Roberta began her music career playing the cornet with the Lion’s Band program at the age of 10 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Music has remained a very important part of her life since then. When her family moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, she was very fortunate to attend West Kildonan High School which had a thriving music program and was a great source of inspiration. After graduating from high school, Roberta attended the University of Manitoba where she obtained a Bachelor of Music with a double major in Performance and Education. While at university she joined HMCS Chippawa and spent every summer studying music at the Canadian Forces Music School and travelling across Canada with the national Naval Reserve Band. After completing her Music studies, she enrolled as a Direct Entry Musician in the Canadian Forces Stadacona Band of Maritime Command where she served for 14 years. After leaving the CF, Roberta received a Bachelor of Education degree and began teaching high school music. While teaching, Roberta continued to play play in many community orchestras, concert bands, brass quintets, pit orchestras and jazz bands. She is thrilled to be a member of the Grey Jazz and looking forward to performing live music again.
Sid Arnold Trumpet
When dinosaurs roamed the earth Sid played in the Canadian Armed Forces and 22 years with the RCMP Band . He still teaches trumpet and has a smile on his face each day when the horn comes out of the case.
Robert began drumming at the age of 12, starting in drum corps, with the Lamplighters from Smiths Falls, the Imperial Knights from Sudbury and Cadets Lasalle from Ottawa. He moved on to kit playing in his late teens and has since enjoyed a diverse musical experience, from new wave with The Crayons to classic rock with Peter and the Wolves, from lounge jazz with the Pete Foret Trio to new country with The Spurs. He’s also delved into more traditional country stylings as drummer with The Radio Kings and with Pat Moore. Robert travelled around the world as back up drummer for the Cirque du Soleil production Quidam, touring China, Mexico, Europe, the UK and South America. He continues to do studio work and performs regularly with Ball and Chain and the Wreckers, as well as local zydeco band The Vanier Playboys. And all the while holding down a government job. Robert is thrilled to be a member of Grey Jazz Big Band.
Brian has been involved with music performance and music education for over 35 years, as a High School and University teacher as well as a performer in a variety of ensembles. Most of his early training and teaching has been in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. He held a DND music teaching position in Lahr, Germany for 3 years and has been in Ottawa since 1984. Brian is experienced with a variety of musical ensembles, both as a performer and a music director since 1976 including concert bands from beginners to advanced, marching bands, jazz ensembles and, in particular (50) musical theatre stage productions. He has performed with a wide variety of ensembles from the Lakehead Symphony orchestra to rock and jazz groups. Mr. Boggs received a B. Mus. Ed. from Brandon University and was also enrolled in the M.Mus. Ed program at U.W.O in London where he conducted the Symphonic Band and the Clarinet Choir. He has been active in his career as a festival adjudicator and clinician for a variety of instrumental events and has been actively involved with music education at the senior level through provincial curriculum writing and dedicated arts advocacy initiatives.
At present he plays professionally in the Ottawa area (woodwinds) and is a consultant and workshop instructor for music programs in the area, as well as a private teacher for senior students. He also plays with several community groups including a rhythm and blues band, Orpheus theatre, jazz big bands and pit orchestras for musicals. Mr. Boggs is also a member of several professional music associations and committees. He is very proud to have worked with many students who have gone on to professional careers in music education or the music and arts industry across Canada and the U.S.
Betty Ann Bryanton Vocalist
Betty Ann Bryanton is a life-long vocalist across a variety of genres. She has been described as being “the full package: she sings like a bird, is warm and engaging with her audience and has great rapport with her very talented band members.” It was a natural fit for Betty Ann to join Grey Jazz, having performed in musical theatre, singing with large symphonic choirs, and singing regularly with small jazz ensembles. Betty Ann loves the wide and long-lasting appeal of the big band repertoire, but also loves hearing the energy and excitement of the big band behind her! Her charisma and enchanting voice easily win the hearts of her audience.
Paul got his musical start as a teenager playing clarinet in community concert bands and saxophone in dance combos before pursuing a career as an Ottawa-area educator. Later, he followed more advanced clarinet studies and joined a community symphony, the Parkdale Orchestra as principal clarinettist. In addition to playing lead tenor with the GJBB, he is a member of the Centralaires Concert Band, the Trillium Dixieland Band and the Wild Cards Big Band.
Murray Cuthbert Bass trombone
As a freelance bass trombonist in the Ottawa area for about 40 years, Murray has performed with most of the “big bands” in the Ottawa area, including pit orchestras for musicals, symphony orchestras, brass choirs, brass quintets, and trombone quartets. Over the years Murray has worked with performers such as with Bob Hope, Dionne Warwick, Rich Little, Natalie Cole, Barbra Streisand, to name but a few. Murray was a founding member of the NorthWinds Brass Quintet and The Ottawa Bones, a jazz trombone quartet with accompanying rhythm section. At present Murray can be heard performing with “The Trombros” trombone quartet, The Herald Brass, The Maple Leaf Brass Band, The Legacy Brass of the Salvation Army, The Parkdale Symphony Orchestra, and is a proud member of “Gray Jazz”. Murray also doubles on euphonium and tuba when required. “Everyone wants to be a trombone player”!
