Surprise guest delights lifelong fan

    John Miller (right) with John Haffenden

    A LOCAL big band, in the middle of a Glenn Miller tribute gig, were left ‘astonished’ when the world famous musician’s nephew joined their performance unannounced.

    The Clefhangers Big Band were playing at the Angel Centre on Saturday March 25 in aid of Multiple Sclerosis charities.

    During a performance of Vera Lynn’s ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’ by Tunbridge Wells actress Lorraine Fawcett, the band’s musical director, John Haffenden recalled hearing an unexpected male vocal.

    “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” said Mr Haffenden as he realised it was John Miller, son of Glenn’s brother Herb.

    Influenced

    Herb Miller developed his musical talent very much under the guidance of his elder brother Glenn, who was one of the most popular musicians during the Second World War.

    He went on to form the Herb Miller Orchestra. Many years after the disappearance of Glenn, Herb decided he wanted to recreate his brother’s success and formed an orchestra to play his music. He quickly brought in his son John to play bass.

    In 1987, Herb died just before a month long tour. John took over the band and continued the tour with the support of his crew. 15 years later it was decided it should be renamed The John Miller Orchestra.

    After hopping on the stage to the surprise of everyone at the Angel Centre, John Miller praised the sound of the band before counting in ‘American Patrol’ – one of Glenn Miller’s most popular songs.

    Mr Haffenden said: “I was inspired by Glenn Miller’s music as a teenager and after seeing the Herb Miller Orchestra play, in which John was singing, I set up Clefhangers whilst at school at Mascalls [School in Paddock Wood].

    “I still have the LP we bought that night where Herb wrote on it ‘best of luck with the band’.

    “It was fantastic 34 years on to be able to thank John for his inspiration and receive his endorsement.”