Arts and Entertainment

FW Symphony to showcase jazz trumpet maestro

Trumpeter Vern Sielert will jazz up the chilly days of February as the Symphony’s featured guest soloist. - Courtesy photo
Trumpeter Vern Sielert will jazz up the chilly days of February as the Symphony’s featured guest soloist.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

The Federal Way Symphony’s upcoming Swing Band Concert at St Luke’s Church is like a superb buffet that keeps growing. This year’s smorgasbord of musical selections are not only tasty and smooth, but are also lip-smacking, eye-popping songs that will send sparks all over the stage.

The show begins at 2 p.m. Feb. 5. The Symphony is once again providing its audience with a brilliant artist. Trumpeter Vern Sielert will jazz up the chilly days of February as the Symphony’s featured guest soloist. Sielert is an associate professor of trumpet and jazz studies at the University of Idaho. He also has a no-frills resume that includes performing with such artists as Rosemary Clooney and the big bands of Lionel Hampton and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra.

This ambitiously crafted concert will showcase Mr. Sielert giving us a roller-coaster ride of music such as his rendition of Louie Armstrong’s “Struttin With Some Barbecue.” This is marvelously entertaining and contains a lovely and lucid solo that is clearly indebted to New Orleans. It is also a wonderful carefree romp where Sielert’s melodic virtuosity will not only be mind-boggling, but unforgettable as his off-the-cuff genius is plain to hear.

The audience will want to turn up the volume and sing along with puppy dog excitement when Sielert plays the Harry James standard, “You Made Me Love You.” I’m sure there could be some photographic recall that might stir up nostalgic images with Duke Ellington’s arrangements of “Boy Meets Horn” and “Concerto for Cootie.”

For the many classical music enthusiasts, this concert provides many unforeseeable turns. Since the band has a large collective knowledge of different music, it is only natural that they can perform their transcription of Brahms “Hungarian Dance #5.” This is an excellent Billy May chart done for the Casa Loma Orchestra as part of a series of classical works arranged for big bands. It is a high-energy piece with plenty of sectional interplay, tonal color and dynamic contrasts — which shows how the Symphony is a treasure map that has no boundaries.

Like icing on a croissant, the Symphony continues to prove that they can play all kinds of music with timely pieces recently heard in the December 2011 Christmas concert. They will perform a rendition of Frank Comstock’s absolutely brilliant chart of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite written for the Les Brown band. It is seven and a half minutes of musical inspiration that requires thorough familiarization to manage the many transitions of mood, feel and tempo in the piece.

To add to this big box of stick-in-your ear tunes clad in cushy orchestrations: Maggie Laird’s appetizing and elegantly executed singing of “Mambo Italiano,” which was written in 1954 by Bob Merrill on a hastily scribbled napkin and recorded by Rosemary Clooney. For those of us that want more, with her artfully and impeccable voice, Laird will also sing a high-powered and playful rendition of “Bewitched.”

Check it out Feb. 5

Show begins at 2 p.m. Feb. 5 at St. Luke’s, 515 S. 312th St. Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for seniors, free for students 18 and under. Call (253) 529-9857 or visit


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