Bones Southwest is comprised of some of the most talented trombone players in the state of Arizona. Some professional, some retired professional, some long-time enthusiasts. Each member is a passionate aficionado of the trombone. Most every variation of the horn is represented from bass trombone to alto trombone .
The following is a partial list of the active player in the group:
Kelly has been playing trombone since the fifth grade where she made a choice between that and the clarinet. Music has always been an important part of Kelly’s life, both personally and professionally. She graduated from Western Illinois University with a BA in music therapy and then with a Masters of Social Work from California State University, and applied that education to become a rehabilitation therapist and music therapist with the state of California. Currently, Kelly is a social worker with the state of Arizona.Having moved to Arizona in 2011, Kelly is an integral part of Bones-Southwest, assisting with direction, assuring all music is available to everyone, and helping soloists prepare. Kelly lives in the Phoenix area and is the proud aunt of two wonderful nephews.
Kevin Bembry was born in Atlanta, Georgia and stayed there until the eighth grade. He attended high school and college in Iowa. In December of 1988, Kevin graduated with a degree in Music Education and minor in Spanish. He then moved to Arizona and worked at fast food restaurant for almost a year.
In the fall of 1989, he began a teaching position in Yuma and stayed there for 12 years. He returned to Phoenix in 2001 and taught 3 years in the Alhambra district and for the last 3 years has been teaching in the Littleton School District. Kevin is both a strong lead / solo player.
Earl Cosbey began playing the trombone in the 8th grade (1936) when the first band program was started at South Kitsap Jr.-Sr. High School at Port Orchard Washington. Classes were once a week for the first two years. During his junior and senior. years he won superior ratings as he competed as a trombone soloist in the National School Music Competitions. During this time he joined the Port Orchard Town Band and was also invited to join the Bremerton Elks Band.
In his junior year he was invited to play his contest solo, “Blue Bells Of Scotland” with the U.S. Navy Band stationed on the Battleship Arizona at one of their Sunday Band Concerts. This was a special honor. Earl attended the University of Washington playing 1st trombone in the Concert Band and the Marching Band directed by Prof Walter Welke, and the University Symphony Orchestra directed by Prof. George Kirshner. He studied trombone with Edward Benson, Prof. Walter Welke, Kenneth Cloud and Joseph Burnside.
Returning home his professional playing began after playing 1st trombone with the 701 AAF Band for three years. Joining the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Opera Orchestra and the Summer Symphony in the Parks Orchestra he had the privilige to play under such fine conductors as Manuel Rosenthal, Arthur Fiedler, Andre Kostelanetz, Alfred Wallenstein, Maurice Abavanel, Gaeamo Mevola, Milton Katims, Leopold Stokowski, Alexander Hilsgurg, Carlos Chavez, Jonathan Steinberg, Igor Stravinsky, Sir Thomas Beecham and Henri Mancini, among others.
As a freelance trombone player Earl was a member of the theater orchestras that played for the New York road companies for Oklahoma, Carousel, Music Man, Sound Of Music, West Side Story, Man of La Mancha, among others. He also played for other shows such as the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circuses, the Shrine Circus, Ice Follies, Ice Capades and Aqua Follies every year and played backup, accompanying solists such as Eartha Kit, Mel Torme, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin and Perry Como, among others. He also played shows such as Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis with whom he toured. Earl played with local dance bands when not working other gigs and played many miscellaneous gigs too numerous to mention. He is a member of the International Trombone Association.
Earl taught elementary, junior high school and high school band in the Seattle area for 35 years and taught brass students privately for 30 years at his studio in Burien Washington. After retiring in 1985, he and his wife, Ruth, traveled around the world, finally coming to the Sun Cities area in 1998. Earl started playing again and has been active in many stage bands, concert bands, and orchestra since that time, retiring from the Sun City Concert Band in 2007.
Earl has been especially interested in trombone ensembles since retiring and helped to organize the first trombone ensemble in the Seattle area. He returns to Harstene Island in Washington each summer and while in the Puget sound area plays with the original group. He is especially encouraged that Bob Weller has organized the Bones Southwest and feels it is a special privilege to play with so many great young players.
Michael Easton is the band director at Greenbriar Elementary in Glendale, Arizona. He plays first trombone in the Palmcroft Church Orchestra. He usually plays the first parts and leads by example with well developed chops and musicianship. Michael is a founding member of Bones Southwest, along with Bob Weller.
Ted Hale currently serves as the Deputy Director for the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records. In a previous life, Ted served as the General Manager of the Midland-Odessa Symphony and Chorale (from 1997-2006), helping foster a 20% increase in attendance and revenue. He was also principal trombone. Ted has toured, performed and recorded with Bob Hope, Dionne Warwick, the Spinners, Disney on Ice and others. He continues to perform with the Tempe Symphony, Southwest Symphony (NM) and other area ensembles, especially Southwest Bones.
