Drew Bardagjy's commitment to Big Band music is demonstrated by currently serving on the NBB Board as Treasurer.
He was raised in the suburbs of Washington, DC. He started playing trumpet in 3rd
grade. Growing up in Northern Virginia, he was fortunate as a youth to have heard Duke
Ellington, Count Basie, Cat Anderson, Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Williams, Maynard Ferguson and
many more! He received a musical performance degree in jazz trumpet, followed by a four and a half year stint in a nationally touring show band.
He then took off about 35 years, shifting his focus to raising a family and as owner and president of a successful small business, retiring to Naples in 2014.
His current obsession is playing music of all kinds, but mostly Jazz which is the only one that counts.
Musically speaking, Amy earned the fun, playful nickname “Canary” from friends and fellow musicians as an homage to the Big Band Era, when a girl singer (often referred to as the "songbird" or "canary") stood at the front of the bandstand and told a story through music.
Although trained as a classical vocalist from the age of 15, Amy discovered joy in singing all types of music, including pop/top-40/dance, jazz standards, Broadway, and rock.
Before moving to SWFL, when not working in marketing and advertising, Amy worked in Nashville, TN as a part-time recording session vocalist, traveled with the Infinity Band as their lead female singer, and was one of four original vocalists in the acclaimed Radio Daze Big Band. Amy's background includes a wide array of studio session work, dramatic performances, spokes modeling, industrial film acting, and live appearances ranging from singing and dancing on the cruise ship circuit to National Anthem performances at sporting events, including Florida Everblades hockey games as a soloist, and with the a cappella vocal group, the Paradise Vocal Quartet.
Amy served as the lead female vocalist for the Naples Big Band for over ten years and as their Vice President and Marketing Manager for eight years. Amy also performs with the Marc Vee Band & serves enthusiastically with the Hope City Church worship team and Lydia's Song, a music ministry of North Naples Church. In addition to NBB, she has appeared as a guest soloist with the Sarasota Jazz and Concert Bands, the Bonita Springs Concert Band, the Naples Concert Band and the Gulf Coast Big Band. She is an “on-call” substitute or additional vocalist for many popular musical groups in the area.
There are few things in life that Amy enjoys more than engaging an audience in song – especially with a full big band.
Tony was born and raised in New Jersey and was the first chair clarinetist in his high school concert band. After college at St Peter's, Jersey City, he left home for Philadelphia to earn his MD followed by post graduate training as a gastroenterologist. After serving in the Air Force at Andrews AFB in Washington, he began private practice in Annapolis MD and retired after a 46 year career as a physician.
He initially got back into music singing with a chorale group that performed at Carnegie Hall and for Pope Paul II in Rome. He then pursued what had always been his dream - to play with a big band. Initially playing with a community college group, he then joined the Bayside Big Band in Maryland where he plays tenor sax and clarinet .
Dividing his time between MD and Marco Island, he's played Clarinet, Tenor and Alto sax with "legit" concert bands, "pit bands", other big swing bands, small jazz and Dixieland groups. "I've always loved the Big Band sound and the cohesive energy of the musical arrangements. NBB offers the opportunity to play some of the best of that genera of music while supporting musical opportunities for the financially challenged musically gifted youngsters in our area."
Brad currently is a native of Alexandria, IN and now calls SWFL home by way of St. Louis, MO. Brad plays upright bass and sets the groove for the band in the rhythm section.
His first instrument was the tuba and he also plays electric bass and guitar. His performance history includes a wide range of musical genera including concert, jazz, dixieland, dance, and rock. Brad has performed with the Gulf Coast Big Band, Southwest Florida Big band, Naples Concert Band, and St. Charles Municipal Big Band and Concert Band.
He performs locally with Swing Street Bands, The Entertainers and The Experience. His enthusiasm for the band is based on the "Groove of Big Band music and NBB specifically because of the people and mission".
Jim first picked up the trumpet as a 10-year-old boy in Rhode Island. After high school, he earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Berklee College of Music in Boston and a master’s of music in music education from Boston University’s College of Fine Arts.
