Published: June 18, 2015


After 47 years, Alan Cass will retire as curator of the Glenn Miller Archive at the American Music Research Center.

After a 47-year journey as steward of CU-Boulder’s Glenn Miller Archive (GMA) at the American Music Research Center, Alan Cass will retire as curator on July 1.

Cass spent much of his career building and maintaining the significant repository of big band musician Glenn Miller (A&S ex ’26, HonDocHum ’84) memorabilia.

As the archive’s founder and longtime curator, Cass reviewed and accepted photographs, artifacts and memorabilia, and gave upwards of 50 Glenn Miller presentations yearly.

 “The archive has grown beyond any conceivable expectation,” said Cass. “This has occurred not simply because of my love for Glenn’s music, but because of the passion shared by what has become an immense worldwide cadre of enthusiastic individuals and organizations who have supported me and the GMA over the past nearly five decades.”

Most of the 56 collections that have been entrusted to the Glenn Miller Archive are a result of the close relationships that the Casses developed with musicians, broadcasters, producers, collectors, friends and music lovers from around the world.

“Alan Cass is the reason there is a Glenn Miller Archive,” said Thomas Riis, director of the American Music Research Center at the CU-Boulder College of Music. “It began with his personal interest in the Miller family and the popularity of the Glenn Miller Orchestra during the 1930s and ‘40s, Miller’s musical leadership in the Army Air Force during World War II and its tremendous aftereffects.”

The archive was built upon the solid foundation nurtured by Cass from a simple Glenn Miller display at the University Memorial Center in 1969 into today’s well-known archive, serving scholars, students and the public with numerous initiatives, including a robust internet footprint and far-reaching broadcasting presence.

“Because Miller’s music was heard ‘round the world at such a fraught time in our history,” Riis said, “it powerfully affected the “greatest generation,” and others. Alan has worked tirelessly for most of his life in Boulder to get the message out that Glenn Miller’s home and heart were in Colorado and at CU. We need to appreciate this fact and help to preserve Alan’s work and the music of the Big Band era.”

An important recent acquisition by the Glenn Miller Archive was one of the most significant collections of Big Band Era recordings and memorabilia. The Ed Burke Collection contains some 2,400 reel-to-reel tapes containing hundreds of hours of live radio programs featuring nearly every musician of major importance during the Big Band Era.

Cass attended CU in 1959-63. In addition to being curator of the archive, he also was director of the Coors Events Center and served as public address announcer for the Buffs and the Broncos.

Cass and his wife Sue recently attended the Glenn Miller Birthplace Festival in Clarinda, Iowa. This was their 40thexcursion, and coincidentally, this was the 40th anniversary of the festival.

“Preserving a legacy of this stature and relevance to the University of Colorado has been the most joyous and fulfilling undertaking of my life,” said Cass. “The relationships that have resulted go beyond friendship. We are a vast ‘family’ who now have the singularly important task of imparting respect and care to the individuals into whose hands we place our opus.”

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