These are players who have previously played with Bones Southwest or visited our rehearsals. Some are well-known and even famous musicians.
James Arthur was born in Portsmouth, Ohio but grew up and went to school in Minford, Ohio. He went to The Ohio State University under Joseph Duchi (bass trombonist in the Columbus Symphony Orchestra) where he performed with the Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, Symphony Orchestra, Men’s Glee Club, Marching Band and other groups. He was also a substitute trombonist with the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra.
James moved to Phoenix in 2005 and plays with the Arizona Winds Premier Concert Band, Bones Southwest, the Scottsdale Symphony Orchestra and euphonium in the Glendale Summer Band. He also plays the piano. He worked for the Washington Elementary School District for three years and is now the band director at Madison Park Middle School in the Madison Elementary School District.
Kelly Baker 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.
George Berry began playing the drums in the junior high school band when he was 12. He picked up the bass fiddle at 15 by signing up for what he thought was the beginning orchestra. Instead, he had inadvertently signed on for the regular orchestra. Fortunately, he was a quick study and found his talent / love for playing bass.
George attended North Texas State University from 1956 to 1958 where he was a member of the Five Front Lab Band. While in college he played weekends with the Ted Weems Orchestra .At age 20, George was hired for a 40 hour a week summer job as a studio musician, the staff bass player at Commercial Recording Corporation in Dallas . On his 21st birthday, George went on the road with Hal McIntyre’s Orchestra. During his time with McIntyre, Nelson Riddle fronted the band for two tours with Nat King Cole, one including Connie Francis.
George’s career continued to flourish as he performed with such names as Bill Norvus and the Upstarts, Woody Herman, Med Flory, Johnny Smith, Louie Bellson, Ralph Marterie, Ronny Dawson, Kenny Rogers, John Denver, Gordon Mcrae, Homer & Jethro, Calvin Owens, Jimmy Ford, Willie Nelson, Paul Buskirk, Ray Baduc, Ray Petersen, Dakota Staten, Little Esther Phillips, Sergio Franchi, Arnett Cobb, Vicki Carr and The Gulf Coast giants of Jazz. While with the house band at the Cork Club in Houston, among the stars he accompanied were John Carroll, Marie Wilson, Gogi Grant, and Robert Goulet.
He was Mel Torme’s bass player of choice whenever Torme performed in Houston . In his late thirties George retired from full time music performance to raise a family. He always worked his “day job” while playing part time in the evenings and on weekends
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!
Clark Chaffee 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 active teacher, 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.
Bob Cochran started playing the trombone at age 12. His trombone teachers include Jack Harris, Lauren Buslee, Robert Bailey, Edward Huttlin and Tom Ervin. Bob has attended clinics given by Urbie Green, Ralph Sauer and Bob McChesney. Bob competed as a trombone soloist in music contests through junior high and high school. He was selected as first chair in the Minnesota All State High School Honors Band in the summer of 1975. The following summer, he was named principal trombonist with the Minnesota All State High School Honors Orchestra. He was lucky enough to play alongside Bruce Eidem (now a top New York professional trombonist) in the Fargo-Moorhead Youth Symphony, and assumed the principal chair duties when Bruce graduated from high school.
As a trombone performance major at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, Bob was a featured soloist with the Concordia concert band, jazz ensemble, orchestra and brass ensembles. He played lead trombone in a “Twenty-One Trombones” section that backed Urbie Green when Mr. Green visited Fargo North, Dakota in 1980. Bob played first trombone with the Fargo-Moorhead Opera and was a substitute trombonist with the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony from 1974 to 1981. Bob’s horn was silent for 12 years as he served in the US Army, pursued more schooling, and started his civilian career as a software engineer.Today, Bob is active with Bones Southwest and miscellaneous groups in the Phoenix area. He enjoys playing “church gigs” and working on personal recording projects at home.
Kevin Hedges has been playing and teaching around the valley for over 40 years. Throughout that time, he has become known as one of the most versatile trombonists around.
