Fred Radke plays trumpet in the Harry James Orchestra. | Facebook

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.