Gary Greenfelder, leader of the (GGO) Gary Greenfelder Orchestra, has played trumpet for as long as he can remember. Gary spent time "on the road" as well as 4 years in Los Angeles, before deciding to make a profession in the business world as a CPA, keeping music as his passion. He is grateful for the opportunity to lead such an exciting group of musicians. Gary has a lovely wife that supports his music and understands his passion... not easy to find for a musician, especially one that doubles as an Accountant! He also has two children and four step children, they all help to balance his life!
Joe Ivers leads the saxophone section on alto and soprano saxes, doubling on flute and clarinet. Joe studied music at Interlochen and Wayne State. He enjoys doubling on a full range of saxes and woodwinds, including baroque flutes. In addition to big band hits with GGO he has played many small group jazz hits a Detroit jazz clubs such as Baker's Keyboard Lounge, Cliff Bell's and the Dirty Dog. He also plays Latin jazz, classical music and frequently plays woodwinds in theatre pit orchestras. Joe recently rejoined GGO, where he especially enjoys leading a unified section and playing solos.
Laura Vallad is the second alto saxophone player in GGO. Big band music and jazz has been her passion for years, Glenn Miller and his unique big band sound being her favorite. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in instrumental music from Spring Arbor University where she completed her music education classes and played lead alto in the jazz band, concert band and was a member of the percussion ensemble. She has enjoyed playing with orchestra pits for many musicals, the Macomb Community Concert Band, and other groups during her career. Her musical abilities started at a young age, she also teaches private lessons in the metro Detroit area.
Eric Lundquist plays Lead Tenor in GGO, his early musical experiences include piano, accordion, and as a teenager he sang in the "Make Way For Youth" Chorus on WJR (under the director Don Large) which was broadcast weekly on the Armed Forces Radio Network. He played Clarinet and Saxophone in the Air Force field bands last at Torrejon Air Base in Spain. Eric has performed at the Fisher Theater, Baker's, Cliff Bells and he also plays reeds with the Farmington Community Chorus.
TBD - 2nd Tenor Saxophone
Gregory Smith, is GGO's longest standing member, plays with several local bands and is a college professor for his true paying gig. He plays classic, jazz, big band, and theater. "Listening to music is enjoyable, playing music is a rush." Born and raised in the Detroit area, married for many years to Lori, with a son, Tim. Greg hopes to retire soon and devote more time to music.
Kevin Chreston plays Lead trumpet with GGO. He has recently reunited himself with the trumpet after a 25 year hiatus from music. He has been busy building his career (the Day Job) as a Utility Engineering Manager working for DTE. He played Lead Trumpet with the Oakland University Jazz Band, while completing his education in the early 1980's. When Kevin's not swingin' with the GGO, he enjoys swinging his golf clubs.
Tim Kalvaitis has always lived a double life in music and technology. Tim started playing trumpet in the 6th grade and programming in the 8th grade. He took his dual life to Boston where he graduated from MIT in electrical engineering with a specialization in music composition and audio signal processing. During his 20 years in Boston, Tim spent is his time designing mp3 players and home audio equipment. Since returning to the Detroit area in 2008, he has continued his double life with engineering during the day and jazz trumpet at night. Tim has played with several big bands in the area since then and is excited to be playing regularly with the GGO.
Otto Alcon is originally from New Jersey, where he received a B.A. in Music Education from New Jersey University. He started playing trumpet in middle school, inspired by listening to countless hours of trumpet records at home. Otto taught general and instrumental music for 10 years. He took a break from teaching to play professionally for 6 years, traveling 1,000’s of miles across the US and Canada, and overseas. That time gave him invaluable experience that serves him well today. He knows “live music”. From 1986 to 1989 he directed and conducted the Otto Alcon Starlight Orchestra, an 18 piece jazz band. He loves the power and finesse this kind of band can demonstrate. Otto is proud and excited to know Gary Greenfelder and be part of his wonderful orchestra.
TBD - 4th Trumpet
Mike Upchurch , lead Trombone with GGO, has been very active with his horn over the last 15 years, playing classical, jazz, swing, rock, and funk trombone with several groups in the Detroit area including a number other local big bands. He has also played with several Detroit area funk/rock bands, the Southfield Symphony Orchestra, and various stage show pit orchestras over the years. Mike's teacher/mentor was the late Joe Skyrinski, Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Mike works for General Motors (37 years) as an Engineering Manager in Warren, is married to Willine Upchurch, and lives in Clarkston.