Proficient in both the tenor and alto trombones, Kevin’s performance career has included broadway shows, major entertainers, brass quintets, symphonies, and jazz big bands. As an accomplished educator, Kevin has taught many of the trombonists in the valley playing professionally today.
Kevin graduated ASU with a Music Performance Degree studying under Gail Wilson. He studied with other great performers and teachers like Jay Friedman, Frank Crisafulli, Edward Kleinhammer, and Arnold Jacobs of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. While teaching at ASU, he won the prestigious ASU’s Concert of Soloists award.
In his capacity as a classical trombonist, Kevin has played with The Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Civic Orchestra, The Southwest Brass Quintet, the Brevard Music center Orchestra, the American Wind Symphony, and the San Salvador International Music Festival Symphony Orchestra.
Kevin lives with his wife of 24 years in Tempe and enjoys going on long walks with her, as well as hiking and bicycling.
Tom Haberman has been a professional drummer, bandleader, show conductor, arranger and contractor for over 30 years. He has had the opportunity to work with many stars including Neil Sedaka, Maureen McGovern, Michel LeGrand, Tommy Tune, Lucie Arnaz, Petula Clark, Shirley Jones and Diana Ross. Tom was also the drummer on the 2006-7 Ray Charles Tribute US Tour. Throughout the 1990s, he was Musical Director on the world’s number one cruise ship (Berlitz Guide), the Royal Viking Sun, where he completed 6 World Cruises and backed over 150 different shows each year. He has also worked many years as a Musical Director for such cruise lines as Norwegian Cruise Line, Cunard Line, Ltd, Crystal Cruises and Princess Cruises. Tom was selected from national auditions to be a member of Disney’s 20 piece All American College Band where he backed jazz celebrities. He received a BA degree in 1984. Tom studied psychology at the University of Rochester and percussion / jazz studies at the Eastman School of Music. He recently completed his MS degree in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship program at Full Sail University. He now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with his wife, Shara. Tom continues to work in the travel industry in addition to freelance gigs for conventions, recording sessions and other venues of varying styles of music throughout the “Valley of the Sun”. Tom comes from an artistic family. His father, Daniel, founded America’s Poets Corner at the Cathedral of St. John the Devine (NYC) in 1984 and his step mother is renowned concert pianist and Steinway Artist Barbara Nissman. His interests include the NY Yankees, playing tennis, movies, travel, and presidential trivia.
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!
Ned Kuivinen began piano lessons at 8 and grew into an extremely versatile musician, eventually learning clarinet, alto, tenor and bari sax, french horn and alto horn. While earning his Bachelor of Science degree at Ohio State University, he played alto horn in the University’s marching band
Pursuing a medical career, Ned received his M.D. at Ohio State, interned and did his residency at the University of Oklahoma, and did his residency in Pathology at the University of California, San Francisco. From there, Ned dedicated his professional life to Pathology, leading up to becoming the Medical Director, Clinical Laboratory and Chairman of the Department of Pathology at the W.O. Boswell Memorial Hospital.
Since his retirement, Ned has been extremely active in music, playing in the Phoenix College Jazz and Concert Bands, the Scottsdale Community College Jazz Band and several area 17-piece jazz ensembles, octets, sextets and quintets. A prolific writer as well, Ned has written approximately 300 arrangements for those ensembles.
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.
Erik Ketcherside has been a school band director, arts administrator (San Antonio Symphony, Ballet Arizona), journalist, and author. Playing credits include the Topeka Symphony, Topeka Civic Theatre, the Capital Brass, San Antonio Wind Symphony, San Pedro Playhouse, Arizona Broadway Theatre, Sonoran Serenade, and more churches than God probably had in mind. Erik is the only trombonist he knows who plays a Rath — the finest instrument ever created by man. His lovely daughter Erinn took the picture.
Kevin Krull has been playing professionally since the early 1970’s. He dropped out of college to run away and join the circus, where he played in the band. After returning to college and working as a musician, he received a BA in music from Cal State, Hayward.
