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Japan Tour 1984

March 5, 1984 - The Rheem Theatre - Moraga, CA

April 25, 1981 - Coconut Grove, Santa Cruz, CA

Dick leading the band during the Japan Tour 1984

Tenor saxophonist Dick Gerhart swinging the way

Dick Gerhart

With The Moonlight Serenaders Joe Francis, Lori Hafer, Brad Dietrick and Barry Springer

With The Moonlight Serenaders John Farnsworth, Chris Popa, Julia Rich

October 2, 1983 – November 24, 1988

Dick Gerhart had been with the band for over 15 years when he first assumed leadership of the Glenn Miller Ochestra.  That made him its longest standing member and a classic survivor in a field where the rigors of travel take their toll on many fine musicians.

He had been playing the original Miller music with the legendary Glenn Miller Orchestra for more years than even Glenn himself!  During his stint, he had criss-corssed the United States countless times, toured Japan on numberous occasions and played in towns throughout South America, Canada, and Europe.

He was the first leader to rise to the top from solely within the ranks of the orchestra itself, beginning as a tenor saxophone player in 1968 and then adding the responsibilities of road manager five years later.  In that time, he had the advantage of working with six different leaders, each with his own style and musical convicition.  The synthesis of that diverse experience added a vibrant new note to the already great Glenn Miller Orchestra.

For all of those reasons, says David Mackay, President of Glenn Miller Productions, owner and operator of the Orchestra, Gerhart was a natural choice for the job. “He probably knows more about this music and how it should be played than anyone else in the world today. He was the right person at the right time, and I am delighted he was available to front the band.”

For all of those reasons, says David Mackay, President of Glenn Miller Productions, owner and operator of the Orchestra, Gerhart was a natural choice for the job.  “He probably knows more about this music and how it should be played than anyone else in the world today.  He was the right person at the right time, and I am delighted he was available to front the band.”

Dick Gerhart himself said that “It was a great pleasure for me to be considered for such a job, and I intend to give it my very best.  I am following some very fine leaders – Ray McKinley, Buddy DeFranco, Peanuts Hucko, Buddy Morrow, Jimmy Henderson and Larry O’Brien – and am committed to upholding the fine Miller tradition.”

Although the wealth of his musical experience had been with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Gerhart had been playing professionally since high school in Lancaster, PA in the late ’40s.  After a tour with the Special Services 45th Division band during the Korean War, he pursued his love for music by playing in numerous clubs and nightspots in and around the Philadelphia area.  During that period, he broadened his scope to include entertainment management by booking attractions for the Host Farm Resort in Lancaster.  After joining the Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1968, he took a leave of absence in the summers of 1972 and 1973 to conduct the orchestra for the summer repertory program of the Fulton Opera House in Lancaster, a national historic landmark and the country’s oldest continuously operating theatre.  Both summers, he composed and performed original solo materials for the company’s Shakespearean productions.

He saw his latest assignment, however, as his greatest musical challenge in view of his dedication to maintaining the Miller aura.  “Mostly we play Glenn’s classics.  Of course, we constantly strive to add new material to the original library, but only the tunes which lend themselves to the Miller sound and style.  They have turned out just great, sounding very much the way Glenn would have insisted if he were still alive.”

However, Dick was only somewhat amazed by the Miller mystique.  “There are many reasons for the continuing popularity of the band.  For one thing, Glenn gave up a lucrative band business at a time when he was immensely popular to join the service – when he didn’t have to.  Then he went on to form his Army Air Force band, play all over Europe for the G.I.s, sell a lot of war bonds, improve morale and generally contribute greatly to the war effort.  Finally he disappeared mysteriously in a plane that took off from England for France and was never found.  So I think it’s all of these factors combined with the great Miller sound itself that keeps both his music and name alive.”

And to Dick Gerhart, the Miller sound lives forever because “Quality music always withstands the test of time.  It ages gracefully and mellows with the years.  If anything, I honestly think authentic Glenn Miller music today is more popular with more people than ever before, and we owe it to Glenn to keep it that way.