The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Aug. 19, 2022

Big Band sounds…

Denver Bierman is bringing his Big Band, Denver & the Mile High Orchestra to the Niswonger stage at 7 p.m. this Sunday thanks to Presenting Sponsor JoAnne Wolford. This concert kicks off the Christmas season at the Niswonger with a setlist that harkens back to Big Band favorites mixed in with Christmas and Gospel. The house will be hopping this Sunday night in Van Wert.

We took a moment to catch up with Denver Bierman to learn more about the Band Leader and his Big Band. When asked who his greatest musical inspiration was, Denver shared an eclectic range of artists that set the tone for his musical style.

“Obviously, Glenn Miller is a legendary classic, and when I was in high school some of that music was my absolute favorite,” Bierman said. “I’ve also loved Harry James and his band, as well as Louis Armstrong. But I would say some of my most heavy influences have come from crooners that came later in the 50s and 60s and even more recently.”

“Frank Sinatra is my all-time favorite, Harry Connick Junior has been my hero since I was 14 years old. Nat King Cole, and I really enjoyed Michael Bublé and even the rockabilly styles of Louis Prima and Brian Setzer. Each one of those artists and their bands have provided massive influences on the sound of our band,”

Denver And The Mile High Orchestra are a uniquely positioned Big Band that cover jazz, gospel, swing, and more. We had to know from Denver, is there any music that’s not part of your repertoire?

“One of the things I love about Music is that as you’re beginning to write a song or an arrangement, it is a completely blank canvas,” Bierman. “I absolutely love taking songs that people have heard one specific way, and painting an entirely different picture of that music. I would say most things are definitely fair game, I don’t think you’re ever going to hear me rap, but beyond that, I would definitely say if it’s got a catchy melody, it’s definitely fair game.”

Denver Bierman and the Mile High Orchestra will be at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center this Sunday. Photo submitted

Denver And The Mile High Orchestra presents a show that is appealing to a mass audience of all ages. How do you craft a show to exchange such varied age groups and tastes?

“Living in an age where entertainment has become more fragmented and much more age and demographic-specific, there are very few entertainment entities out there that do transcend generational gaps,” Bierman said. “I think naturally it just started happening for us in the beginning. We would have grandparents that grew up on big band music that loved being at the shows, we would have adults who would come because it was the style of music that they grew up hearing in their homes when they were children.”

“The one group I never ever expected to resonate with our music were little children. We would have parents bring their little kids to our shows and they would be running up and down the aisles, they would come over to the side of the auditorium and just dance the night away. I was so shocked to see two and sometimes three generations in the same family coming to our concerts together. They may have each enjoyed different songs specifically, but when I realize that families were naturally coming to our shows I tried to develop a show that would be for the whole family. That there would be a little bit of everything for everyone.”

What is it about performing during this time in history that means something special to you?

“I have always wanted to use music as a vehicle to encourage people” Bierman stated. “I’ve always wanted our music to be something that could be an encouragement to families. In a world that is sometimes so difficult and complex and hard, I want our music to be one of the few things that a family can come together and enjoy a couple of hours being renewed, inspired, and encouraged together as a family unit,”

Van Wert Live is honored to showcase Big Band music from the Niswonger stage of inspiration. Don’t miss this opportunity to be blown away by the outrageous musical talents of Denver And The Mile High Orchestra at 7 p.m. this Sunday. You won’t regret it!

POSTED: 11/15/21 at 8:38 pm. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment