published Friday, March 4th, 2011

Big-band concert sets the mood to travel back in time

There’s that 13-count sax beat, then the trumpets and trombones, and even if you don’t know the name of the piece, you know it when you hear it.

It’s “In the Mood.”

Ah, right.

The 1939 arrangement, perhaps Glenn Miller’s most famous work, is also the name of the 1940s musical revue coming to the Scenic City on Thursday.

“In the Mood,” under the direction of producer and creator Bud Forrester, is now in its 17th touring season.

The music, he said, “is something that is universal to Americans.”

“As a musician, I felt like this time frame had a style and class that’s still with us today. It was the last time Americans were all listening and dancing to the same kind of music. It was long before mp3s and iPods.”

In addition to Miller’s title track, the show also will include music by such greats as Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and the Andrews Sisters. And, yes, “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” is part of the repertoire.

In a phone interview, Forrester discussed the sense of patriotism associated with big-band music.

The power of the [rhythm section] was emblematic of the period ... it gave a force of [patriotism]. These were American songs and American music. There was something worth fighting for.”

Big-band music played an active role in lifting morale during World War II.

“You took a kid from Kansas, a kid from Tennessee and a kid from New York, and threw them overseas in the war. It was the glue that held everybody together,” he said. “The strength of the big band, it didn’t win the war, but it certainly kept spirits up for those who were in the service and those at home as well.

“It really touched everybody in a bigger way that we can understand today.”

IF YOU GO

What: “In the Mood” Live.

When: 7 p.m. Thursday.

Where: Memorial Auditorium, 399 McCallie Ave.

Admission: $29.50-$39.50.

Phone: 757-5050.

Websites: www.ChattanoogaOnStage.com, www.inthemood live.com

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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