Sandra Marlowe is featured singer for first concert

Published in the October 10 – 23, 2018 issue of Morgan Hill Life

Photo courtesy South Valley Symphony
Sandra Marlowe will perform hits from the silver screen with the South Valley Symphony Oct. 13.

Get ready for “A Night at the Oscars” Oct. 13 at Gavilan College Theater. The divine diva Sandra Marlowe returns to South Valley for a performance featuring music from the movies — and more. The singer known throughout the Bay Area for her smooth jazz voice, will be the featured soloist at the South Valley Symphony’s opening concert.

Now a resident of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Marlowe will make a homecoming trip this month to perform with the SVS orchestra music popular tunes from the swing era as well as songs featured in film.

“I am delighted and honored to be singing with the South Valley Symphony, which is an iconic organization that I know from the many years I lived in Gilroy and worked in Morgan Hill,” she said in a telephone interview. “They had invited me about a year ago to be part of their season this year, and at the time I didn’t know I would be in the process of relocation. I did commit to the show and I’m so delighted to be coming back.”

The “Night at the Oscars” concert opens the symphony’s 45th season. Marlowe encourages people attending to dress up in Academy Award-style fashion dresses or tuxedos to get into the spirit of attending the show honoring Hollywood’s yesteryears.

“I think it would be great,” she said. “I have been out roaming the wilds of Idaho where I live now looking for an appropriate outfit. But I have a great pair of shoes.”

Planned for performance are “The Star-Spangled Banner” (a SVS tradition of opening every season with a patriotic flair), “West Side Story” Medley (in honor of Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday year), famed composer John Williams’ “Adventures on Earth” from “E.T.,” Glazunov’s “The Seasons: Autumn,” “A Tribute to Walt Disney,” Elmer Bernstein’s rousing theme from the western “The Magnificent Seven,” and Richard Strauss’s waltz made famous in the Stanley Kubrick film “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

“The symphony had a composer who added some strings to three of the swing arrangements … so it will pull in musicians from the symphony to do the big band thing,” Marlowe said. “It’s a new deal for the symphony to be exploring some exciting possibilities and including swing and jazz as part of the big picture of American music.”

Until she moved recently to Idaho, Marlowe lived in Gilroy for 22 years and taught in the community at the Music Academy. She also privately instructed music at Morgan Hill’s St. John the Divine Episcopal to junior high and high school students as well as young professional singers.

Born into a family of singers, musicians and poets on the rural plains of North Dakota, Marlowe’s solo career began at the tender age of six with a shy, but righteous rendition of “Do, Lord!” before an old-time, revival meeting congregation. A keen ear and a kernel of talent led to years of study, both academic and private, in voice, piano, opera, acting, drama, dance, composition and musicianship.

While a student at De Anza College and San Jose State University, she performed with San Jose Community Opera Theatre. Marlowe credits much of her interpretative and performing style to five years of intense study with legendary vocal coach Judy Davis, whose A-list of former students included Frank Sinatra, Barbara Streisand, and Janice Joplin.

Marlowe has embraced a lifelong love for big band and swing music. She has appeared at festivals on both East and West coasts with the Los Angeles-based “Avalon Cats” swing band. Marlowe has also been a featured singer with South Bay Swing Band, a 17-piece traditional big band working California’s Bay Area and Central Coast. She recorded a CD titled “Uptown Stomp” with them.

The performer encourages families who have never attended a symphonic concert to try out the South Valley Symphony’s opening Oct. 13 season concert because it will be a fun introduction to hear live music they’ll be familiar with from the film industry.


“I just think it’s going to be fun. I think people have an image when they hear orchestra and symphony — those words — that it’s going to be stuffy or something they’re not going to understand,” Marlowe said.

“Surprisingly, when I’ve done gigs and there happens to be young people at the venue which are family friendly, the kids are usually fascinated because they’re hearing things and their brains and their ears are taking this in as something new,” she said. “It’s not just the rap or the hip-hop that they’re hearing all the time as a backdrop to their lives. Any time that you hand them something like that, young people are usually pretty fascinated.”

SVS music director and conductor Anthony Quartuccio is excited to create an amazing experience for the audience with Marlowe’s solo performance at the October concert.

“She just brings so much star quality to the stage,” he said. “I’ve just got to say, people are going to be truly entertained by her impressive singing voice and fun way of interacting with the audience and the musicians. Sandra is truly a treat I encourage people who enjoy good music to experience.”


Marty Cheek

Marty Cheek

Publisher at Morgan Hill Life
Marty Cheek is the publisher of Morgan Hill Life and Gilroy Life. He is also the co-author with Congressman Jerry McNerney of the book Clean Energy Nation: Freeing America From the Tyranny of Fossil Fuels.
Phone: (408) 782-7575
Marty Cheek