Dance the night away to Big Band, Sinatra tunes with Symphony Swing |

Dance the night away to Big Band, Sinatra tunes with Symphony Swing

Jeannie Walla is a featured soloist at Symphony Swing, the annual fundraising gala for Symphony in the Valley. Walla's style ranges from fast-talking patter of "Mambo Italiano" to the swooning melody of "The Man I Love."
Bob Rugile |

Once a year, Symphony in the Valley sets aside the classics for an evening of dance music, playing the songs of the Big Band era for its annual fundraising gala, Symphony Swing.

“This is an evening of glitter and romance, when our classical musicians turn into a swingy jazz orchestra,” said conductor Kelly Thompson. “Dancing and listening to these beautiful melodies is what Symphony Swing is all about.”

A lineup of 10 vocalists will sing favorites such as “Sentimental Journey,” “All of Me,” “The Man I Love,” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” The Symphony Swing playlist is more than 40 songs, supplying a full evening of music by a live jazz orchestra.

Symphony Swing plays on Friday, Feb. 28, in Rifle and on Saturday, March 1, in Glenwood Springs. Both events include dinner, a cash bar and an auction of musical experiences.

Tickets are sold only in advance, and are available on the orchestra website,, or by calling (970) 618-8264.

“Symphony Swing is one of the most fun evenings of the year,” said Symphony President Dave Merritt. “It’s a great way to support your community orchestra, and have a ball doing it.”

While the music program is the same for both performances, a few differences will make each evening unique.

The Rifle show will be held in the conference center at Grand River Health, with a serve-yourself buffet dinner and seating at tables for six. The evening leans to the casual side, and the $35 tickets offer music lovers a chance to check out Symphony Swing at an affordable price.

The Glenwood Springs show will be in the historic Hotel Colorado, with a three-course meal served at tables for 10. A larger dance floor will offer more space for the dozens of dancers turning out for tunes like “In The Mood,” “Night Train” and “Sing, Sing, Sing.” Tickets for this fashionable evening are $75 and help support the orchestra’s concert season.

At both performances, members of the ArtillumA Dance Company will open the evening with a dazzling demonstration of swing dancing, and a few lucky people in the audience will get a chance to shake a leg with these professional dancers later in the evening.

Swing-dance classes available

If your dancing shoes are a bit dusty, the ArtillumA dancers will be instructing at two special swing dance classes on Saturday, Feb. 22, one week before the big event.

The two-hour dance classes are at 10 a.m. at the ArtillumA Dance Studio, 224 E. 21st St. in Rifle, or at 2 p.m. at Glenwood Springs High School. The classes are $20 per person, and all proceeds benefit Symphony in the Valley. Call ahead to reserve your spot, (970) 618-8264.

Because the Symphony Swing dinner-dance is the annual fundraising event for Symphony in the Valley, the short break between sets will feature an auction of experiences geared for music lovers. Donors can bid on a private performance by an orchestra ensemble, music lessons, concerts and show tickets.

One auction item includes two tickets to an Aspen Music Festival concert, lunch in Aspen, and a personal tour of buildings on the Music Festival campus with the architect Harry Teague.

Another auction item is a chance to play the bass drum with the orchestra for the booming “1812 Overture” in the May concerts. No musical experience is required.

“Symphony Swing is an elegant evening out, a romantic dinner-dance and a great opportunity to support your community orchestra,” said Merritt.

“As we like to say, ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’ for a ‘Moonlight Serenade’ with ‘Embraceable You’ at Symphony Swing. It’s an evening you won’t forget,” he added.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User