March 11, 2011 in Features

Gemberlings, SJO set to smolder

Lewiston duo headlines Saturday’s ‘Smoldering Swing’ show at Bing
By The Spokesman-Review
If you go

Spokane Jazz Orchestra, “Smoldering Swing” with Kathleen and Gary Gemberling

When: Saturday, 8 p.m.

Where: Bing Crosby Theater, 901 W. Riverside Ave.

Cost: $26.50/adults, $23/military/students/seniors

Call: TicketsWest outlets (800-325-SEAT,

Young Giants of Jazz

 Saturday’s Spokane Jazz Orchestra concert also will feature winners of the Giants of Jazz competition for high school students.

 This year’s winners are Ferris High School bassist Ben Vogel; Riverside High School alto saxophonist Caleb Brown; and Oakesdale High School tenor saxophonist Michael Conklin.

Kathleen and Gary Gemberling are in sync when it comes to music.

The Lewiston-based husband-wife duo met when when they were playing the same show at a Busch Gardens Theme Park in Virginia. They’ve been performing together ever since.

They both sing and Gary plays trumpet, sharing the stage with various jazz big bands around the region.

On Saturday, they’re the featured guests for the Spokane Jazz Orchestra’s “Smoldering Swing” concert at the Bing Crosby Theater, 901 W. Sprague Ave.

The Gemberlings will be singing together and separately during the second half of the concert, performing charts arranged by retired Washington State University professor Charles Argersinger and University of Idaho educator and arranger, composer, conductor and percussionist Dan Bukvich.

“I love singing in a big band; unfortunately there’s not a lot of opportunities to play as much as I’d like. I mean, who wants to hire a 22-piece band?” Kathleen Gemberling said in a telephone interview.

“Most of what I’m doing is concert fundraisers where I’m donating my time, so it’s very exciting to come up to Spokane and play with the SJO.”

Gary is the more experienced of the two, having performed with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Lou Rawls and The Temptations, among others, and toured nationally with Broadway musicals.

Kathleen tours around the Northwest as a member of big band vocal quartet The Hamptones, alongside their son, Kyle, who sings and studies trumpet at the University of Idaho.

The Gemberlings’ daughter, Hanna, also plays trumpet as well as piano.

“She won’t be joining us (at the SJO show) because she has another gig,” Kathleen said.

She and Gary have been married for 21 years, and have played music together the whole time.

“It’s good, but it’s not full-time,” she said. “We have day jobs. I work at a law office and Gary teaches high school. The gigs – those are our dates.

“I’m so in awe of him musically, everything is a good idea. When we’re grocery shopping it’s a different story.”

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