Take note! Glenn Miller music lives on Most notable (no pun intended) were the Little Cherries from Kagoshima City, Japan, some two dozen grade school children who play jazz arrangements better than most grownups.
The 10- and 11-year-olds showed their talents in a 90-minute concert � with one intermission to change into Glenn Miller T-shirts. They used no written music to guide them, having memorized all the notes, including the intricate choreography which went with them.
Their trombones and saxophones were almost as big as they were, and the wee trumpet players blew riffs and chords which rocked the auditorium filled with appreciated folks who could have been their grandparents and great-grandparents.
And the diminutive 10-year-old drummer boy would have given Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich a run for their money.
The only glitch in their performance was when they pronounced PennsyRvania 6-5000.
They spoke little English, as did their leader � Takishi Ohnishi � who acted haltingly as master-of-ceremonies and introduced one piece as Chattanooga Shoo-Shoo, and another as At Rast.
The Little Cherries showed what discipline � and lots of practice � can do. Next year the older ones will be replaced by other elementary school musicians, and the music will go on.
Incidentally, for veterans of the World War II Pacific campaigns in the audience, the Star-Spangled Banner shared the stage with the Japanese flag.
Also performing was Evolution, a Lab Band made up of graduating high school seniors from the south Oregon coastal towns of Coos Bay, North Bend and Coquille. With an overall grade-point average of 3.9, the kids played big band music to a standing ovation.
Who says Glenn Miller music is dead?
Of special note (again no pun intended) was the group�s young vocalist, Jaime McDermott. An obvious victim of a crippling disease, she strode to the microphone with the aid of walking sticks to croon ballads of the �40s with all the charm of Jo Stafford and Helen O�Connell.
Oh, and by the way, Jaime was the Oregon vocal champion � in opera, yet! � and won a four-year scholarship to St. Olaf College in Minnesota.
Phyllis and I talked to the energetic director, Greg Young, and learned more about the award-winning program. he said:
�How many 65-year-old ex-football players are still active in their sport? Music, on the other hand, goes on forever.�
However, he voiced an ominous threat when he stressed that recent budget cuts in their state had reduced the number of music directors to two while there were still more than a dozen athletic coaches in the three schools.
Evolution even performed for the Oregon Legislature in Salem to preserve the Lab Band tradition. They emphasized that when children do not have the resources to satisfy their creative desires, they often turn to unacceptable behavior.
There are many high-achieving youngsters �waiting in the wings� to replace the graduates, Young said. Those of us who heard this year�s edition of Evolution couldn�t have agreed more.
Phyllis and I have attended at least 12 of the festivals in this southwest Iowa town where Glenn Miller was born in 1904. This year we were accompanied by Mal and Kay Jameson, and Kay wanted to take the Little Cherries� drummer home with her.
She � and we � had to be satisfied with the music, though.
� 2003 Robert F. KarolevitzPUB DATE:062003
HEAD:Take note! Glenn Miller music lives on