Muskegon, Michigan, April 10, 2023—Louis Armstrong’s voice was unmistakable, his personality magnetic, and his artistry astonishing. Celebrated trumpeter and vocalist Byron Stripling joins the West Michigan Symphony to perform this electrifying homage, featuring “What a Wonderful World”, “Saint Louis Blues”, “Sweet Georgia Brown” and more. Sponsored by Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, the concert will be held at 7:30pm Friday, April 28 in the Frauenthal Center, 425 W. Western Avenue in downtown Muskegon. Mike and Kay Olthoff are the 2022-2023 Season Sponsors. For tickets, starting at $19 for adults, $10 for students, call 231.727.8001, visit the Frauenthal box office or purchase online at www.westmichigansymphony.org.
From “Battle Hymn of the Republic” to “Down by the Riverside”; from the “Tiger Rag” to “This Little Light”—Byron Stripling’s electrifying and heartfelt tribute to Louis Armstrong has become America’s most popular orchestral pops program. With his engaging rapport, jazzy vocals and virtuosic trumpet sounds, Stripling dazzles audiences wherever he goes. With his signature version of “When The Saints Go Marchin’ In” to close the show, he leaves the audience and orchestra dancing!
West Michigan audiences have a special respect and affection for Byron Stripling, stemming from his last WMS appearance in summer 2020, when he offered one of the first live online performances in the state after the COVID-19 lockdown. Nationwide, he is an orchestra favorite, soloing frequently with such acclaimed ensembles as the Boston and Cincinnati Pops and the National, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit and Toronto symphonies, to name a few. He has been a featured soloist at the Hollywood Bowl and on the PBS television special, “Evening at Pops” with conductors John Williams and Keith Lockhart. Since earning his junior stripes with the Count Basie Orchestra, Stripling has performed with the bands of Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman, Dave Brubeck, and others.
Louis Armstrong’s improvised solos transformed jazz from an ensemble-based music form into a soloist’s art, while his expressive vocals incorporated innovative bursts of scat and an underlying swing feel. He hit Chicago in the early 1920s as a protégé of cornetist Joe “King” Oliver. He soon began recording, performing and touring in his own name—and never stopped until his death in 1971. With appearances in radio, films and later television, and a string of popular hits in the ‘40s and ‘50s, Louis Armstrong’s place as a household name was ensured—and remains to this day.
About the West Michigan Symphony An anchor cultural organization headquartered in Muskegon, West Michigan Symphony led by Music Director Scott Speck is a resident presenting group at the Frauenthal Center, where its eight-concert season is the most visible part of a larger artistic enterprise of far-reaching community benefit. At its live listening room, The Block, just down the street, it mounts 15 performance events annually featuring jazz, classical, folk, ambient and other offerings. WMS concerts and education events bring 16,500 people—more than 30% of whom are children and students—downtown annually, making it the largest performing arts organization on the West Shore. Audiences come from throughout Muskegon, Ottawa, Kent, Oceana and surrounding counties. ###