Finding great songs to listen to, particularly tunes that make you want to get up and dance, is important and good for the soul, especially during a year like 2020. For mood-boosting music, locals can turn to the Warrenton-based Silver Tones Swing Band, a group of professional musicians from around NoVA. They’ve been performing livestreamed shows featuring swing-music hits throughout the pandemic, and are currently booking socially distant, outdoor shows throughout the region. (Pre-pandemic, the group regularly performed at performing arts centers, dance halls, community festivals, black tie events, private parties, wineries and nursing homes.) Here, we talk with Silver Tones Swing Band leader and trumpeter Dave Shuma and his wife, booking manager and band vocalist Wendy Marie, about the importance of music and what’s next for the band.
Tell us about the band’s background.
DS: I’ve always loved swing music. It is my favorite style of music. Wendy and I felt that there was a gap in our area, and an opportunity. This was something that we needed to do. I said, “I’d like to start a swing band.” I only had 10 pieces of music at that time, and now we have around 400 in our library. I asked Wendy, “Would you like to sing?” and she immediately came back and said yes. We got the musicians together and we were literally a garage band at the beginning.
WM: David and I started the band with our friends [in 2012]. I’m not a trained singer, but I am a classically trained musician. I played the French horn, and my training has given me a good ear for music and singing. I didn’t ever expect to be singing with a swing band. I really love it.
Why does swing music continue to resonate with people of all ages, especially during hard times?
DS: The foundation of this music started after the Depression, and then it turned into more swing-based music, and went all the way through the ’30s when there was so much resonance of the Depression, and as we came into World War II, the country was dealing with a catastrophic situation. The general attitude of the population could’ve been one of negativity, but this music, for some reason, has a very positive nature to it. It’s uplifting. It gets you through hard times.
What can fans expect from you in October?
DS: This is a unique period of time right now, as far as how the gigs are coming up [as of press time, the band was scheduled to appear at Middleburg Community Center on Oct. 9]. People are wanting something to happen; they know we’re working hard to keep our music alive. Individuals want the Silver Tones to come and play for them. I feel very honored that people feel good about us.