dancing on the plains
I have a date for the dance. 😉
The BIG dance. As in BIG bands and BIG fun and BIG crowds celebrating as only a small town on the plains can.
Every summer, Fort Morgan–one of my milestones on the catty-cornered I-76 trek through Colorado on my way back to Iowa–hosts a weekend of music and memories paying tribute to its famous son, Glenn Miller. And this summer, I’ve convinced Al that we should show up, part of my birthday celebration.
Online posters for the event list the annual fly-in breakfast at the airport, saluting Miller’s aviation and–it seems clear now–intelligence contributions during WWII. There’s also a music clinic at the community college and a showing of The Glen Miller Story at the local theater. And, of course, the Saturday night dance.
Adding a special dimension this year is the recent news that the University of Colorado–Miller’s alma mater (1923-24)–is now, thanks to private donations, the home of a major collection of Big Band music and other memorabilia of that era. (University of Colorado Acquires Big Band Tapes (abcnews.go.com). Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman–1400 reel-to-reel tapes, in all.
As one of the kids born smack-center in the Baby Boom, I’m amazed–and delighted–how alive this all is nearly 70 years after the fact. Hearing Moonlight Serenade, I can “see” my friend Susan’s parents dancing in New Orleans, just before Gale shipped out for the Pacific…and “hear” my friend Kristy’s Navy dad telling her one-day mom that he had “out-waited” the Army guy so he could take her home after the dance.
Where I land is believing that the Big Band sound is really the soundtrack for the Greatest Generation who wanted so much more for ours…and was willing to give everything to make that possible. And we pick up on that vibe.
And now, for your Sunday morning listening pleasure, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bR3K5uB-wMA