Sue Orfield and Ellen Whyte have performed locally at the Lamar Music Festival in the past, and are well-known at many regional clubs such as the Dakota in Minneapolis. “We are once again thrilled to host artists of this caliber in our historic venue in downtown St. Croix Falls,” stated Liz Reddy, Marketing Assistant for Festival Theatre. “The Whyte Orfield Band promises to deliver one stellar night for every connoisseur of jazz and blues music.”
Sue Orfield plays the tenor saxophone with the whimsy of Sonny Rollins, the passion of Kurt Cobain, the soul of Bill Withers, and the joy of Ella Fitzgerald. Along with a compelling mastery of her instrument, Sue brings to the stage a powerful presence and joy of all things musical. Sue has played with many musical greats over the years, including Bo Diddley, Bobby McFerrin, The Indigo Girls, Ann Wilson (Heart), Dizzy Gillespie, Ivan Neville, and Jo Dee Messina, among others. She tours internationally with several groups, including The Tiptons Sax Quartet (formerly The Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet) (Seattle/NYC), and Ellen Whyte (Portland).
Her own group, The Sue Orfield Band (SOB), highlights Orfield's talents as a composer as well as a player. SOB was voted Best Jazz Band in Volume One's "Best of the Chippewa Valley 2009" reader poll. Sue makes her home in the Chippewa Valley of Wisconsin, and plays locally with bands from all over Wisconsin and Minnesota, including The Chippewa Valley Jazz Orchestra, AcoustiHoo, Catya's Trio, The Butanes, Deep Water Reunion and many more.
Three-time Grammy award nominee Ellen Whyte, an accomplished singer songwriter, has fronted bands continuously now for more than thirty years, and she has seven critically acclaimed albums. She was captivated by music since she was a child growing up in Fort Lauderdale Florida. Leaving the humidity and the taffeta dresses of her accordion marching band behind, Ellen branched out to blue grass, gospel, rock, blues and jazz. Her eclectic tastes in music include heroes such as Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Joni Mitchell, and Bonnie Raitt.
Ellen is known for her astonishing vocals, as she gracefully moves among genres from blues to jazz to funk and ballads. Her percussive rhythm guitar work is well suited to her voice, and she plays solo, in duos and trios, up to a full nine piece band complete with a horn section. She’s won numerous awards for her work, including consideration for two Grammy Award nominations in 1999 and most recently in 2009 for “Four Way Stop.”
Speaking of such, Grammy award producer Dennis Walker had this to say after working on the third CD, Standing at the Sunrise: “She not only sings like an angel, but brings her own styling and phrasing to every song that is completely individual. Thank God for Ellen Whyte who is one of the last few who can still sing blues and pop and jazz, and still stand up on a stage and sing big band standards with the best of them.”
Tickets for this concert are $21 in advance and $26 at the door. Reservations for this and other upcoming concerts, including Alice Peacock on November 1st, Lynne Rothrock & the Mood Swingers on November 8th, and Colleen Raye with the Girl Singers of the Hit Parade Christmas Show on December 6th, can be made by calling the box office at 715-483-3387, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or online HERE. Box office hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and one hour prior to show times.