Licia Ware is one of the valley's top big band vocalists and local session vocalists. Licia graduated from Grand Canyon Universit where she majored in vocal performance. In addition to singing, Licia is a songwriter and pianist, and has recorded a compact disc Don't U Want 2-Know produced by Grammy winning producer Billy Willams. Recording work has included local and national commercial jingles. Licia fronted her own band Licia Ware and Weekends on the hotel and casino circuit.
Steven VonWald is top call in the valley's big band lead sax players. Steven has played with many top acts that come through Phoenix as well as played on many recordings. Steven was nominated for a grammy while at North Texas State University.
Bob Hartrick has played with the Terry McFee Orchestra for several years. Bob has performed on many recordings and has appeared with several bands including The Jan Garber Orchestra, Lou Rawls, Jon Faddis, Dick Oats, Mic Gillette (Tower of Power), Mike Vax, Don McClain, National Community Band, Groove Merchants, CC Ryder Express, The Box Tops, and others.
Chuck Hitmar is an excellent reed player which includes alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, clarinet, and flute. Chuck graduated from Youngstown State University, and has played with the big bands of Glenn Miller, Jimmy Dorsey, Ray Anthony, Louie Bellson, Myron Floren, and others. He has also played in back-up bands for Mel Torme, Ella Fitzgerald, Jack Jones, Peggy Lee, Vic Damone, Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Dinah Shore, Johnny Mathis, and others.
Jeff Kelly plays the "swing" chair which swings between alto and tenor sax. Jeff has played with many bands in the Phoenix are including Myron Sumerfeld, Al Godfredson and others.
Gary Larkins is a trumpet player and an educator in Mesa public schools. Gary plays trumpet in small jazz groups and big bands in Mesa.
Bill Abbott is a trombone player and band teacher in the Creighton school district. Bill graduated from Emporia University and has played with the Guy Lombardo Orchestra, Victor Lombardo Orchestra, the Les Brown Band of Renown, and the Oklaholma Symphony Orchestra. Some of the people he has played in back-up bands for are Johnny Mathis, Suzanne Somners, Sammy Davis, Jr., Kay Starr, Shirly Jones, George Burns, Helen O'Connell, and others. Bill plays in and leads church bands, and has played in jazz festivals throughout Europe.
Orlando Gordoa started playing tenor sax, and later switched to bass. Orlando has played with J. David Salone, Marty Ramirez, and Cheryl Van Cleve (Miss California 1984). He has played bass in Licia Ware and Weekends several years. Orlando has played on the road in hotel and casino circuts.
Pat Riley plays in many professional bands, and has studied with Peter Erskin. Pat has played with several local bands of all variety including jazz, big band, country western, salsa, etc. Pat also teaches privately and may be contacted at http://www.patrickriley.org
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