Roger DeMeyere (Dr. D) has retired from his 23 year day gig as President/CEO of Lutheran Special Education Ministries to devote more time swinging with GGO and simply having fun playing trombone with his friends. Born and raised in Detroit he and Linda, his wife of 40+ years, and family have lived in Chesterfield for over 30 years. Roger has played trombone since childhood in concert bands and brass ensembles but in 2001 he discovered the joy of "swing" when he joined the band. It's obvious to all that Roger really loves it, especially the ballads!
Jason Hefner is currently completing a Master of Music degree in jazz studies at Wayne State University, studying with Ron Kiscuck. Jason began playing trombone in the 5th grade in school and in church. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree, music concentration, from Central Michigan University in 2009. Jason is currently the director of music for Waterford Baptist Cathedral and plays regularly with the Oakland Community College Symphony Band, local big bands, and Wayne State University Jazz Lab I. He has played in educational settings with John Fedchock, Peter Erskine, Danilo Pérez, Joe Lovano, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Bobby Watson, Cyrus Chestnut, Terrence Blanchard, Mike Williams, Bob Jensen, and the Johnny Trudell Orchestra.
Andrew Meronek is an active composer, trombonist, and music instructor. To date, he has written over 30 arrangements and compositions in a variety of styles, with the bulk of his output for jazz big bands. In 2011, he finished a five-year tour with the U.S. Army Bands, having served with the SHAPE International Band (SIB) in Belgium and the Third Infantry Division Band in Georgia, which included a one-year tour of Baghdad, Iraq. As a member of the SIB, he has performed in several countries in Europe. The highlight was opening for McCoy Tyner and Joe Lovano with the NATO Jazz Orchestra at the Imatra Jazz Festival in 2010. He was also involved in the SIB's CD album "A Taste Of NATO Part II," playing trombone and contributing four arrangements. He currently teaches brass at Evola Music in Shelby Township. Andrew plays in several other groups as well as GGO. Andrew has a Master's Degree in Jazz Studies from Wayne State University, and Bachelor Degrees in Trombone Performance and Computer Science from The University Of Michigan - Flint, and is currently engaged in a self-directed study of pure intonation systems.
Barbara Robinson has a Bachelor's in music theory and composition, and a Master's in music. She is Music Director of St. Michael Catholic Community Church directing several groups. She stays busy performing and especially enjoys musical theatre, recently completing “Menopause the Musical.” Barbara feels “privileged to play with all the talented brass and woodwind players in the band, and especially my cronies in the rhythm section!” There is one special love in Barb's life, her “handsome husband, Dan, who waits patiently for her in their old dump down by the river.”
Dave Marcaccio has enjoyed an extensive musical career. His attention to the groove has made him a current favorite of many great Detroit-based artists and groups including blues vocalist Thornetta Davis, The MillionAires band, jazz singer-songwriter Tracy Kash Thomas, the Rick Stel Project, guitarist Jim McCarty and The Lynn LaPlante Seven, in addition to GGO.
Gwendolyn MacPhee is a Jazz Studies major at Wayne State University. She has enjoyed performing with the DSO Civic Youth jazz bands, Blue Lake International Jazz Orchestra and her own trio at various venues and private events in the Detroit area. She started her jazz career at the performing arts high school, Arts Academy in the Woods. Gwen’s experience with the GGO has helped her grow as a jazz bassist.
Jennifer Jones as been performing in various venues in and around the tri-county area for many years. She has held leading roles in many theatrical productions...too many to name! Performing for a classroom of second graders by day, she looks forward to performing on stage at night! Jennifer is happily married to her wonderful and supportive husband Carl. She loves performing with "the band" GGO and can't wait to share more swinging times!
Peter Tocco has been a actor for over 20 years. He is currently the President of the Screen Actors Guild- American Federation of Radio and Television Arts Michigan Branch. He has numerous local, regional, national and international credits to his name. He still takes voice lessons once a week and attends numerous workshops throughout the year while working in New York and Chicago. “I make my living with my voice. It is something that can never be taken for granted. He started singing with Big Bands onboard Cruise Ships. He has sung with the Johnny Trudell Orchestra and currently performs with the GGO. “I love singing the songs that Sinatra, Bennett and Buble.