He has performed with Steve Allen, Robert Goulet, Jerry Vale, Ray Charles, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Igor’s Jazz Cowboys, Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Great America Theme Park, Messiah Brass Ensemble, Bay Bones, Great London Circus, Mary Lou Metsker, Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Chicago Six, Harry Blackstone Jr., Connie Francis, and the 52nd Street Band. More of a jazz player than classical, Kevin is currently playing casuals with several jazz bands in the area. His day job is at Scottsdale Insurance as an underwriter.
John Lofton holds the the Mr. and Mrs.E. Louis Werner Jr. Bass Trombone Chair with the Phoenix Symphony. He was born and raised in Philadelphia and began playing trombone when he was eight. In third grade, an elementary school music program recruiter noticed that Lofton had the longest arms in the class; thus, it was decided that he would play the trombone. From middle school through high school John began studying at the Settlement Music School of Philadelphia., a private institution dedicated to providing well-rounded music education with the emphasis on instruction from teachers of the highest levels, including members of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Upon graduation Lofton continued his education at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, where he received his bachelor’s of music degree in 1977. Along with learning and studying, the conservatory experience included many opportunities to perform with a wide range of ensembles. From Renaissance music to electronic music, and with trios to double orchestra-sized ensembles, Lofton’s conservatory background featured a well-rounded approach to music education. Even though he has had many fine teachers – including Edwin Anderson, Arthur Blatt Glenn Dodson, Louis Van Haney Robert Harper and Charles Vernon – his primary teacher, Thomas Cramer, was and still remains one of the most positive and powerful influences on his life.
In 1977 Lofton began his professional orchestra career in Mexico as bass trombonist with the State Orchestra of Mexico. He worked and lived in Toluca, Mexico, for three years before moving to Hawaii and assuming the position of bass trombonist with the Honolulu Symphony in 1980. In 1984 John began his tenure with The Phoenix Symphony also as a bass trombonist.
Michael Rebb is a native of Phoenix. He graduated from Grand Canyon University and has a Masters from Ottawa University. Michael has been a band director for 19 years. Currently he is the music director at Trevor Browne High School which includes marching band, concert band, jazz band, percussion ensemble and orchestra. In addition, Michael has been performing for 25 years. He has performed with such groups as The Rebbs, About Town, Beatalls, Jenny Lynn and the Men, Shelly Standing-Standing Room Only.
Michael has also with artists such as Beth Lederman, Barb Catlin, Mike King, Mike Shellans, Ted Sistrunk, Dr. Mazzatenta, Thomas Oliver and Pete Pancrazi. Currently, Michael is a freelance musician with local jazz bands, classic rock bands and churches. Peoria Arizona is home with his wife Kristin and my two teenage daughters Micaela and Isabella.
Ralph Sauer is the recently retired Principal Trombonist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Sauer joined the orchestra in 1974, after serving as the Principal Trombonist of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for six years. During that time, he was also the Principal Trombonist with the Canadian Opera Company and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and taught at the University of Toronto. Sauer made his Los Angeles Philharmonic concerto debut in 1979, performing Kazimierz Serocki’s Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra with Zubin Mehta conducting – a work whose U.S. premiere Sauer gave at the Eastman School of Music in 1965. In March 2003, Sauer premiered Augusta Read Thomas’s Trombone Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sauer is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Emory Remington.
Sauer has appeared as soloist with many orchestras and has given master classes and recitals throughout Europe, Scandinavia, Japan, Mexico, Costa Rica, Canada, and the United States. He has appeared at the Stratford, Marlboro, and Aspen summer music festivals and recently was visiting professor at the Eastman School of Music while on leave from the Philharmonic. Currently, Sauer is on the faculty of California State University. Sauer frequently performs with the Philharmonic’s New Music Group and is a founding member of Summit Brass.
He taught Swedish trombone virtuoso Christian Lindberg.
