Jacksonville Symphony to present ‘Ella and Louis: The Lady’s Centennial Celebration’


The Jacksonville Symphony will honor the musical legacy of jazz greats Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong this weekend, when the orchestra presents “Ella and Louis: The Lady’s Centennial Celebration.”

To be performed at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5 in the Times-Union Center’s Jacoby Hall, the concert will feature guest vocalists Byron Stripling and Marva Hicks along with guest percussionist Robert Breithaupt.

Stripling is a trumpet virtuoso who has soloed with the Boston Pops Orchestra. He currently serves as artistic director and conductor of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra. Hicks was recently seen on Broadway in the roles of Esther Gordy and Gladys Knight in “Motown the Musical.” She has also appeared in the Netflix dramatic series “House of Cards.”

Associate Conductor Nathan Aspinall will lead the orchestra in the program, which is dedicated by The Vanguard-Kessler Fund in honor of the 14th Annual Daniel Pearl World Music Days, a global initiative that seeks to use the power of music to bridge cultural differences.

Musical legends

Born in 1917 in Newport News, Virginia, Ella Fitzgerald had her first number one hit at the age of 21 with her celebrated rendition of “A-Tisket, A-Tasket.” She became famous for her scat singing, performing duets with such top performers as Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington and Armstrong and earning the moniker the “First Lady of Song.”

Armstrong – better known as “Satchmo” – was born in New Orleans in 1901. His musical career began when as a child he was sent to a boys’ home, where he learned to play the cornet. He rose to prominence in the 1920s, becoming the first jazz superstar and influencing generations of performers.

Tickets for “Ella and Louis: The Lady’s Centennial Celebration” range from $27 to $77 and are available at Jaxsymphony.org, the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts box office or by calling (904) 354-5547.