The spirit of dance band icon Glenn Miller will live again this week as the Frank Parsons BIG Band gives a concert of Miller favorites Wednesday at Richey Suncoast Theatre in New Port Richey.
"We'll be doing his theme song, Moonlight Serenade, and his second theme, In the Mood," said Frank Parsons, founder and director of the 18-piece band that carries his name. Parsons said the program also will have Chattanooga Choo Choo, Little Brown Jug, String of Pearls, Pennsylvania 6-5000, Tuxedo Junction, Perfidia and many more.
The Wednesday concert is the second in an eight-concert season. The band will spotlight singer Liz Antony and welcome two new trumpet players: David Ostrander of Largo and David Wisner of Clearwater.
Fred Nunes returns as conductor, trumpet player and "patter master," providing light-hearted commentary between numbers.
Miller was at the peak of his popularity when he opted to join the Army in 1942. He was assigned to the Army Specialist Corps for training, then put into the Army Air Corps (now an independent Air Force), where he recruited top musicians from throughout the service, including some of his own former band members.
The Major Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band started a tradition of fine musical organizations throughout the U.S. armed forces.
Parsons' Wednesday concert continues an audience participation contest the director started during the October season opener.
"Last month we played the samba It Had Better Be Tonight and are having a contest to conclude this title," Parsons said. Audience members will be asked to add words to explain what that "it" means in the song's title.
At intermission, about 10 or 12 of the entries will be chosen as finalists and read by Ms. Antony. Then, as she reads each one again, the audience will choose its favorite with applause.
"The winner will get two free tickets to a future concert," Parsons said. If the winner is a season ticket holder already, he or she can invite two other people. "That gets new people in, and that's what we like," Parsons said.
There will also be a random drawing for two more free tickets.
Future Frank Parsons BIG Band concerts are:
Dec. 9: Holiday Hullabaloo
Jan. 20: Cole Porter Classics
Feb. 17: Rodgers & Hart Classics
March 17: Wearin' O' The Green!
April 14: Big Band Classics & Theme Songs
May 12: It's Springtime — Batter Up!
Individual shows are $10; a five-show season ticket for concerts in December through April is $40.