Glenn Miller SwingFest History


Started in 1996 by The Fort Morgan Area Chamber of Commerce this
event has brought in people from across the United States and Europe. 
As an event to benefit the local economy and bring visitors to our area
it has been a great venue to honor our hometown hero, Glenn Miller. 

In 2009 the event was adopted by The School for the Performing Arts
as a way to provide scholarships for students so that every child in our
area that wanted to participate in the performing arts would be able to
attend the school.

In 2016 a group of community organization have stepped to keep the
music alive and have the tradition continue.

Glenn Miller, born March 1, 1904 in Clarinda, Iowa, graduated from
Fort Morgan High School in 1921 and went on to be a famous big band
leader with many of his songs still well known today, including
Chattanooga Choo Choo, Pennsylvania 6-5000; Little Brown Jug;
Moonlight Serenade and In The Mood to name a few.

His family came to Morgan County in a Union Pacific boxcar with all
their belongings and his parents are buried here.  His dad was a custodian
at Fort Morgan High School.  Glenn attended the University of Colorado
for a time and that was where he met his wife Helen.  After his many
successes he decided it was his duty to join the Army and in October of
1942 he became Captain Alton Glenn Miller of the United States Army.  
He was then transferred to the Army Air Forces and formed the
Army Air Force Band with him as its leader.  On December 15, 1944,
his plane disappeared over the English Channel on his way to set up a
concert for the troops.

The Fort Morgan Museum has a popular Glenn Miller exhibit and The
Fort Morgan Times, under publisher Mac McKinnon, was able to raise
funds to put up the road signs on I-76 stating we are the “Boyhood Home
of Glenn Miller”. Additionally, the Fort Morgan High School auditorium
is named the Glenn Miller Auditorium in honor of Glenn Miller.

Morgan Community College’s documentary,
“Glenn Miller: The Birthplace of His Music,”
 can be borrowed from the Fort Morgan Library or
viewed in the Fort Morgan Museum’s screening room.