Kick-off Picnic
Join us at the high school commons from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. for the kick-off picnic. Weinrich’s BBQ is serving tasty Iowa barbecue along with sides, a drink, and a dessert. It’s a great way to start the festival. Tickets must be purchased in advance (by 10 AM Thursday).

Concert on the Square
Join us on our historic town square after the picnic to enjoy a free concert by  Dr. Pete Madsen and the University of Nebraska Jazz Ensemble. The award-winning UNO Jazz Ensembles 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. The concert begins at 8:00 p.m. and is held on the southwest corner of the square. The concert will be held at the high school gym if the event of inclement weather.

Friday, June 9th

Concerts, Displays, Presentations and More!
Friday starts with a panel discussion at 8:00 a.m. Join historians and experts in a discussion of all things Glenn Miller and his Orchestra. Ever have a question about Glenn Miller and you just can’t find the answer? Bring it along and ask the experts.

Join us for concerts all day long starting with the Glenn Miller Birthplace Society Big Band. Musicians from across the country converge on Clarinda to recreate the magic of Glenn’s Chesterfield Radio Show. Relive the excitement of the live radio broadcast and enjoy great Miller tunes. We even recreate the commercials!  A special feature of this concert is the performance of our vocalist and instrumental winners from the Glenn Miller Scholarship.

In addition to the Glenn Miller Birthplace Society Big Band, the day will include performances of the Lady Luck Trio – “Great Ladies of American Song.” These ladies have been performing together for over a decade, and their dynamic stage presence and variety of styles have entertained crowds throughout the country and internationally. “Lady Luck” has performed in a variety of venues and productions including 1940’s revues as the Andrews Sisters,  a hilarious romp through the old west as The Sugar Baby Bar Belles, The Flapper Girls Follies from “When America Sings”, the Dolly Doo-Wops of the fifties, the Great Ladies of Country Music, The Sun Valley Carolers in Sun Valley Idaho, and many, many more. Just recently “Lady Luck”  received great reviews for their performances at the Utah State Fair Entertainment Association, the Rocky Mountain Fair Association, the Lincoln County Fair (Star Valley WY), the Bear Lake County Fair (Montpelier ID), the Park County fair (Powell WY), Bannock County fair (Downey ID), opening act for Afton Motocross event…just to name a few! 

The Blue Beginners from Mito Japan will perform for the first time ever at the Glenn Miller Festival.  The Blue Beginners are a high school band with over 33 years history. As school club activities, the band participates in recitals on over 50 stages annual and produces a CD each year, with 10 releases to date. The band’s repertoire covers various genres from Jazz standards b Glenn Miller and Duke Ellington to fusion, pop, Japanese children’s songs and enka ballads.

The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, swings in Clarinda on June 9th for their first of two concerts. The Glenn Miller Orchestra is directed by Nick Hilscher and is a fully self-contained group consisting of the music director, five saxophone players, four trumpeters, four trombonists, and three rhythm musicians (piano, bass and drums). The orchestra has performed in all 50 United States, as well as throughout Europe, Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Guam, the Philippines, South and Central America. The Glenn Miller Orchestra has always been very musical, disciplined, and visually entertaining, and it has its own distinctive “sound.” That sound is created by the clarinet holding the melodic line, doubled or coupled with the tenor sax playing the same notes; and the harmonies produced by three other saxophones, while growling trombones and wailing trumpets add their oo-ahs

In between the concerts there is still plenty to do. We will have displays at the high school that explore the life and music of Glenn Miller. Don’t forget to shop our merchandise table and take home your Glenn Miller Festival gear.

Saturday, June 10th

We’re in the swing of things
Saturday is another full-on day of music, entertainment, presentations and more. From the Big Band Breakfast to a Moonlight Serenade dance, we have you covered at the Glenn Miller Festival.

Big Band Breakfast
What better way to start the day than with breakfast and big band music. Join us from 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. at the fire station for the Big Band Breakfast. The Lions Club will serve up a delicious breakfast including pancakes, sausages, coffee, juice, and more while the Lady Luck Trio “Great Ladies of American Song” perform for you with Big Band hits. Cost is $10 and advance ticket purchases are preferred.

The Blue Beginners from Mito Japan will perform at the High School Auditorium at 10:00 am.

The Lady Luck Trio – 1940’s Radio Show will perform at the High School Auditorium at 1:30 pm.

The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra will perform at the High School Auditorium at 4:30 PM.

Dance The Night Away
Join the John Morgan Big Band Orchestra from 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. for Moonlight Serenade. Cost is $22 for adults and $10 for students. John Morgan, saxophone, received his Bachelor of Music  Education and Master’s degrees from Drake University. He  has studied with Nathen Jones (Michigan/Drake), Paul Brodie  in Ontario and Frederick Hemke of Northwestern University.  He is an active performer and recitalist throughout Iowa,  Iowa All-State clinician and adjudicator, free lance studio musician, orchestrator, arranger and autographic. He is a  former faculty member of Graceland University and  Southwestern Community College. While studying at  university he appeared with the Symphony as a featured  soloist by winning the Drake Young Artist and Soloist  Competitions. The Des Moines Symphony Orchestra has  featured him on saxophone repertoire from 1997 to the  present. Mr. Morgan also toured nationally with the Russ Morgan Orchestra and through that affiliation with Columbia Artists Tours. He is also a member of the Des Moines Big Band.

Glenn Miller – “Declassified”
Join Dennis Spragg, Glenn Miller Archives, for a discussion on his new book, “Glenn Miller Declassified.”

Sunday, June 11th

We round out the festival with an opportunity for our guests to enjoy breakfast one any of our fine restaurants, attend a church service of your choice, and visit any of our three museums; the Glenn Miller Birthplace Museum, the Nodaway Valley Historical Museum, and the Clarinda Carnegie Art Museum.

The Blue Beginners will perform a final concert before flying back to Japan at 1:00 PM in the High School Auditorium. 

The Shades of Blue USAF Jazz Band will play on the town square (weather permitting or move to HS Gym) at 3:00 PM. This band is a festival favorite you don’t want to miss. This is a free concert.

Glenn Miller Birthplace Museum, and the Nodaway Valley Museum

The Glenn Miller Birthplace Museum will be open throughout the festival for touring. We will have extended hours  10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We will be open from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. Regular admission prices apply.

The Nodaway Valley Museum will be open throughout the festival. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s hours are 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm