On Friday Dec. 19th, the Orion Trio with guest artist Valerie Gillespie played for a record sell-out crowd of 382 people. Thanks to all our loyal fans and friends who turned out and showed support. To newcomers, we extend a big welcome and hope you enjoyed yourselves enough to return for future performances.
Our show had a Christmas theme, using six jazzy arrangements of carols, and nine tunes in all. The trio opened with an Oscar Peterson arrangement of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”, with the melody played by John Huber on bass. We then brought Valerie onstage with the classic Charlie Parker bop tune “Billie’s Bounce”. We featured several songs from Valerie’s Christmas album including “Silver Bells”, “Angels We Have Heard On High”, and the title track “It Can’t Be Christmas Without You”. This is an original tune written by her brother, and was beautifully sung by Valerie.
We played the often requested “Take 5” from Dave Brubeck’s “Time Out” album, featuring Valerie on Alto sax, and followed that with drummer Jerry Bruno’s arrangement of “Little Drummer Boy”. We ended the show with Mel Torme’s famous “Christmas Song”, also known as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”, again sung by Valerie, and closed with Horace Silver’s hard swinging “Sister Sadie”.
It’s always a treat to perform on the same stage as Valerie, and she is clearly a crowd favorite here in The Villages. It was a real solid show with many interesting arrangements, thanks to her and the boys in the band. Again, many thanks to all who came and helped make our performance a success. It’s so rewarding to see such an appreciative turnout, and very inspiring for the next show. By the way, that will be Jan. 29th, and we will feature Rudy Turner on guitar and vocals.
My thanks to Michael Fortuna of The Villages Daily Sun for his nice article in Friday’s paper about the trio and this concert, and to Debbie Hurtt and the staff at the Savannah Center for doing such a great job accommodating the large audience and putting on such a good production.
Happy Holidays to all!
Valerie Gillespie, John Huber, Jerry Bruno, Thomas Pizzi