Come waltz the night away in Vienna

January 12, 2010

By David Hayes

 Doug Longman, director of the Evergreen Philharmonic Orchestra, leads the Issaquah, Liberty and Skyline high schools' advanced-level orchestra in 2007 during their annual Swinging in Vienna public dance social at the Issaquah Community Center. Photo By Greg Farrar

Doug Longman, director of the Evergreen Philharmonic Orchestra, leads the Issaquah, Liberty and Skyline high schools' advanced-level orchestra in 2007 during their annual Swinging in Vienna public dance social at the Issaquah Community Center. Photo By Greg Farrar

It takes quite the social event in Issaquah to attract outsiders from as far away as Gig Harbor.

Jerry and Ruthie Cravens said in a 2007 interview that they love to don their finest formal wear — a flowing ballroom gown for her and a full tuxedo with tails and white gloves for him — to perform their favorite Viennese waltzes at the annual Swinging in Vienna dance.

“It’s not very often you get to dance to a live orchestra or band,” Jerry said.

Swinging in Vienna transforms the interior of the community center into a décor reminiscent of a starry night in Vienna and features the Evergreen Philharmonic Orchestra performing classic waltzes and the Issaquah High School Jazz Band jumping in for a mood change to swing tunes from yesteryear. What started as a way for local music programs to raise money evolved into one of THE social programs of the year in Issaquah.Director Doug Longman explained the origins of the event.

“We were looking to do a fundraiser for the orchestra, but I have an aversion to fundraisers that sell stuff you don’t need,” he said. “I wanted to do something that showcased what we do.”

The Evergreen Philharmonic Orchestra is made up of students from Issaquah, Skyline and Liberty high schools, as well as Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus. There are 72 students, who must audition to join the full orchestra.

In the past, Swinging in Vienna has sold out quickly, filling the venue with more than 300 patrons. One of the main attractions about the evening Longman has said he enjoys is how multigenerational it is — usually as many teens attend as adults. Also, he added, it’s not uncommon to see a grandfather sharing the dance floor with his granddaughter.

And if the thought of keeping up with intricate dance steps is daunting, fear not. Organizers offer breaks in the action to offer brief dance lessons.

Dancers don’t have to dress to the nines as much as the Cravens, but no jeans or sneakers will be allowed in this semi-formal affair.

If you go

12th annual Swinging in Vienna

7:30-10:30 pm. Jan. 17

Issaquah Community Center

Tickets are available at the door or at

http://evergreenphil.org

Students/seniors: $25 single, $40 couple

Adults: $35 single, $50 couple

David Hayes: 392-6434, ext. 237, dhayes@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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