An internationally known guest artist will join musical forces with the Fort Smith Symphony this month for a melody-heavy evening for all to enjoy, said one official.

Led by music director John Jeter, the symphony and guest vocalist-pianist Dee Daniels will perform their "The Great Ladies of Swing" concert at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at the ArcBest Corp. Performing Arts Center, 55 S. Seventh St. The evening will feature "fun, unforgettable" renditions of music made famous by Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, George Gershwin and Duke Ellington, among others, said Jeter.

"This is a celebration of the swing music era, and it's a really high energy concert," he said. "Dee is a terrific vocalist. She has an international career, and like many jazz artists, she started out singing in a gospel church, which is similar to how a lot of famous people started."

According to, Daniels possesses a four-octave vocal range and has performed and recorded with such noted musicians as Benny Green, Houston Person, John Clayton, Cyrus Chestnut, Wycliffe Gordon, Russell Malone, Benny Golson, Steve Wilson and Ken Peplowski, among numerous others.

In 2013 and 2014, Daniels taught at Queens College in New York. In 2001, she was named the artistic director of the Frank DeMiero Jazz Festival, a camp dedicated to jazz vocals that involved about 60 participating schools.

"We are extra excited because we invited Dee Daniels to come perform with us a couple of years ago," Jeter said. "Dee had to cancel back then for health reasons, so this event is sort of a delayed engagement with her. We are really happy that Dee Daniels will be able to be here with us."

Becky Yates, director of marketing and stage management for the Fort Smith Symphony, agreed.

"Dee Daniels is an incredible vocalist, and with a full orchestra behind her, it will be an incredible, high-energy event," she said. "It will be a wonderful jazz show, and we are glad we are bringing her here."

Among the set-list selections will be Donald Rose's arrangement of George Gershwin's "Overture to Funny Face," as well as Robert Russell Bennett's "symphonic picture" of Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess," Jeter said.

Other well-known compositions will include "There'll Be Some Changes Made," "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," "God Bless the Child," "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)," among others, he said.

"The Gershwin material is Gershwin's music, obviously, but it's arranged by Robert Russell Bennett," Jeter said. "In the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, Robert Russell Bennett was kind of the arranger in America.

"There are few times where an arranger becomes as respected as composers," he added. "Robert Russell Bennett was that."

Audience members will be impressed with Daniels' singing and piano abilities, Jeter said.

"Dee Daniels is singing some really great material," he said. "She can do lyrical, very soulful singing, and man, the arrangements are high-powered and excellent for the orchestra.

"She is performing with us, and she also will do some more intimate pieces with a jazz trio onstage," Jeter added. "It's a really nice mix, and all of the arrangements are great."

Tickets for "The Great Ladies of Swing" are $17 and $22 for students and $40 and $45 for adults and can be purchased by calling (479) 452-7575.

"Not to confuse things, but the Fort Smith Symphony also is excited about playing our annual 'Earquake!' event, which happens Oct. 23," Jeter said.

Each year, "Earquake!" is offered to participating schools as a way of promoting music and encouraging students to become creative in music, art, dance and more, he said.

"We are performing for 78 schools for 'Earquake!' — that's about 4,000 kids this year," Jeter said. "That includes smaller schools and home-schooled groups, and we will be showing 1,000 pieces of art that the students created and painted for us.

"Images of this artwork will be seen, and there will be art that will be seen in the lobby," he added. "We are expanding 'Earquake!' to get kids more involved, so they can have that creativity. It's great to have that huge swath of schools involved with 'Earquake!'"