He returned to his hometown as band director at his alma mater, Woonsocket High School, where his teaching career flourished for 35 years. His bands and students received awards and accolades at major music festivals along the east coast. Jim is exceedingly proud to have many former students following music careers as educators, clinicians and professional performers.
As a professional musician, Jim performed with big bands throughout New England and played for productions including the Ice Capades and Disney on Parade. Jim retired to Naples in 2005 and has also performed on trumpet and flugelhorn with the Naples Concert Band, Gulf Coast Big Band and Paradise Brass Quintet.
Jim continues to demonstrate a passion for musical excellence in his conducting style as leader of the Naples Big Band.
"I wish the Big Band era could make a comeback so the current generation could see and hear the great acoustic sounds that they missed."
Kevin has been playing trumpet for over 40 years. Originally from Detroit MI, he is currently a resident of Fort Myers.
He's studied with Dan Miller, Marcus Belgrave, Bill Knevitt and Roger Ingram. Besides playing with the Naples Big Band, he has performed with the Gulf Coast Big Band and several bands in Michigan at the Detroit Jazz festival and Michigan Jazz festival.
“I enjoy playing with a talented group of musicians with experience from all around the country and supporting the group's ambition to support young musicians.”
Cary Davids was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and was brought up mostly in Medicine Hat, Alberta. His father had been a jazz trumpet player in the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII, and Cary learned to play the trumpet beginning at age 12.
He attended the local high school in Medicine Hat and went on to the University of Alberta in Edmonton, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Honors Physics and a Masters degree in Nuclear Physics.
His next move was to the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California where he earned a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics. During his physics career at Caltech, Michigan State University, University of Texas at Austin, and Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, he was able to pursue his avocation as a trumpet player in various jazz bands.
Now retired and becoming a recent part-time resident of Naples, it was natural to connect with fellow musicians in Naples and to join the Naples Big Band and the Southwest Florida Big Band. “I was brought up at a time when big band music was popular on the radio and in movies. The big band genre offers a huge variety of sounds, timbres, and harmonies that really appeal to me. As a jazz soloist, being accompanied by a swinging big band is especially thrilling and inspiring.”
Lou DeBonzo began his musical journey starting with clarinet and played Baritone Saxophone throughout high school. He graduated college with a degree in Music Education. In addition to classical training on Tenor and Alto Saxophone, Lou played Baritone saxophone in the college’s jazz ensemble. Performing in Community Concert Bands, Big Bands, and Polka bands are just a few of Lou’s musical life experiences.
Lou and his beautiful wife Jan hail from upstate New York. Now residents of Florida, they return to New York each summer to visit with children, grandchildren, family, and friends.
"I've performed and listened to Big Band music for sixty years - enjoying the arrangements of Art Dedrick, Sammy Nestico, the bands of Maynard Ferguson, Count Basie, Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich, and Nelson Riddle's arrangements for Sinatra. Naples Big Band 'fits' my musical emotional level!"
Marshall (Marsh) DeMott, Tenor Saxophone. Marsh has lived in Naples since 2003 when he moved here from Maine where he retired from directing public school Bands for 30 years.
He has had a rewarding career playing saxophone for Willie Maiden's UMA Big Band and many summer shows, including Milton Berle, Carol Channing, Tom Jones, Glen Campbell and Della Reese and many years with the Al Corey Band. Locally, Marsh has played with many R and B, and blues bands including with "Doc" Booth, Rick Howard, Live Wire, Ryan Darling, Joe Threlkeld, Dieter's Blues Band, Foreman 5, Blu-Tones and Skyjammer and most recently with John Keevil and The Friends Of Jazz Quintet.
"My good friend, Dan Petrosini, is in the section, so playing in the band with him will be fun. And of course, it will be a pleasure to play all the great music in the NBB book."
Leonard has performed professionally as a jazz pianist and vocalist for over 20 years.
He studied piano performance as an undergraduate at the Lamont School of Music at Denver University.
After graduating with a double major in Music and Philosophy, he went on to earn a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Medical Ethics at Georgetown University. And thus began a double life teaching Philosophy as a college professor and moonlighting as a performing artist.
