Yale Bands presents a 1940s Holiday Concert Re-enactment: Glenn Miller’s Yale Army Air Force Band 1944 Radio Show and 1940s All-Women Big Band
Thomas C. Duffy, Music Director. In 1944, while stationed at Yale University, Captain Glenn Miller and his Army Air Force Band made six live broadcasts from Yale’s Woolsey Hall (at right). Titled “I Sustain the Wings,” these coast-to-coast broadcasts were twenty-five minutes in length and included radio skits, vocal numbers, and swinging music by the military version of Glenn Miller’s popular big band. In the spring of 1994, the Yale Bands joined a national commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landing by recreating portions of these broadcasts (at left), complete with radio skits, vocalists, and performances of the Miller classics In the Mood, Little Brown Jug, Moonlight Serenade, and more. As World War II progressed, women stepped in to fill jobs vacated by men called away by the war. This included positions in bands – hundreds of women’s big bands operated during this time, with the most famous, the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, traveling to Europe to entertain the troops. Commemorating the year-long celebration of 50 years of women in Yale College and 150 years of women at Yale, this re-enactment features the debut of “Rosie’s Riveters Big Band,” an all-women band assembled to present an old-fashioned 1940s holiday concert, just as it would have been during WWII. The Yale Bands presented this radio re-enactment for veterans in France and England in 1994 as part of the ceremonies commemorating the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landing, which resulted in acclaim from journalists and patrons: “transporting, uplifting, riveting, a special gift.” Now, 25 years later, the Yale Bands present this program to commemorate three significant landmarks: the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landing, the 50th year of women in Yale College, and the 150th year of women at Yale.