BATAVIA – Big band, big party, and you're invited. The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra will entertain at a free outdoor performance at 7 p.m. July 27 at The Holmstad in Batavia.
Nostalgic tunes from "The White Cliffs of Dover" to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" will transport audience members to the big band era, performed by masters of the genre.
Last year's concert by the orchestra drew 500 people, including the public and residents of the retirement community. Guests are welcome to bring picnics, and The Holmstad will serve complimentary light refreshments at intermission.
"This is the third year that we've had them here," Resident Life Director Cathy Reese said. "This has been a huge honor and privilege to host them. I work with a committee of residents that drives the programming on our campus. A few years back, I started asking them: 'Dream big – what would you like to see that you couldn't imagine having? I'll reach out and give it a shot.'
"We've been able to make it happen," she said. "The residents love it, and it's a wonderful … event we're able to open up to the community. For many, [it's] a hugely emotional experience because of the memories it evokes for them."
The performance will be set on the parking lot in front of the Town Center. And while there won't be an actual dance floor, there will be room to step lively should the mood arise. Folding chairs will be in place, but bringing lawn chairs is encouraged, depending on the crowd size.
Among the guests will be Eleanor Lukazewski. While she's only been a resident of The Holmstad for five months, she's been attending the summer programs for years.
"I've been to these events when I was living in Geneva before I was living here," she said. "I've seen the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and the Fox Valley Concert Band just a few weeks ago. I always went to these. It's enjoyable."
Eighteen residents serve on The Holmstad's life enrichment committee.
"We have this devoted group of residents that are so committed to making quality programming happen at The Holmstad," Reese said.
They include John Faust, who handles sound for events other than special concerts like the outdoor series. He's an avid dancer, Reese added. She works with the committee members, presenting program options on which the members vote yea or nay every month.
The committee, not staff, is in charge of the regular in-house events, including five or six evening entertainment programs each month.
"There's a host from the committee that meets [presenters]," Reese said. "Faust runs sound. They run the program."
Big band gems
The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra faithfully creates the distinctive sound developed by Glenn Miller, and continues to play many of the original Miller arrangements from both the civilian and military band libraries. It also plays modern selections arranged and performed in the Miller style and sound. As it was in the 1940s, “Moonlight Serenade” is still the orchestra's signature tune.
Capping the Summer Concert Series will be Ann Stewart and the Banjo Buddies Dixieland Band performing at 7 p.m. Aug. 18. The high-energy band is led by Ann Stewart, described as a diva of Dixieland. The group plays everything from Dixieland jazz to swing, blues, big band tunes and novelty tunes from the 1920s through 1950s.
People are asked to make reservations for the concerts through The Holmstad. The indoor rain location will fit only 240 audience members in Commons Auditorium, so televisions will be set up in other locations in case of inclement weather.
If you go
What: World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra
When: 7 p.m. July 27
Where: The Holmstad, 700 W. Fabyan Parkway, Batavia
Info: Register at theholmstad.org or 877-226-7310