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Glenn Miller Birthplace Society

The Glenn Miller Birthplace Society’s Annual Festival
I found myself smack dab in the middle of an honest to goodness “love in”.
By Bill Miller

It was one year ago that I wrote an article for 50 & Better, anticipating the Silver Anniversary of the Glenn Miller Birthplace Society’s annual festival. Well…I came, I saw, and I was conquered. I found myself smack dab in the middle of an honest to goodness “love in”.
When Clarinda, Iowa’s favorite son started his first band in 1937 there was no way Miller could have imagined the mystique that still makes the Glenn Miller Band the most storied of all big bands. Miller’s civilian band leading career covered less that six years, yet his music has lasted 64 years, and is still attracting new fans.
The Glenn Miller festival runs from June 7th through the 10th and features the Utah State University Starburst Singers and Dancers with the Crestmark Orchestra, Japan’s “Little Cherries” big band from Kagoshima, and, of course, Larry O’Brien leading the world famous Glenn Miller Orchestra. Larry has led the estate authorized Miller Band longer than anyone, including Miller himself. Additional guests will be:
The USAF Heartland of America Big Band, The Notables
The Tom Daugherty Orchestra, from Dayton
The Minnesota National Guard Army Show Band, of Minnesota
The Classic Big Band
The Nostalgic Quartet, from Minneapolis
The IWCC Community Band, from Council Bluffs
The Glenn Miller Birthplace Society Big Band
Glenn Miller arranger Norman Leyden will deliver a speech An Arranger’s World, which was originally delivered by Miller himself. Historian Dr. Alan Cass will deliver an address, Portrait-Glenn Miller. In addition, Ed Polich of the University of Colorado will lead a panel discussion among original Glenn Miller Band members and Miller authorities.
As I learned last year, the festival is more than panels, speeches, and concerts. It’s picnics, parades, and people from the all over the United States, Canada, and many foreign countries...all paying tribute to a musical icon.
Don’t forget the great people of Clarinda. This southeast Iowa community opens its doors and heart to festival visitors new and old. Clarinda is a breath of fresh air and a reminder of the kind of small town many of us knew while growing up. Norman Rockwell would have loved Clarinda and its people.
When visiting the festival, consider staying in Omaha, St. Joseph, or Shenandoah. Most overnight accommodations within two hours of Clarinda are already booked. I suggest a call to the Glenn Miller Birthplace Society at 712-542-2461, or check their web page:
The Glenn Miller Festival is what we’re all about. You will never forget the experience. And if you don’t hear Moonlight Serenade at least a dozen times, you have certainly taken the wrong turn somewhere around Tuxedo Junction. I look forward to meeting you in Clarinda. I am definitely In The Mood!

Nationally syndicated radio host, Bill Miller can be heard locally on KCSL 1140-AM at noon Saturdays, on KFEQ 680-AM from 7:00 until midnight Sunday evenings, and on KKOW 860-AM from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. Listen to The Bill Miller Show on the Internet at on demand. Just point, click, and listen. The Bill Miller Show is produced in their studio in Olathe, Kansas.