The oldest community supported big band in America.
Tickets are now on sale for the 2014-2015 Spokane Jazz Orchestra season. Single show tickets are now on sale at all Ticketswest outlets.
It’s the Spokane Jazz Orchestra’s 40th anniversary and we are “40 and Fabulous”.
Tickets are now on sale for the 2014-2015 season! Single show tickets are now on sale at all Ticketswest outlets.
Come on out to the Bing Crosby Theater and support the “Oldest Community Supported Big Band in America”!!
The Spokane Jazz Orchestra is pleased to announce our upcoming concert season, featuring an outstanding cast of nationally and internationally renowned guest artists! Our theme this year, “40 and Fabulous,” will take our listening audience on a musical journey through the decades, with jazz music from the 1920’s to the present.
Greetings Jazz Fans
“40 and Fabulous!” This year marks the Spokane Jazz Orchestra’s 40th anniversary. To celebrate such an auspicious birthday, we’re going to take you on a whirlwind tour of notorious jazz hot spots, featuring outstanding guest artists from around the Northwest. This year’s musical voyage begins in the showrooms of Las Vegas, with the infectious, energetic swing of Sinatra and the Basie band; blows across the country to The City, for the unequalled ambience of New York in the holiday season; breezes back to the west coast for hallmark jazz standards of Hollywood; and ends with a non-stop flight to the cabarets of Paris, to revel in the unique, sensuous, continental jazz of Europe. Bon Voyage, as we celebrate 40 years!
December 6, 2014
“Christmas in New York,” with guest vocalist Charlotte Carruthers.
We’re off to The City for the holidays. Our 40th anniversary celebration wouldn’t be complete without Charlotte Carruthers. Charlotte has been singing with the SJO for over 30 years! She knows what it’s like in New York, New York, when “City street lights, even stoplights,” light up the season like nowhere else on earth. She’ll give us the tour, singing the endearing songs of Christmas—with a New York flavor.
As the daughter of renowned jazz pianist Arnie Carruthers, Charlotte Carruthers has always lived in a world filled with music. Arnie made sure that his children were exposed to the greats of jazz at an early age. By the age of 7, Charlotte and her siblings were singing along with Ella Fitzgerald; Frank Sinatra; and Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. In 1973, Arnie invited Charlotte to sing with his new band at the Lamplighter Inn (now Mirabeau Park). She went on to perform in many of Spokane’s clubs over the years, including house band stints at the Stockyards Inn North and the Spokane House, where her brothers Bill and Don were also in the band.
In 1989, Charlotte moved to New York City where she performed with the New York Choral Society at many New York venues, among them Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall. She worked on several recording projects, including one with Stephen Schwartz (“Godspell”,” Wicked”), and appeared at some Manhattan night spots. She moved back West in 1993, landing first in Eugene, Oregon where she joined the Eugene Concert Choir and Vocal Arts Ensemble, again did some recording work and worked with several local bands performing jazz and rock.
A move to Seattle in 1998 made it a bit easier to do appearances in Spokane. Arnie, Charlotte, Bill and Don appeared frequently at Hobart’s and Ella’s/Centerstage. Charlotte has sometimes teamed with Spokane pianist Greg Presley for performances they call “From Salon to Saloon”, blending classical repertoire with jazz standards. Charlotte has appeared with the Spokane Jazz Orchestra often as part of their regular season concerts, for special performances such as the July Fourth Celebration in Riverfront Park and First Night, many “We Came to Play” concerts in area schools and other special events. She recorded two tracks with the SJO on their “It’s About Time” CD released in 2004. She has also performed in Spokane clubs and for private events with the Mark Norton Trio and the Brent Edstrom Trio.
March 7, 2015
“Hollywood Jazz,” with guest vocalist, Kristina Ploeger
The West Coast beckons us for our spring concert. We’re ready for the great jazz hits from Hollywood, featuring one of Spokane’s favorite singers, Kristina Ploeger. Kristina, and the SJO, with the help of several local arrangers, will bring to the stage an exciting festival of jazz tunes that originated in film scores. Look forward to pieces such as On Green Dolphin Street, Mahania Carnival, the Pink Panther Theme, and selections from Duke Ellington’s original score to An Anatomy of a Murder. Kristina, also one of the region’s noted music educators, is honored to share the stage with SJO’s Young Giants of Jazz vocalists. Hooray for Hollywood!
