And the Grammy Goes to . . .
CU-Boulder's Glenn Miller
Miller, one of the most popular bandleaders of the 1940s swing
era and an alumnus of the University of Colorado at Boulder, was
posthumously honored at the 2003 Grammy Awards with a lifetime
achievement award from the National Academy of Recording Arts
Miller joined Etta James, Johnny Mathis, Tito Puente and Simon
and Garfunkel as this year's honorees for lifelong artistic contributions.
All were recognized at the 45th annual Grammy ceremonies in New
York, aired Sunday, Feb. 23.
Miller, born in 1904, attended CU-Boulder from 1923
to 1924 and played in a band of students known as
Holly Moyer's Jazz Band.
He left school to continue his professional career, playing trombone
and arranging music for the bands of Benny Goodman, Red Nichols,
the Dorsey Brothers, Ray Noble and others.
He started his own group in 1937, and it quickly became
the most popular band in the country. In 1940 alone,
the Glenn Miller Orchestra
recorded 45 songs that made it into the top-seller charts - a
record that still stands. The band was awarded the first-ever
gold record in 1942 for selling more than 1 million copies of
their hit "Chattanooga Choo-Choo." Other hit tunes included "Tuxedo
Junction," "American Patrol," and "In The
Miller was killed only two years later when his plane disappeared
over the English Channel. Miller had left his band at the height
of its popularity in order to serve as an officer in the U.S.
Army, and was in Europe organizing shows for American troops fighting
in World War II. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his dedication
In 1953, students at CU-Boulder officially named the University
Memorial Center's ballroom in honor of Miller. Miller's wife Helen,
herself a CU-Boulder alumna, convinced the filmmakers of the "Glenn
Miller Story" starring Jimmy Stewart to film part of the
feature on the CU-Boulder campus.
Today the campus is home to the Glenn Miller Archive and a number
of exhibits. At the University's Heritage Center inside Old Main,
visitors can view 29 gold records, Miller's trombones and an original
manuscript of his theme song, "Moonlight Serenade." In
1984 Miller was posthumously awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters,
CU-Boulder's highest academic honor.
"We invite people to come up and see the gold records, including
the first gold record ever awarded," said archive curator
Alan Cass. "We also have Miller's first trombone and his
The archive just moved into new quarters in Macky Auditorium,
Cass said, and is now part of the American Music Research Center.
Archivists are currently filing, indexing and cataloging the Miller
In 2004, CU-Boulder will celebrate Miller's 100th birthday by
hosting performances by the current Glenn Miller Orchestra and
a Japanese girls group devoted to Miller's legacy. More information
about the celebration will be available as March 2004 approaches,
More information on the Glenn Miller Archive, including hours and contact information, can be found at http://ucblibraries.colorado.edu/amrc.
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