Members of the Glenn Miller Birthplace Society are determined to make the 2022 a banner year for the Glenn Miller Festival after the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of both the 2020 and 2021 festivals.
GMBS President Marvin Negley and Glenn Miller Birthplace Museum Executive Director Shari Greenwood have announced the 2021 Glenn Miller Festival has been cancelled “due to the ongoing nature and undetermined status of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The announcement was made in a letter issued Jan. 18.
“The health and safety of our Glenn Miller community is paramount to any other consideration. Continued travel restrictions, large gathering prohibitions, social distancing requirements and vaccine availability make it impossible for us to welcome our friends from around the world,” according to the letter.
Furthermore, the letter explained the ability to maintain the quality of the Festival under these challenges was also a determining factor. Protecting the health of visitors attending the Festival and the residents of Clarinda were also important contributed to the difficult decision.
This is the second straight year the pandemic has forced organizers to halt the annual tribute to the Big Band leader and Clarinda native Glenn Miller. The 2020 Glenn Miller Festival was cancelled in March of 2020 as the global impact of the pandemic was first being felt. The 2021 Glenn Miller Festival was scheduled to be held June 10-13 in Clarinda
“None of us expected or wished that a second annual festival has had to be set aside. Therefore, we are determined to make 2022 a banner year with a big bang and the best Glenn Miller Festival ever,” according to the letter.
Until then, the Glenn Miller Birthplace Museum is working with Dennis Spragg and the University of Colorado Glenn Miller Archives to develop a special exhibit that Glenn Miller fans will be able to enjoy virtually. Visitors to Clarinda will also be able to view the special exhibit in person since the museum is open by appointment.
Greenwood said each year the museum develops a special exhibit for the Festival that is placed in the center display area. In 2019, that special exhibit was entitled Glenn Miller – 1939 – Moonlight Serenade” and focused on the history of the hit song.
The planned exhibit for the 2020 Glenn Miller Festival was “Glenn Miller – 1940 – Jukebox Saturday Night.” That exhibit will be combined with the exhibit “Glenn Miller – 1941 – Keep ‘Em Flying” that was planned for the 2021 Glenn Miller Festival.
“If you can’t come to us, we’ll come to you. You can soon visit the combined exhibit to take a tour and download our presentations from Dennis Spragg and the University of Colorado Glenn Miller Archives,” Greenwood said. “Like our other recent exhibits and presentations, such as the ‘Army Air Forces Band,’ ‘Moonlight Serenade,’ and ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo,’ everyone will enjoy and learn from the many rare photographs and facts included on the panels and in the corresponding booklets.”