Kristina Ploeger has been a part of the Spokane Arts Community for fifteen years. She is currently a full-time Associate Professor, serving as Director of Choral Activities at Eastern Washington University, and Artistic Director of the Spokane Area Youth Choirs (formerly the Spokane Area Children’s Chorus). Previously in Spokane, Kristina taught Choral Methods at Gonzaga University and observed student teachers for Whitworth College as well as teaching Middle School Choir at St. George’s School and High School Choir at West Valley High School in the Spokane Valley. Before moving to the Spokane area, she taught at Everett High School, Ephrata High School, and AC Davis High School.
A member of ACDA, NAfME (formerly MENC), and WMEA, she has served on the WA ACDA Board in the multi-cultural, children’s chorus, university and jazz R & S (repertoire and standards) chair positions. Kristina has presented numerous times for the state and all-northwest MENC/WMEA conventions as well as the 2004 and 2007, 2009-2012, & 2014 WA-ACDA Summer Institutes. Her degrees include: AAS from Edmonds Community College, BM Ed from Central Washington University, MM from Eastern Washington University. Kristina is currently finishing a DMA in Choral Conducting from the University of Kentucky where she studied with Dr. Jefferson Johnson and Dr. Lori R. Hetzel.
A sought after clinician for many jazz and choral festivals, Kristina enjoys being a part of the vibrant northwest musical community. Directing Honor Groups and All-State Choirs in Washington, Oregon and Kentucky has given her the chance to work with a wonderful array of choristers and directors. She has performed jazz residencies at Amherst College, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Smith College. In 2005, Kristina was awarded the “Arts in Education Award” by the Spokane Arts Commission of the City of Spokane. In 2009, she received Spokane’s “YWCA Woman of Achievement in Arts and Culture Award.” And, in 2010 the Spokane Area Children’s Chorus, directed by Kristina, won the “Arts Organization Award” from the Spokane Arts Commission.
Kristina remains thankful for all of the opportunities she has been given by so many supportive and encouraging people. She feels lucky to be a musician and to learn so much every day from those around her.
May 9, 2015
“Springtime in Paris” with guest vocalist Heather Villa
For a romantic finish to our 40th year celebration tour, Spokane cabaret artist Heather Villa leads us “across the pond,” to experience the unequaled wonder of jazz in Paris. “Springtime in Paris” will not only feature the songs of the cabarets, but also the hits from some of the greatest jazz musicians in Europe. Look forward to a night of extraordinary sounds from the continent—and you don’t even have to leave the Bing.
Heather Villa sang publicly with her mother on the radio at age six! At age sixteen she was a solo winner at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, and later went on to Whitworth University on a theatre scholarship where she graduated with a BA in Theatre and Arts Administration. Heather formerly sang with the award winning band, “Six Foot Swing,” all over the Inland NW, playing a lively mix of jump, swing and blues from the 1920’s to the 1940’s. She’s been a featured vocalist with the Spokane Jazz Orchestra beginning with the May 2010 concert, “Downtown Divas,” December 2012 concert, “A Glenn Miller Christmas,” May 2013 "Latin Divas," and Heather was our season opening performer September 2013 for, "Cabaret." She currently sings with her vintage blues and jazz "Villa Blues" trio. In Spring of 2013, Heather and her family started on a new adventure helping pregnant and new mothers by opening “Bella Cova,” a natural parenting retail and resource center.
Be Bop Brew
Help support the oldest community supported Big Band in the Northwest,
The Spokane Jazz Orchestra
The Spokane Jazz Orchestra is now offering Be Bop Brew, a special roast of coffee beans from Anvil Roasting Company.
Each pound of coffee sold helps the band to continue its tradition of fine jazz performances for the public and music education for students.
Available in one pound bags for $12.
Join the SJO Coffee Club and get five regular deliveries of "Be Bop Brew" coffee.
Download Spokane Jazz Posters
Spokane Jazz Orchestra