Here is how the GMO spent the last two months courtesy of John Tyler:
The Glenn Miller Orchestra began the month of November wrapping up the continental tour in California which began September 7th in Alexandria, Virginia and ending the month in Kanazawa, Japan. November 1st the GMO had a concert at the Pacific Grove Performing Arts Center at the Pacific Grove High School. Glenn’s brother Herb Miller taught music at this school and rehearsed the high school band on the same stage where the GMO performed. Many of his students came to speak to us about what a fine man he was, his passion for music and teaching as well as the positive influence he had upon them.
The November 2nd performance was in the Clark Center of the Performing Arts at the Arroyo Grande High School. They have a great room which is a wonderful place to perform. And on November 3 there was a sold out matinee performance at the High Street Arts Center in Moorpark, CA.
On November 4th the GMO visited the Del Norte High School Campus near San Diego, CA for two performances with the string ensemble from the high school orchestra performing with us. The students did a marvelous job of rehearsing and preparing the string ensemble arrangements from Glenn’s Army Air Force orchestra library. Making great music can be a fun challenge and we believe everyone involved in this process had a great time.
The November 7th performance was at West Ranch High School in Stevenson Ranch, CA where the High School Jazz Band did a great job of opening the concert. The November 8th performance at Palm Springs High opened with their fine High School Jazz Band featuring an excellent female vocalist. Palm Springs High has hosted the GMO in the past and it was fun to return to this great town and its deep show business traditions. On November 9th the GMO performed in the historic Visalia Fox Theatre in Visalia, CA. This “Mission Revival Show Place” was built as a movie theatre in the early days of the talkies and used as a performance venue. The interior design is ornate with a jungle theme and the theatre also features a fine sound system. On November 10th in Walnut, CA it was two shows at the Walnut High School Performing Arts Center with the Walnut High School Band opening the show and joining the GMO for a performance of In The Mood.
On November 13, the Glenn Miller Orchestra flew from Los Angeles, CA to Tokyo, Japan beginning the 2012 tour of Japan. This annual tour has been looked forward to by every version of the Glenn Miller Orchestra since 1956, and 2012 is no different. Beginning with three performances at Orchard Hall in Tokyo, one on November 16 and two on November 17 the GMO was off and running. November 19 brought snow and freezing weather conditions as we visited Sapporo on the northern island of Hokkaido for a performance at the beautiful sonic Sapporo Concert Hall KITARA. Traveling by charter bus across Hokkaido to perform in the city of Kushiro at the Kushiro City Cultural Hall on November 21st and back to Shin-chitose on the 22nd to return to the main island of Honshu on the 23rd. The next performance on November 24th was at the Morioka Civic Cultural Hall.
On November 25th there were two concerts at Hamanasu Hall Kesennuma with the first featuring the high school concert band and the second a local community jazz band, The Dolphins. The town of Koizumi was part of this community and between shows we were taken there for a visit. The following description went with the photos posted on The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra FaceBook page, on “March 11, 2011 the town of Koizumi, Japan was 90% wiped from the face of the earth by the Great Eastern Earthquake and Tsunami, as were many other towns and villages. Nearly everyone on the planet has seen video and photographs of the events of that day. In this spot, in the town of Koizumi, in an instant the earth dropped a meter; 3.28 feet to one meter. The coast line is 100 meters closer. The tsunami brought 20 meters of the sea over the town of Koizumi; 20 X 3.28 = 65.6 feet. You can see the concrete train bed torn open. The bridge for the highway, steel and concrete; gone; the building in the surf was once a hotel and bowling alley; All of the homes; gone; what was left that could not be salvaged was piled up and burnt; the wharf, the train station; gone. Mr. Oikawa gave us a tour and shared with us the stories. He took us to a monument on a hill overlooking the town which he played an important role in establishing. As terrible as it is, it is amazing that only 40 people from Koizumi are gone from a place that was once home to thousands, 20 of whom have never been found. The concert venue today was a school, less than 10 minutes from Koizumi; the gymnasium had been used as a morgue. Before each of today’s performances a student band performed from their hearts. All of these children had been touched by this event; every person in the audience had been touch; the loss of property as well as friends, family, classmates…now that we have shared this place, these sights, their stories, the GMO has been touched by this event as well. As people pick up the pieces from the many disasters that people face around the world let us not forget the people of Japan and the personal wounds they deal with daily from an event which happened one year, eight months, eleven days ago, as they continue with the immense job of recovery.”
November 28th the GMO performed at the NTK Forest Hall Nagoya in Nagoya, and on November 30th was the Kanazawa Theatre in Kanazawa, wrapping up the month of November. The 2012 Japan tour has brought the GMO half way around the world from our start in Alexandria, Virginia in September. There are now nearly 200 photo albums posted on FaceBook for those of you who follow our travels. And as always keep an eye on the tour schedule on the official webpage www.glennmillerorchestra.com for when we will next be performing near you.
December 1st, 2012 was a travel day for the Glenn Miller Orchestra as we relocated by train from Kanazawa to Osaka. This was a local train, not a bullet train though it was plenty fast. On December 2nd at the Osaka International Convention Center, great friends of the GMO, the Black Bear Jazz Orchestra came to the concert and filled much of the first row. Their passion for music and their enthusiasm are contagious.
