Pop/Latin Jazz trumpetist and vocalist David Longoria received the royal treatment from King County dignitaries when he returned to his hometown of Renton, Washington — a suburb of Seattle — this month for a benefit concert for the local Salvation Army.
At the concert, King County Executive Dow Constantine was on hand to present Longoria with a certificate and proclaim May 15, 2012, officially “David Longoria Day.”
“Whereas, David Longoria shared his love of music from a very early age …” the proclamation began, detailing the youth’s decision to play trumpet after listening to Dixieland/jazz great Al Hirt, his purchase of a $65 trumpet from a local pawn shop — the same horn which Longoria has played for hundreds of thousands on concert stages and other musical venues around the globe — and playing in a Salvation Army brass band, to recording his first album at the age of 17 and going on to record music for television and movie soundtracks, perform and record with, to name a few, the likes of James Brown, Marvin Gaye, and Foreigner, as well as his hit collaboration “Deeper Love,” with Cece Peniston.
A representative of the Renton Municipal Arts Commission, Ben Andrews, also honored Longoria and commended him on his efforts to share his musical talents and joy of music with the Renton community.
Longoria was contacted by Renton Salvation Army Capt. Chris Aird and lent his talents to the event because he got his start in the music world learning to play a horn in Renton Salvation Army music programs.
“I am happy to be able to come back to Renton to perform because this fund raising concert gives back some needed money to help this valuable music program for kids in the area,” Longoria told the hundreds of fans that gathered at the IKEA Performing Arts Center in Renton to enjoy the two-hour concert.
“When I was growing up poor, The Salvation Army gave me free music lessons here in Renton,” Longoria said, adding, “That gave me a lot more than just the education in music. It allowed me to pursue my dream. There are a lot of kids who benefit directly from education in music, sports and the arts. Without that one-on-one support many kids may never gain the confidence that they can excel at something and follow their own dreams.”
Longoria also praised The Salvation Army for bridging a gap that’s often left open in recent years due to educational budget cuts.
“With the reduction of music programs in public schools, programs like The Salvation Army is providing here in Renton have become a necessity,” he said. “They also provide for the spiritual needs with their church, food bank and free music programs.”
In addition to setting toes tapping and bodies swaying during the concert with several of Longoria’s original classic pop and jazz tunes, the trumpetist hit some of his signature, seldom heard by other artists’ high notes, and impressed the crowd with live song and dance augmented by a backdrop of video from his PBS TV special, “David Longoria: Baila!”
The trumpetist’s current dance hit “Zoon Baloomba,” also seemed to strike the right note with the crowd’s mix of high school students, and 20-somethings to older folks, as many listeners appeared ready to jump out of their seats and hit the dance floor.
“Zoon Baloomba, Zoon Baloomba,” several sang along with the powerful musical beat.
Music from other artists, which Longoria produced, also was highlighted at the event, including Del Oro Music artist Lakotah, with her Billboard charting hit, “Falling;” pop singer April Diamond with her new hit, “Lose Control;” and, a special preview of Bratrocker Juliet B. Rock’s new video and single, “Chocolate.”
There were smiling faces and the humming of several Longoria tunes as the crowd filed out of the performing arts center at the conclusion of the concert. Many surrounded Longoria in the hope of getting a photo with the artist or having him recall some Renton memory or familiar face.
Former Renton High School student Mary Gladding, of Kent, Wash., attended the event with her 83-year-old mom, Betty McNeelan. Gladding said she’s been a fan of Longoria for many years and still has video archived of some of his early performances. Although she didn’t attend Renton High the same years as Longoria, she recalls his early wit and extraordinary talent. “That was kinda cool,” Gladding said of the concert, adding, “He’s the same David, the same talented guy. The whole evening was enjoyable, because he was his same funny self. All the fame hasn’t gone to his head.”