Dick (Dr. Dick) Holt is the cheerleader of the group and has been dubbed Dr. Dick because of his readiness to bend a slide into submission. He also has a splendid background of playing behind many of the greats. Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Dinah Shore, Wayne Newton, Dorsey Orchestra, Temptations, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Ice Capades, Ringling Brothers Circus, parking lot carpet sales and a couple goat ropings (WHEW!!). Total lifetime net earnings from music of over $36.50. Dick used a lot of slide grease which adds up quickly.
One of the all-time great collectors of trombone recordings spanning over the past 60 years, Dick is well known for his unparalleled passion for all things trombone. It’s been rumored that he won’t allow a recording of any instrument OTHER than the trombone to be played in his home or car stereos!
Dick Johnson has a degree from Texas A&M in History and American Literature. After college, Dick became a member of the North Phoenix Baptist church in Phoenix, Arizona and has played in their orchestra for 26 years. In addition, he also played for 10 years in the well known Salt River Brass of Phoenix. Over the years Dick has had the opportunity to perform in show bands behind such performers as Gordon MacRae, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Glenn Campbell and Dale Evans ( yes, they played “Happy Trails To You”). Dick plays the bass trombone in Bones Southwest and lightens the mood with his wonderful laugh and warm personality.
Peter Kyhn moved to the Valley of the Sun in 2006 from Denver, CO where he played two seasons with the Rocky Mountain Brassworks British Brass Band. He is the Associate Pastor at Palm West Community Church in Sun City West. Peter started playing trombone in the third grade in Oakland, CA, was a member of the Weldonian Marching Band, and played under the legendary west coast arranger and band leader Lyle Bardo in Youth of America. While living in San Jose, CA he played with the Touch of Brass big band, under section leader Joe Davis, father of New York trombonist Mike Davis. He received a Bachelors of Art in Music Performance from California State University, East Bay, studying with Dan Livesay.
Michael Lake started playing trombone at age 10 growing up in Phoenix through his four years at Arizona State. Mid-way through college he picked up alto trombone, which he has played exclusively ever since. (Don’t ask him to play tenor – he doesn’t even remember the positions!) He considers himself blessed by having Warren “Jeff” Jefferies at Arcadia High School and Dan Haerle at ASU as his two indispensable early jazz mentors. At ASU, Gail Wilson and fellow Bones Southwest colleague Kevin Hedges gave him a solid technical foundation.
In 1978, Michael was to have studied with Frank Rosolino that summer under a National Endowment for the Arts grant, but due to Frank’s untimely death, Michael instead used the grant to study with trombonist George Lewis while spending the summer at the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, NY where he also studied under avant garde giants Anthony Braxton and The Art Ensemble of Chicago.
Leaving Phoenix after college, Michael lived and played professionally in Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Boston, and New York as a studio musician, and also played in a variety of latin and jazz bands in venues from Club Broadway to the Village Gate to Carnegie Hall. In Boston, Michael led a salsa band called Caribbean Express that was nominated for a Best Latin Album Grammy. Following that, he became an in-demand latin trombonist for Frankie Ruiz, Lalo Rodriguez, Ray Barretto and many others.
He recently moved back to his beloved Phoenix where his energy is now focused on raising his two young boys, growing his business, and playing trombone with groups like Bones Southwest. Michael owns a multimedia production studio where he writes and records. You can hear Michael’s arranging and trombone playing at www.altobone.com .
Bob Weller attended Coronado High School in Scottsdale, Arizona during the late ‘60s. He played tenor trombone through out high school. In addition to high school instrumental groups, Bob was also a three year All State band and orchestra member. Bob attended college at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona as a music education major. He studied tenor and bass trombone with John Shipp, David Walters and Gail Wilson. While at A.S.U., Bob was a member the Sun Devil marching band, wind ensemble, brass choir, orchestra and jazz band. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Education. While in college Bob joined the local musicians union and played professionally for fifteen years in the Phoenix area. During that time he had the opportunity to play in show bands behind artists such as Sammy Davis Jr., Barbara Eden, Liberace, Eddie Arnold, The Pointer Sisters, Glen Campbell, Mitzi Gaynor, Bill Cosby and Henry Mancini. His playing also included The Ringling Brothers Circus, Ice Follies and Ice Capades. Bob was also a member of the 108th Army Band stationed in Phoenix. The trombones were put away when the family activities and the day time teaching job became more important. Bob taught band in the Phoenix area for 34 years. His teaching included high school, middle school and elementary bands. On retirement from teaching the trombones came out of the closet. The trombone choir and other groups such as local big bands and orchestras have given Bob the chance to play again. Bob is a founding member and the leader of Bones Southwest. His many duties include: anchoring the bass trombone parts, maintaining the music folders, and organizing rehearsals and performances.