Rhythm Section

 

Bruce

Bruce Bjorna – Guitar

Bruce Bjorna watched the Ed Sullivan TV show in 1964 like thousands of kids his age, and saw something on the black and white screen “so cool” that it changed the direction of his life! The Beatles made an impression so profound that he harassed his parents until they finally gave him an electric guitar. He has been practicing, learning and playing ever since!

Bruce started his teaching career while attending high by teaching guitar at the local music store. He attended the University of Miami in Coral Gables Florida. Bruce studied with the renown virtuoso Juan Mercadal and became his graduate assistant teaching undergraduate classical guitar. Earning his Bachelor of Music degree and Master of Music Education degree, Bruce continued to expand his knowledge of music and teaching techniques.  He was a student of and classmate of soon to be famous Pat Metheny, Steve Morse, Jaco Pastorious and Bruce Hornsby. A very inspiring time to say the least!

Bruce has over thirty years experience teaching in public schools.  He has taught band, chorus, orchestra, jazz band, general music and guitar. He has prepared many high school guitarists to attend music school at the university level. Among his awards Bruce was the first music teacher to be recognized as a Deer Valley Unified School District Teacher of the Year.  His ensembles have won numerous superior ratings at state and regional festivals. At this stage in his life Bruce is still just as enthusiastic about guitar and music as that kid watching the Beatles on TV!

 

 

CAC conducting photo

Clark Chaffee – Drums

Clark Chaffe with extensive experience as a performer, conductor and music educator, also brings a unique blend of perspectives to the podium.  He is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy and has earned music degrees from University of Michigan
and Northern Illinois University.  NIU named him the 2014 Distinguished Alumist from the the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The Illinois ASTA chapter named him the 2011 Classroom Teacher of the Year. Clark, in addition to his ensembles, and the Stevenson High School music PLC team have been recognized by numerous organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts,  U.S. Department of Education,  Kennedy Center, Grammy Foundation and the Conductors Guild.   Clark remains active as a clinician and conductor since retiring from his career of building school orchestra and guitar programs.  He has extensive experience
conducting concert repertoire and has also directed opera and musical theater productions with a wide variety of ensembles and age levels.  Clark’s professional performing experience includes being a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, timpanist for the Chicago Civic Orchestra, Elgin Symphony and Rockford Symphony. Additionally,  Clark has been the drummer for the University of Michigan Big Band, drummer/vocalist for jazz bands and his own jazz quartet. Clark’s experience includes many concerts and recitals playing bass, cello, viola and classical guitar. Since moving to the Phoenix area in 2013, Clark has been an activeteacher, performer, and clinician.  In addition to his role as conductor of the West Valley Wind Ensemble, he conducts the Surprise Pops Band and  is Principal Viola in the
Sun City Chamber Orchestra.  He performs regularly (drummer/vocalist) in several West Valley jazz ensembles including the Sun City Stomperz (classic Dixieland) and the Encores Dance Band. Clark will be the timpanist for the 2016 tour of China for the
American Festival Orchestra.