Leonard is married to his love Shawna, woman extraordinaire, and together they foster the competitive ambitions of their tennis playing son Benjamin while his older brother Christian pursues a more academic life studying math in college.
"Big Band music featuring the vocal talents of people like Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald has always engaged me as a listener and singer. The members of the Naples Big Band have graciously given me the opportunity to croon to their audiences as a performing artist."
Oren is a trombonist and pianist in the Naples Big Band. From his on-call gigs playing trombone for touring shows and concerts with various distinguished performers such as the Bermuda Philharmonic and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, to playing dinner jazz piano at fine dining restaurants, to playing organ for NHL Buffalo Sabres games, Oren has a broad and diverse professional music experience. He is a retired Buffalo (NY) Public School general music teacher now living in Estero who enjoys biking, swimming, walking, and Texas Hold ‘Em. He is pianist and organ sub for he Zion Lutheran Church on Winkler in Ft. Myers.
In 2000, Oren created Orengue, his own 8- piece Latin Merengue Band. Their 2003 album 'Sabre Dance Merengue' including “I Pledge Song” (a new U.S. Pledge of Allegiance song) is now available on iTunes, Spotify, CDbaby, and other streaming services.
Marty has been involved in music his entire life. He's played trumpet since the 7th grade in high school, the University of Wisconsin concert band, the Waukesha Symphony Orchestras, college jazz bands and Army bands.
Marty has played hundred of gigs and performed with Lou Rawls, Glen Campbell, Isaac Hayes and Jay Leno. He was also a member of the Beale Street Jazz Band for over ten years and performed at numerous jazz festivals, including Sacramento and Chilliwac, Ca. He also sang baritone in a barbershop quartet.
Marty performs in Naples with rhe Jebry Trio, The Naples Dixieland Band and enjoys being a part of the trumpet section in the Naples Big Band.
Pat is a full time Naples resident after being born in Provo Utah and living most of his life in the Columbus Ohio area. He was a Grove City middle school band director for 35 years. While in high school, he moved from his first instrument, the trombone, to concentrate on the bass trombone.
Pat has extensive professional experience in Ohio ranging from the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, Columbus Symphony, Brass Band of Columbus, playing for touring off Broadway shows and entertainers. In Florida, he's continued with free lance work and has played with the Naples Jazz Orchestra, Stardust Memories Big Band, Naples Concert Band and Brass Music Elements in Fort Myers.
"Big Band is my favorite kind of music and the Naples Big band is a great way to do this"
Dave was born and raised in Toledo Ohio and now lives year round in Ft. Myers after time in the country of Panama and in Saline Michigan. His non-music career was an attorney and business owner specializing in Hi Tech engineering and products for US manufacturing.
His first instrument was the clarinet and then saxophones and flute. He started out with a Polka band and, while running his business, he was also playing professionally in Ohio and Michigan with styles ranging from Motown, Rock and Roll, Classical, Dixieland and wedding bands. He was a member of several Big Bands in the Ohio and Detroit area. Dave served in the Navy and was a member of Navy Bands. He played in a front band for Charlie Byrd and was a member of other well known big bands in Central America.
In 2018 Dave was inducted into the Music Hall of Fame in Toledo Ohio." Although I like to play all styles of music, my favorite is Big Band. I am drawn to Big Band Music and the Naples Big Band for several reasons: harmonies, syncopations, and artistry are the main reasons. The music we make helps all of us become better musicians and the comradery in the band and with our audience is the best around.
Born in Pittsfield Massachusetts, Tom was introduced to the trombone in the fifth grade and continued playing in concert bands and big bands until the end of his college years.
His trombone went into the closet for forty years while he served in the USAF dental corps and then civilian dental practice while he and his lovely wife Jan raised three children in West Springfield Mass
On his retiring from dentistry the family moved to Cape Cod for ten years where he and the horn were reunited.
Then the move to beautiful Naples where the music came to include the Naples Concert Band and various local big bands and orchestras
Between music and tennis (less and less) it continues to be a blessing and a pleasure living here!
Dan is a best selling mystery and suspense author who was born in New York City. He's a year-round resident of Naples and plays the tenor saxophone. A life-long music lover, he was a latecomer when it came to playing, starting as an adult.
