Valentine's big band concert slated Feb. 9

Elmer Ramsey's annual CLU show features vocal duo

Elmer Ramsey, a CLU professor emeritus of music, began playing trumpet professionally at the age of 14.

Photo: Brian Stethem

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Jan. 18, 2013) Elmer Ramsey’s annual concert of big band music and love songs celebrating Valentine’s Day will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at California Lutheran University.

“A Valentine Concert: Elmer Ramsey, His Trumpet and Orchestra” will be presented in Samuelson Chapel. Ramsey and the Conejo Pops Orchestra will perform music from great artists of the big band era including Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Harry James, Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw.

Dynamic vocal duo Nancy Osborne and Ned Rifken will perform with the orchestra. Osborne, a Westlake Village resident, has been featured with such big bands as the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Tex Beneke, Ray Anthony and Johnny Vana’s Big Band Alumni. In addition to performing in films and on stage and television, Osborne produced her own 17-piece big band CD, “Hot Swing, Cool Jazz.”

Rifken has headlined more than 600 shows as the “Ambassador of Swing” for Carnival, Holland America, Regent Seven Seas and other cruise lines. On land, he performs with Ned Rifken and the Hipmunks, a classic jazz quartet made up of top musicians from the Los Angeles area. The group’s CD, “No Worries,” features Rifken’s original song by the same title. As part-time singing partners, he and Osborne star in their original show, “Swingin’ Vegas is Back!”

Daniel Geeting, a member of the CLU music faculty, will be featured on clarinet.

Ramsey, a CLU professor emeritus of music, began playing trumpet professionally at the age of 14 and three years later had his own ‘40s-style big band on a Washington radio station. He made West Coast tours with Mel Tormé and other popular singers. He made his conducting debut at the age of 21 at the Portland Civic Theatre.

Ramsey came to Los Angeles in 1956 and two years later made his Southern California debut at the Hollywood Bowl. He conducted concerts for 18 years at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and conducted for motion pictures.

During his 27-year tenure at CLU, he helped found and served as artistic director of the Oakleaf Music Festival and served as music director and conductor of the Conejo Symphony Orchestra. The recipient of many community honors has been credited with launching Conejo Valley’s music culture and keeping it alive for decades.

Ramsey has been music director of the Conejo Pops Orchestra for more than 30 years. Many members of the orchestra are CLU alumni and have also performed with Harry James, Glenn Miller and Tex Beneke orchestras.

Admission is $20 for adults and $10 for students. The chapel is located south of Olsen Road near Campus Drive on the Thousand Oaks campus. For more information, call the Music Department at 805-493-3306 or visit