ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – After two years of scheduling conflicts, the Glenn Miller Orchestra is set to play at the Wylie Performing Arts Center on February 21, 2023. The orchestra reached out to the High school band in 2021 about setting up a performance as a learning opportunity for the band students.
Tickets are on sale now for $20, with all funds over the orchestra’s fee going back to the band’s operating fund.
“I, at first, didn’t really think it was real. I thought I was being catfished or something… But then the guy emailed me back, and I was like, ‘oh, maybe this is real,” laughed Wylie Assistant Band Director and Jazz Band Director, Ashlyn Ray.
The jazz band students will get in for free, as well as getting to ask the professional musicians questions and play a few tunes with them. Ray told KTAB/KRBC she is excited to see the kids be rewarded for all their hard work.
“It’s a super exciting thing for my jazz band and for my kids,” Ray said with pride. “Especially, maybe, [for] some of those who… They’re on the fence, like maybe they want to do music next year or not. Just to perform, this is a great opportunity and for the community. Like the world-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra is coming to Abilene, Texas. Like, that’s pretty darn cool!”
Orchestra Music Director, Erik Stabnau said the band is always looking for opportunities to meet and inspire young musicians in the same way they looked up to the Orchestra when they were young.
“We’re all products of music in schools, so it’s kind of near and dear to us as well,” explained Stabnau.
The Orchestra was started by famous trombone player and musician, Glenn Miller in 1938. Following his success in other bands and performances, after his passing in 1944, the group kept going. New members have been added every year since, and the Orchestra now averages 200 performances a year.
“All these years later, the band is still touring. Obviously with different musicians, but still playing those classic songs as well as some new ones,” Stabnau said.
While the students are excited to hear the band perform, Stabnau told KTAB/KRBC it’s just as much of a pleasure for the band to pass down their expertise to a truly engaged audience.
“We play so many shows that it is refreshing to meet young folks and young musicians, and kind of get to see their like, y’know, their brand-new outlook and aspect on this kind of music,” shared Stabnau.
Wylie Board President Steve Keenum has paid for tickets for all high school band members to attend so that all students in the musical studies will be able to see this once in a lifetime performance.