Five minutes with… Ray McVay

Published: Friday 5th January 2018 by Courtney Farrow

Comments (0)

Music veteran Ray McVay keeps Glenn Miller’s music alive in a nostalgic Big Band show at Hull City Hall tomorrow evening.

Glenn Miller and His Orchestra was one of the greatest and most loved swing dance bands in the 30s and 40s.

Miller himself was the bestselling recording artist from 1939 to 1943 and, in just these few years, the talented musician, composer and bandleader managed to score 23 number one hits. This is more than both Elvis Presley and the Beatles in their whole careers.

Despite Miller no longer being with us, his incredible music lives on thanks to Ray McVay ,who set up the Glenn Miller Orchestra UK almost three decades ago.

“I first had the idea to form a British Glenn Miller Orchestra after hearing various bands play the genre. However, I was disappointed as their phrasing, tuning and arrangements were not correct. So I set things in motion with Miller’s American office and, within six months, the Glenn Miller Orchestra UK began touring,” Ray explains.

An acclaimed music maker in his own right, Ray became a professional musician as a saxophonist in his early teens.

“I’ve been playing music all of my life. I was a rock and roller before all this, you see. The list of who I’ve worked with goes on and on, from Gene Vincent to Eddie Cochran and Conway Twitty and Billy Fury,” he chuckles. “The Orchestra has taken me to places like Russia, Spain, Portugal and all over the U.S.”

The evening at City Hall promises to be spectacular, with many old favourites to bop along to plus an appearance from special guests The Polka Dot Dolls.

“We’re playing a lot of Big Band numbers that were popular during the swing era, songs like Flying Home and Running Wild,” Ray tells us. “Meanwhile, the Polka Dots are doing a bit of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, which everyone loves, as well as Don’t Fence Me In and, of course, When Johnny Comes Marching Home.”

The second part of the concert is performed in World War II uniforms of the U.S. army and features many classic songs of that era. Meanwhile, some classical pieces are thrown in for good measure.

“Glenn was actually a bit of a classical fan on the side. He didn’t tell many people, but he loved Tchaikovsky. It was his wife who prompted him to do an arrangement in tribute, so he did. We are playing the 1812 Overture and the Piano Concerto that he arranged especially for his band.”

After talking to Ray, you can see the pure passion that he has for music and all that goes with it:

“Directing the orchestra is so much fun and I really enjoy doing it. You can really tell that we all love what we do when you come to the concert. Our saxophonists and trombone players often interact with the audience and play amongst the crowd,” he adds. “If you don’t come, you’ll miss a lovely night of entertainment and a wonderful evening filled with Glenn’s music.”

You can catch the Glenn Miller Orchestra UK directed by Ray McVay at Hull City Hall on Saturday 6 January. For more information, please visit the Hull Theatres website.

Enjoy more Hull and East Yorkshire news on HEY Today

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

Published: Friday 5th January 2018 by Courtney Farrow

Comments (0)

Local business search