Symphony tries to repeat the past with ’20s themed Gatsby Swing concert

Symphony in the Valley musicians practice at the Hotel Colorado Feb. 26 for the Gatsby Swing concert.
Thomas Phippen / Post Independent

The past will be repeated for two nights this weekend as Symphony in the Valley transforms the Hotel Colorado Devereaux room into a glitzy soiree worthy of literature’s most enigmatic party-giver.

The symphony puts on a big band concert each winter, but for this year’s Gatsby Swing on Friday and Saturday evening, the music, theme and décor are all about the 1920s.

“We looked for a lot of ’20s-era music, because of the Gatsby, Roaring Twenties theme,” conductor Kelly Thompson said.

Not all the big band music played this weekend will be from 90 to 100 years old, but Thompson said he was surprised how much of the swing music the symphony has played for years was actually written in the 1920s.

“I was amazed at how much music was written in the ’20s. I thought it would be harder to find,” Thompson said.

 “The music is so energetic and fun, and so danceable,” said manager and violist Amanda Watkins.

Based on previous events, there will be non-stop dancing, be it Charleston, Turkey Trot, Peabody or Lindy Hop.

Students in the upper grades at Liberty Classical School in New Castle treat the swing event as the school prom.

The only problem might be the size of the dance floor. With 55 musicians and enough tables for 150 guests, even the great ballroom might get crowded.

But, after all, large parties are best.

“At small parties there isn’t any privacy,” as jazz age flapper Jordan Baker put it in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel.

The swing concert is one of the group’s most popular events, and this year will be no exception.

Saturday night sold out online, and Friday’s party is heading the same way. Tickets are on sale online until noon Friday, then may be available at the door.

The event includes a multi-course dinner with dessert, but any giggle water will have to be purchased at the bar.

The swing concert is one of Symphony in the Valley’s five annual events. The group puts on a Mother’s Day concert, which this year will celebrate American composers to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s voyage.

Later in the year, Symphony in the Valley will present a Fourth of July concert, a fall event featuring the music of Ludwig van Beethoven on his 250th birthday, and a Christmas concert.

The swing event is the main fundraiser for the all-volunteer orchestra, and helps the group present all the other events.

“It’s really fun as a musician in the symphony to play different types of music,” Watkins said.

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.