Fabulous Studio Band continues Pacific NW trip
Tour: Oregon, Washington residents treated to band sound.
June 18, 2009 10:05 AM
By ESTHER AVILA
FOR THE PORTERVILLE RECORDER
(photos by Esther Avila)
EVERETT, Wash. — Members of the Fabulous Studio Band are on their way home from their three-state, 2,869-mile Pacific Northwest tour. They are scheduled to return Friday evening.
The band left Porterville on June 9, and has played in numerous venues in Oregon and Washington.
Tuesday evening they kicked off a summer concert series for the city of Everett, Wash.
With the harbor as their backdrop, the band entertained a large crowd with their big-band and contemporary numbers.
“I was walking by and saw them setting up and I just had to stop,” said Larry Wold of Everett. “I enjoy the big band sound. This group sounds pretty good.”
Estelle and Charles Spaulding of Mill Creek, Ore., said they attended because they heard that big-band music was on the schedule.
“It is our first time here. We enjoy concerts like these — and being out here in front of the waterfront — you can’t beat that.”
It was a sentiment expressed by several in attendance. While some dined or enjoyed a drink from restaurant patios, others brought lawn chairs and blankets and sat on the lawn.
Jordan Donato, 2, could not sit still. The toddler hit the dance floor every time the band played.
“She has always liked to dance. I don’t think she can resist it,” said her mother, 23-year-old Alexandra Donato. “We come often — whenever my mom invites me. I’m enjoying this. It is different from what I usually listen to, but it’s lovely.”
As the band continued to play big-band hits, couples danced. Judging by the hearty applause, they loved it.
“We play all over the country,” said band leader Jim Kusserow. “And next June, some of these kids will be playing at Carnegie Hall when we take the band to New York.”
George Sandia, 62, of Everett, applauded and cheered as the band played “New York, New York.”
“They play so well,” Sandia said. “I can see them playing at big cities. But I’m glad they came here — and are playing for us.”
After its Everett performance, the band performed Wednesday evening in Oak Harbor, on Whidbey Island.
“What we are trying to do, besides keeping the big band sound alive and let people across America know that there are still bands out there performing this music, is recreate what it was like for a traveling big band — letting the kids know what is like to be in a performing big band, whether just traveling up and down the state or across the country,” Kusserow said. “Some of these kids might have aspirations to perform. This gives them a little cross section of all it takes. They learn to work together. Everyone has a job and everything gets done.”
Pianist Jerika Hayes and Suzy Napieralski, who plays clarinet and saxophone, agreed. It was the first band tour for both.
“Setting up has been easy,” Hayes, a junior at Porterville High School, said. “It has been a real unique experience. I wouldn’t say it has been hectic though. Everything has worked out perfect — like a well-oiled machine. We have always had enough time for our performances.”
It was not all work, however. The band’s members had plenty of time for sightseeing.
Band members sand boarded at the sand dunes in Florence, Ore., toured a music and sci-fi museum, visited a rainforest in Olympic National Park, and toured through Forks, Ore. — home to the popular “Twilight” books.
“I was able to tour a lot with [former band director, the late] Buck Shaffer and I am merely trying to pass on the great experience I had,” Kusserow said. “It has been a great reward for me to do so. It has been a great trip.”