“What a Wonderful World: Louis Armstrong Tribute,” Jan. 22-24

Media Contact:
Denise Borton
Grand Rapids Symphony
616.454.9451 x 114

The Grand Rapids Pops celebrates the spirit of New Orleans with an electrifying and heartfelt tribute to the legendary Louis Armstrong, one of the pivotal and most influential names in jazz music. Virtuoso trumpeter and singer Byron Stripling will lead a swinging evening filled with the sounds of Satchmo. “What a Wonderful World: Louis Armstrong Tribute” will also feature vocal artist Marva Hicks to sing the songs of Ella Fitzgerald. Associate Conductor John Varineau will lead the orchestra in three performances at DeVos Performance Hall: Friday, January 22 at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, January 23 at 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday, January 24 at 3:00 p.m. “What a Wonderful World: Louis Armstrong Tribute” is part of the Fox Motors Pops series. The Concert Sponsor is Dematic and the Guest Artist Sponsor is Holland Home.  

A spectacular trumpeter with a wide range and a beautiful tone, Byron Stripling is also the artistic director of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, a leader of his own quartet and frequently performs with pops orchestras around the world. Stripling grew up listening to the music of Louis Armstrong, and today his vocals and words are reminiscent of the jazz icon, with his own distinct flair. A graduate from the Eastman School of Music, he was featured as lead trumpeter and soloist with the Count Basie Orchestra following his studies, and later toured and recorded with Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and many more. In 1988, Stripling was chosen to portray Louis Armstrong in “Satchmo: America’s Musical Legend.”  

Audiences will hear and see what makes Stripling such a dazzling and irresistible entertainer as he and the Grand Rapids Pops orchestra cover the span of Louis Armstrong’s career. From “The Tiger Rag” and “Sweet Georgia Brown” to “What a Wonderful World” and “Basin Street Blues,” Stripling will have the audience dancing in the aisles.  


Tickets start at $18 and are available at the Symphony office, weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 300 Ottawa NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder Plaza), or by calling 616.454.9451 x 4. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum.) Tickets are available at the DeVos Place Box Office, weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or on the day of the concert beginning two hours prior to the performance. Tickets may also be purchased through Ticketmaster, 800.982.2787, online at GRSymphony.org or in person at Ticketmaster outlets: select D&W Fresh Markets, Family Fare Stores and Walmart. Tickets purchased at these locations will include a Ticketmaster service fee. Full-time students of any age are able to purchase tickets for only $5 on the night of the concert by enrolling in the Symphony’s Student Passport program. This is a MySymphony360 eligible concert.

About the Grand Rapids Symphony

The Grand Rapids Symphony was officially organized in 1930 and is nationally recognized for the quality of its concerts and educational programs. Led by Music Advisor Larry Rachleff, Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt and Associate Conductor John Varineau, nine concert series are presented, featuring a wide range of music and performance styles. More than 400 performances are presented each year, touching the lives of some 200,000. Nearly half of those who benefit are students, senior citizens and people with disabilities reached through extensive education and community service programs. The Symphony’s Affiliated Organizations include the Grand Rapids Bach Festival, Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra, and Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Choruses. The Symphony also provides the orchestra for Opera Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. To learn more about the Grand Rapids Symphony please visit GRSymphony.org.

This activity is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.