Moonlight Serenade. Stardust. Summertime. Taking a Chance on Love.
Each of these big band songs conjures a different mood, a different set of memories. They hearken back to the World War II era of jazz and swing dance. Although decades have passed since then, the popularity of big band music persists, and is kept alive in part by the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
The orchestra will be coming to Newton on Saturday, July 20, for two shows at the Fox Theatre, one at 4 p.m. and one at 7:30 p.m.
"I'd especially recommend the concert to anyone who grew up listening to this music," said Joel Linscheid, a Newton High School/Bethel College graduate who has toured with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. "It's really a step back into a past generation. Music director Nick Hilscher has made sure that the band stays true to the music and the style of the era."
"To bring them here to Newton is a big deal," added Fox board of directors member Barb Burns.
Linscheid graduated from Newton High School in 2004 and from Bethel College in 2009, majoring in music. He received a master of music degree in jazz performance and pedagogy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2011. He joined the Glenn Miller Orchestra in February 2012 and toured with them until February 2013, playing tenor saxophone, clarinet and flute.
Burns said that local connection to the Glenn Miller Orchestra has made her even more excited about the concert, especially since Linscheid is a former student of hers. The band will perform many songs from the Miller songbook, as well as some from the repertoire of Frank Sinatra.
Linscheid said he enjoyed his experience touring with the band. He traveled throughout the United States and also spent a month in Quebec and a month in Japan. The group recorded a new album in January, which will be available for purchase at the concert.
"Professionally, it was a great opportunity to play with a great group of musicians on a nightly basis," Linscheid said. "I met and played with many fantastic musicians and got a sense of what it's like to be a touring musician."
Burns said the music performed at the concert is timeless, and she thinks it will be enjoyed by both people who remember the era and those who are newly discovering the music. She said the concert also will be a chance for the Fox to show off its newly rebuilt stage, new theater drapes and new lighting.
She is excited about how the community has banded together to help the Fox with its revitalization and renovation project. A group of local Boy Scouts called and volunteered to help with ushering, and Service Master offered to clean the seats in the Fox for half price and power scrub the floor.
Although the Fox continues to work on fund-raising, Burns said the board appreciates the support received from the community so far. In the future, the Fox plans to host a "Welcome Home" concert series, highlighting NHS graduates and other local musicians like Linscheid who have found success on a national level.
But for now, the focus is on the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and Burns hopes they will be performing for a sold-out crowd.
"It's a fantastic band," Linscheid said. "The Glenn Miller Orchestra is the only remaining full-time touring big band, having been on the road nonstop since the swing era. Glenn Miller's music holds an important place in American music history, and the band performs the music in an authentic style."
Reserved seating tickets for the show are available for $24.50, $29.50, or $34.50, and may be purchased at www.selectaseat.com, (855) 755-SEAT, or at Dillons outlets. The Fox Theatre is at 518 Main St. in Newton.