Big band appeal
You voted, and we got the message loud and clear – you love the nostalgic sound and family-friendly shows put on by the Silver Tones Swing Band. The Silver Tones have claimed the Best Local Entertainer/Band spot just five years after their start in Dave Shuma and Wendy Martin-Shuma’s garage.
The ensemble specializes in the big band sound of the late 1930’s through the WWII era, with an Andrews Sisters-like trio of singers who belt out the tight harmonies of songs like “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, as well as later big band hits like “Mambo Italiano” and jazzy versions of popular songs “Jailhouse Rock” and “The Hustle.”
“Big band music is American music that will be around forever,” trumpeter Dave Shuma says. “People know and love these songs, and they bring total joy to our audience.” His wife Wendy Martin-Shuma, a classically-trained French horn player who is a vocalist in the band, agrees. “We try to gear our playlist to our event to give folks there a great time,” she says, “and we love to get the audience involved.”
To that end, a crowd favorite is the group’s Carmen Miranda routine, complete with towering hats of fake fruit and a Conga line. “We had probably 120 people snaking around the Kettle Run cafeteria at our Big Band Sock Hop fundraiser,” Martin-Shuma says. And when the ensemble played the Delaplane Strawberry festival, “the Conga line was snaking around the hay bales,” laughs Martin-Shuma.
The Silver Tones is comprised of nineteen members, many of whom met in the Fauquier Community Band. They are “average Joes in our community,” Shuma says, with everyone from college students to engineers to retired county employees on board. “They’re like marathon runners – the more they rehearse, the better they get, and the longer they can play.” The Silver Tones’ personal record is 35 separate “charts” (the musical term for the arrangement of a given song) in one epic evening. “Our musicians are so dedicated, and we are so thankful for them,” says Martin-Shuma.
In addition to local events like First Friday and the Strawberry Festival, the Silver Tones have played for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the National Reconnaissance Office, Verdun Adventure Bound, and the Flying Circus Airshow. On August 26, they will be performing a Salute to the Troops Swing Dance at the Marshall Community Center. “Five retired service members are going to sing with the band,” Martin-Shuma says. “Three of them are soloists, and then a husband and wife team of Air Force members will be singing a duet.”
In September, the Silver Tones, who have so far raised $7,000 for local high school band programs, will be playing another Sock Hop fundraiser at Liberty High School in Bealeton. Details about all Silver Tones Swing Band events, as well as booking information, can be found on their website.