December 3rd was a travel day from Osaka to Fukuoka and this ride was on Shinkansen Nozomi 19, a train capable of 300 kilometers per hour, about 186mph. The GMO was in Fukuoka until December 8th with one performance December 5 at Acros Fukuoka Symphony Hall. December 8th was a travel day returning to Tokyo. The GMO would be based at the Hotel Okura from this point until returning to the USA December 17th. Remaining performances included December 10th at Green Hall Sagami-ono, December 11th at Omiya Sonic Hall, December 12th at Kawaguchi LILIA, and December 13th at Kanagawa-Prefectural Civic Hall.
On December 10th Nick Hilscher was invited to the US Embassy in Tokyo for an informative meeting about the Tomodachi Initiative and to explore ideas on how the GMO and this initiative might work together. Tomodachi in Japanese means a friend in the good times or bad. On March 11, 2011 the friendship between the countries of Japan and the United States of America was placed on a fresh pallet when a once in a millennium event occurred, the Great Eastern Earth Quake and Tsunami striking the east coast of the island of Honshu, Japan with catastrophic results. On Sunday, November 25, 2012, the Glenn Miller Orchestra visited here performing two charity concerts in Kesennuma City, Miyagi, Japan performing along with two youth bands from the area, “The Glenn Miller Orchestra put on two charity concerts in Kesennuma City, Miyagi on Sunday, November 25. During the first concert, they performed with students from Tsuya Junior High School (Kesennuma) and Seiwa Gakuen High School (Sendai). With the support of Tomodachi Initiative, Kesennuma’s junior jazz orchestra Swing Dolphins was the opening act for the second performance. Through these special performances, Glenn Miller and Tomodachi hoped to raise awareness of the current situation in Tohoku and show support for the people in the region as they rebuild their hometowns.” from the Tomodachi Initiative website http://usjapantomodachi.org/
The USA has the most extensive forward deployment of military resources and personnel in Japan of any other region on earth. Over the past 67 years painting an unusual often complicated palate of a relationship initially forging an enduring Tomodachi between two great nations through the extreme destruction of conflict, then reconstruction, together they now faced a natural disaster of immense magnitude threatening both on the island nation of Japan. This event reinforced the best result through further coordinated efforts between Japan and the US. With all the resources at the command of the US military Operation Tomodachi, tomodachi sakusen, were immediately placed in action March 11 for rescue and recovery and to neutralize the immediate threats lending assist to their longtime friends the Japanese people in any way possible. “The operation took place from 12 March to 4 May 2011, involved 24,000 U.S service members, 189 aircraft, 24 naval ships, and cost $90 million in place till May when many immediate needs were met the Military had to return to their primary missions.” From an article of March 3, 2012 in the Japan Times by Eric Johnston asking the question if this operation taken by the United States was a “one off” reaction to the event or would there be sustained assistance. The US State Department realized this, seeing how much needed to be done the Tomodachi Initiative was born as a public private effort.
When the GMO arrived in Kesennuma City for the concerts November 25th all that was known was there was some sort of benefit. Touring 11 months a year arriving in some location, setting up, performing, then packing up and leaving is nearly an everyday occurrence more often than not, no one in the ensemble knows the purpose of a stop which was the case in Kesennuma City. We began to learn a great deal as we toured the remains of the fishing village and heard the stories of loss and the determination of the Japanese people and these young musicians. Instruments, music and their rehearsal hall were in city hall and everything in that building was washed away; as well as the loss of friends and family many of whom have never been found. This is a link to the first of three award winning essays written by children of this region being published in the New York Times about their lives since the event. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/17/sports/swimming-against-the-storm.html?_r=0
On the morning of December 10, Nick Hilscher with the management team of Ubon Inc., the company producing the 2012 GMO Japan Tour, Mr. Kai Moriya and Mari Matsumoto, along with the road management team of Ashley Hall and Ian O’Beirne, as well as senior members of the Orchestra George Reinert, Kevin Sheehan and Jason Bennett, vocalist Eileen Burns and John Tyler to record the event, met at the United States Embassy in Tokyo with the Suzanne Basalla Executive Vice President of the Tomodachi Initiative, Program Manager Miori Oka, Cultural Affairs/Public Affairs Section Midori Ito, and stopping in for a moment Ann McConnell of the Embassy of the United States Public Affairs Section. There was some discussion as to how the GMO might help in the future to provide support for musical arts in the Tomodachi Initiative of education, arts, sports and leadership to further the existing friendship between Japan and the United States. The corporate management of the GMO, our Japanese tour partners UDON productions, along with assistance from the US State Department and the Tomodachi Initiative will work out the details and whatever roll the GMO can play, wherever we are sent, we will happily do so.
If you would like more information it can be found:
After returning to the USA, the GMO performed at the Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center in Cambridge, OH on December 18 and at the Performing Arts Center in Wisconsin Rapids, WI December 20. We began the 2012 Holiday break December 21 leaving from Milwaukee, WI for a seven day break.
The GMO was December 28 aboard the Riverboat Paddle Wheeler the American Queen where the old year will be set to rest and the New Year welcomed with that swinging Miller Sound. 2013 is shaping up to be another busy year for The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra. Keep an eye on the tour page at www.glennmillerorchestra.com and for those of you following on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/glennmillerorchestra