Though growing up with a diverse mix of music; rock, R&B and Motown, Dan is passionate about jazz, big band music and the American Song Book.
Dan knows the Naples Big Band is a special ensemble and serves as a NBB board member. "The Naples Big Band is filled with fantastic players and is under the musical leadership of Jim Castaldi, I consider it a pleasure and honor to be a member of the band".
Victor Prince provides NBB with his driving energy on drums. He was born in California while his family served in the Navy and was a "Navy brat". When his family was reassigned east, Victor started drum lessons at age nine with Clint Loop of the US Navy band in Washington. DC. He was quite musically active throughout high school playing with Rock and Fusion groups.
He went on to College as a music major and followed the family tradition joining the US Navy where he played with the Navy Band at Great Lakes. His musical career has also included the City Lights Big Band in CT, the SWFL Big Band, dinner theater in MD and off-Broadway theater productions in Florida. He points to Buddy Rich as his favorite drummer and Sonny Payne of the Count Basie Band as his biggest influence.
When asked what drew him to the Naples Big Band? "I received a phone call on a Saturday night April of 2021 a nd was asked to emergently do a concert the following day. I've been with the band ever since and love every minute of it!!!"
Suzanne Sole is a vocalist and actress from Chicago who has made her home in Naples. An accomplished performer, she has toured nationally in concerts, musicals, and comedies throughout North America, as well as appearing in television, and independent films and projects.
With a degree in Jazz Vocal Performance from the jazz program at Temple University in Philadelphia, Suzanne has performed in venues, clubs and private events in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, and Naples; having the privilege of working with many of this country’s incredible jazz musicians. She is delighted to be singing with The Naples Big Band this season!
Dennis grew up in North East Ohio starting his instrumental career when he was 10 years old. He took lessons from his elementary and junior high school band director, a violist from Finland. Early musical experiences were grounded in church, school and family musical performances .
Following high school, Dennis attended Miami University of Ohio receiving a degree in Music Education performing in Miami’s Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble and Campus Owls Jazz Band.. While at Miami he was the trombonist in the “Shades of Dixie” Dixieland Band performing for 6 million people at Kings Island Amusement Park.
Dennis accepting a teaching position in Rocky River, Ohio (just West of Cleveland) where he taught Beginning Band, Concert Bands, Jazz Bands and Orchestra at the elementary, middle and high school levels for nearly 35 years. His groups received excellent and superior ratings for many years with outstanding recognition of superior middle school Jazz Bands in the Greater Cleveland area.
Following his retirement from public school teaching Dennis became a “Snow Bird” spending his winters in Naples. He is now performing with the Naples Big Band, Gulf Coast Big Band and Naples Concert Band.
“Performing in the NBB enables me to continue to keep my musical passion alive while challenging our musical youth by example with one of the most amazing musical styles of American music……”
John Wadsworth began his music education in Philadelphia in the hands of his grandfather, an assistant principle French Horn with the Philadelphia Orchestra. John studied classical and jazz trombone with Carmen Vitocolonna and famed trombonist Glen Dodson.
In the Philadelphia area John played with the Al Raymond Orchestra, The Latin Casino Orchestra, subbed with Philly Sound’s MFSB orchestra, as well as per service gigs at many Atlantic City casinos.
In addition to John’s trombone work, he also plays double bass with the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra. John’s orchestra double bass performance covers both classical and pop genres.
“Playing in the Naples Big Band with such talented musicians has been a true blessing”.
Music Makers Show Band, Inc. 501 (c)(3) #52256, DBA Naples Big Band, is registered as an Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) Not-for-Profit organization; any donations to our band may be claimed as an income tax deduction.
A copy of the official registration (License/Registration Number 52256) and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by visiting FreshFromFlorida.com/Consumer-Resources/Charities or calling toll free 1-800-435-7352 within the state of Florida. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval or recommendation by the state.
Special thanks to Michelle Tricca Photography and Elusive Shell Design & Photography for professional live concert photography and Angelina Arts Photography for professional portrait photography.
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