Sponsored by the President’s Office, the Harry James Orchestra will perform a selection of popular and distinctive big band songs April 6 in the Searle Center. Doors will open at 7 p.m for a social hour and reception, accompanied by student jazz combos, and the orchestra will begin playing at 8 p.m.
The performance is expected to last two hours, punctuated by a 15-minute intermission, and attendees will be welcomed to dance. Tickets are required, and can be reserved for free through the Sage Box office.
This will be the Harry James Orchestra’s second performance at Hillsdale College, and Music Director Fred Radke said he is delighted to return to campus.
“I love Hillsdale and I love the students,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with the students.”
Radke joined the Harry James Orchestra in 1969 as the lead trumpet player, and has been the band’s music director since 1989.
Harry James was one of the best-known and loved jazz performers during the height of the Big Band Era. He formed the orchestra in 1939 with vocalist Frank Sinatra, and produced a number of hits throughout the 1940s. Today, the Harry James Orchestra pays homage to its eponym by perpetuating the great trumpeter’s original sound.
Jaclyn Case, assistant to the president, helped organize the upcoming concert. She said the authenticity of the Harry James Orchestra is widely admired.
“The orchestra and Mr. Radke both have a fantastic reputation for those who are fans of big band era music,” she said.
The Harry James Orchestra will play an assortment of Harry James’s beloved songs on Saturday, including “You’ll Never Know,” “Ciribiribin,” “Sleepy Lagoon,” and “2 O’Clock Jump.”
According to Radke, the band is distinguished by its terrific trumpet solos in the style of Harry James.
“It’s the mystique of Harry James and the music he made so famous during the Big Band Era,” he said.