Joseph L. Savard has been playing trombone professionally in the Phoenix area since 1983. He first began playing in 1965 at Pasadena California. He studied jazz at Oakland University, Rochester Michigan under Marvin “Doc” Holiday. In 1980, he was a featured soloist on an album recorded by the group “Revelation”. From 1989 to 1995 Joseph performed with the 108th Army Band as lead trombonist. He currently plays with several small groups and big bands in the Phoenix area. Joe is an accomplished soloist.
Nathan Vander Stoep comes from Golden, Colorado. He began trombone at eight years old and was trained by his father through high school, when he was also taught by Buddy Baker. Nathan played in many of the local honor groups, including 1st chair at All-State his eligible years, and the Denver Young Artist Orchestra from 1993-1998. He decided to take a year off from school, and during that time got a job with a professional ballet company (he had been studying ballet as well since 10 years old). Joining Ballet Arizona this August brought him to the Phoenix area.
Dick Strobel is a lawyer and very active bass trombonist. He is a true trombone enthusiast and tells wonderful “trombone lore” stories. He has known Ralph Sauer for decades and did an excellent job of organizing a Ralph Sauer seminar in the Phoenix area in early 2007. He generously spends his time and energy building relationships among musicians in the Valley of the Sun, and beyond.
- Bill Tole is the oldest of four children. His sister Nancy is the featured vocalist with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, and is the lead singer and leader of the famous The Pied Pipers. His brother Gary is a busy studio musician and leader of his own band Legends of Swing Orchestra in the Los Angeles area. And the youngest of the four children Amy, who has not chosen a career in music as a performer, enjoys listening to all music and is one of the Tole family’s biggest fans.Wishing to pursue a career as a musician, Bill attended Duquesne University School of Music. After four years of college he auditioned for the Tommy Dorsey Band and went on tour with the band. He later joined the Air Force dance band, Airmen of Note, a continuation of the Army Air Force “Glenn Miller Orchestra”. Tole was first trombonist and assistant leader for his four years with that band.Following the military service he quickly became a much sought after musician. Bill moved to New York City in the mid 60’s and played for many of the top Broadway shows, worked club dates and was busy doing recordings in the studios. However, a change in the studio scene relocated Bill to Los Angeles in 1967 where he continued his professional career.Bill has performed with many of the great stars in the music business. Some of the big band leaders he has played with include; Ray Anthony, Tex Beneke, Louis Bellson, Les Brown, Bob Crosby, Harry James, Quincy Jones, Nelson Riddle and Si Zentner. The great singing stars include; Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Pearl Bailey, Tony Martin and many more.Bill is very much in demand as a soloist, teacher and clinician in the United States for United Musical Instruments. Bill plays King trombones exclusively. He has also performed in Great Britain, Australia and Japan as a clinician and lecturer as well as leader of the Bill Tole Orchestra in concert.On January 1, 2002 Bill became the leader of the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra.
Michael Walker When not playing with Bones Southwest, Michael Walker is busy with three children. He manages an automobile repair facility in his spare time. He is deep in the process of learning his first string instrument (electric bass), and plays and sings for his church worship band. Michael repairs band instruments when not doing all the other fun stuff listed above. He finds great joy in getting together with everyone in Bones Southwest and playing his trombone with the group.
Jim Whitaker has been with Bones Southwest as the bassist and pianist for the past year. He and Bob Weller first started making music with one another in Scottsdale with the Coronado High School orchestra. After Bob’s graduation, Jim assumed the position as principal bassist. Upon Jim’s graduation he continued to perform with several community and college orchestras. He furthered his career as a professional in both Broadway and off Broadway pit orchestras as a bassist, pianist and conductor. Jim’s diverse career has landed him a number of directorial positions which includes jazz groups at festivals. He has performed with touring rock bands, chamber orchestras and television production companies in addition to performing for over three hundred CD recording projects. Jim has 27 years of teaching experience and loves his work in the evangelical area. His great love for big band repertoire has made him a perfect fit with the brass sound of Bone Southwest.
Lee Wygant spends most of the time making music on cruise ships. What a life!