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What People are Saying about HornPipes!

  • "I first listened to 'HARK!' whilst driving, and after a few minutes just had to pull over as my concentration was dominated by the terrific playing - to the potential detriment of other road-users. This is a recording that all music-lovers - not just trumpeters, organists and those who like Christmas to wash over them - will wish to savour many times." -- Jonathan Willcocks, English composer/conductor

  • "Pamela Smitter is a fresh voice in the trumpet world. Her musical expression has purpose, her phrasing is compelling, and her tone is full, colorful, and Romantic in the best sense. Most importantly, she makes her instrument sing. In a world where artistry often takes a backseat to soulless technique, Pamela distinguishes herself by giving the trumpet a human voice." -- Scott Speck, conductor and author  
  • HARK! A Christmas celebration for Trumpet and Organ is very delightful with an excellent well balanced programme inspired by contrasted sources including Gregorian and choral. Both trumpet and organ play very effectively with expressiveness and strong rhythmic drive. In particular, I love your playing of my Rondo for Christmas, as you understood the very character of my music. Accurate with a strong projection and so poetical. --Dr. Naji Hakim, composer, organist, improviser
  • "I have happy thoughts of your fine playing. I enjoy listening to a trumpeter with a sense of phrasing and line, and who playes well enough that I can forget about the instrument and just enjoy the music. You are one of those players. I hope that I remembered to tell you that your soft attacks (especially in the high register) are to die for." -- Stephen Chenette, President (2003-2005), International Trumpet GuildFormer principal trumpet - Minneapolis Symphony/Minnesota Orchestra, Boston Pops, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Professor Emeritus - University of Toronto.
  • I want to thank you for including my composition "The Adoration of the Shepherds" on your recent "Hark!" CD.  I find the CD engaging, enjoyable, and interesting.  The varied repertoire of traditional, classical and contemporary Christmas music created a recording that stands out from the usual holiday fare. The performance of "The Adoration of the Shepherds" captures the essence of my music, creating the mystical atmosphere of the Christmas story that I was aiming for.  The playing of the trumpet and organ is expressive and beautiful, with the creative choice of organ stops helping to create a special sonic ambiance." -- Ronald Royer, composer

  •  "Pam, thank you for that brilliant concert! You two never let up on the difficulty of the rep or the energy you brought to it. I have much music and many pondering about the performance in my head today. Thank you!!" -- Nick Palmer, Composer/Music Director at St. Andrew Cathedral

  •  "Pam, your Grand Rapids CD release concert was awesome!  Your CD with Michael, “HARK!”, is thrilling.  I listened to it in my car on the way to work, and it lifted my sprits for that whole day. I have listened to it on my home stereo and the quality is magnificent.   I can’t put into words how much I like it." -- Bruce Robey, audience member.


General Press Articles about Pamela and/or Michael

  •  "WSSO 'manufactures' plans for next year"    The Muskegon Chronicle.  Lee Lupo

"Roman Festivals" includes a gladiator fight in the Colisseum, complete with lion. In this concert, the WSSO will showcase Principal Trumpet player, Pamela Smitter Baker, who will perform Hummel's "Trumpet Concerto" -- and perhaps another Roman surprise."

Published: Saturday, May 31, 2008



  • "SL native, trumpet player to make solo debut"    The Muskegon Chronicle.  Lee Lupo

Pamela Smitter Baker has been the WSSO's principal trumpet player since 1996.  Following the advice of symphony marketing director Tim Lopez, who said "go big or go home," Pamela Smitter Baker will stand on the Frauenthal stage in a "gorgeous" red dress for her solo debut with the West Shore Symphony Orchestra.

Baker, a Spring Lake native, has been the orchestra's principal trumpet player since 1996 and will help kick off the 69th season this weekend as the featured guest artist for "Roman Festivals." She will play Hummel's "Trumpet Concerto," one of the classic trumpet concertos.

The WSSO's first classical concert of the season melds the music of French composer Hector Berlioz and Italian composer Ottorino Respighi in a festive and harmonic expression of ancient and modern Rome.

It also highlights the full breadth of the orchestra's musicians, who are drawn from throughout the state. Additional musicians will join the orchestra's core group to accommodate the musical magnitude of the program.

West Shore's average orchestra size is approximately 65 musicians; "Roman Festivals" will feature around 85 players.

Published: Sunday, September 21, 2008, 9:58 PM     


  • "Year in Review: Top 10 features and entertainment stories of 2008"     Chronicle staff compiled the top feature and entertainment news in West Michigan in 2008.

"9. Big names, big budget highlight symphony season

West Shore Symphony Orchestra hit a couple of milestones this past year. First, the 2008-2009 budget reached $1 million for the first time. Also, the WSSO announced a 30-percent increase in pay for section, associate principal and principal players effective for the 2008-09 season. The pay hike was necessary to make the WSSO more competitive and to build a cohesive ensemble, according to Carla Hill, WSSO president and CEO.

The symphony featured a variety of top-notch guest artists including Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel in Disney's "The Little Mermaid," the Grammy-nominated Eroica Trio and most recently Muskegon native and Broadway star Gilles Chiasson. It tapped some of its own members, principal trumpet player Pamela Smitter Baker and first-chair clarinetist and personnel manager Jonathan Holden, to also perform as soloists with the orchestra.

In August, the WSSO moved its music outdoors, offering three free concerts in surrounding communities. The symphony initiated the summer concert series in 2006 in Montague, Fremont and Spring Lake by securing funding through their community foundations and other funds. After taking a break in 2007, the free outdoor concerts returned thanks to continued support from residents and the organizations."

Published: Sunday, December 28, 2008