Rod was educated and raised in Calgary. After an aborted start on the violin at age 10, he began playing the trombone in Grade 7 and was soon playing in an RCAF Reserve band, junior orchestras, small dance combos and professional stage shows. Later he enjoyed two summers touring with the prestigious National Youth Orchestra of Canada. Graduation brought Rod to Ottawa in 1966 for a career in aviation with the NRC and later Transport Canada. He joined the Governor General’s Foot Guards militia band, Ottawa Civic Symphony and CBC studio orchestra. In 1974 he switched musical genres and began a continuing attachment with the enduring APEX (Dixieland) Jazz Band. Since then he has also played with the National Press Club Band and the Bill Jupp Big Band. He came to the Good Companions in 2005, playing first with the silver Swing then with the Grey Jazz Big Band.
Ken began playing the cornet at age 8 in the Salvation Army in Owen Sound Ont. He moved to Ottawa in 1966 to play Trumpet and Flugel Horn in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Band. He remained in the RCMP band until 1994. Ken has also played with the Shriners Circus, Ottawa Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Symphonique de Gatineau, Brass Brats, Maple Leaf Brass Band, Centralaires Concert Band. Souper Jazz, Just Friends Musical Society, Orpheus Pit Orchestra, NorthWinds Brass Quintet, Savoy Society Pit Orchestra, Rialto Rhythm Revelers and Kanata Choral Society as well as various brass groups and dance bands etc in the Ottawa Area. Ken has been a member of Gray Jazz since 2018.
Doug is an Ottawa native who started trombone at Nepean High School back in 1958, and has been gigging in advance jazz, blues and dance bands ever since. He broke down and took a few lessons in his late 40’s and finally learned how to blow his trombone without hurting himself. He has since quit the day job and become a Gentleman of Leisure, with the goal of working his way through Arban’s Trombone Method before he dies. Some notable musical groups with whom he has played include: Ottawa Youth Orchestra, The Starfighters, The Company, Capital City Jazz Band, Vanguard Jazz Band, Magnolia Jazz and Blues Band, Hong Kong Brass Band, Discovery Bay Jazz Band, Souper Jazz, Standing Room Only, Cuppa Soup Combo and, of course, the Grey Jazz Big Band. He currently lives in gentile poverty in Ottawa’s West End.
Mark grew up in Ottawa and started playing tuba as a teenager switching to oboe and bass at Ottawa Technical High School. He has played in various concert and stage bands through the years. Mark has been studying music theory and orchestration at the University of Ottawa since 2007. He has played with the Centralaires Concert Band, the Nepean Concert Band and the Ottawa Community Concert Band. He has also played with the Swingshift Big Band, and the Rockland Dixieland Band among others. Currently he plays bass with the Grey Jazz Big Band, Cuppa Soup, and the Wildcards Pocket Band.
As a Maritimer growing up in Charlottetown, he played the piano to grade 8 before picking up the clarinet at age 15. During his engineering studies at Dalhousie University, MacK played in Dixieland and dance groups, and later was a founding member of the Dixietech Seven before moving to Montreal. In the late 60’s, he played the clarinet in Montreal’s Blackwatch Band while holding down the 1st clarinet chair in Montreal’s first amateur symphony orchestra under the direction of Dennis Brott. In 1980, he moved to Ottawa, where he expanded his horizons to encompass Dixieland and mainstream jazz clarinet/sax. After playing with various groups, including at the Ottawa Jazz Festival, he became Halifax-based again. From 2000 to 2013, he formed a new jazz quintet called Moments Notice and played with the Sackville concert band and two jazz orchestras. After playing in the Atlantic Jazz Festival, this competent and experienced reader and improviser brought his talents back to Ottawa. He is currently playing dixieland, big band and concert band music with several groups.
Gavin started Music in High school, first on clarinet and later teaching himself saxophone. Over the years he has played in many jazz, pop and R&B groups in the Ottawa area. In the early days these included The Starlighters, the Company and the John Haysom Quintet. He then took some years off to pursue other interests. More recently he has been in Neon, Sugarbeat Jazz & Poetry, Sonic Circle, Verona Katz, Restivity, and Loft 33, among others. Along the way he has studied sax and improvisation at the Jazzworks summer camp with Rob Frayne, Frank Lozano, Remi Bolduc, Donny McCaslin, Ted Nash and others. He is currently also playing regularly with Standing Room Only, the Mellow Tones, the Wild Cards Pocket Band and the Grey Jazz Big Band. He is also active in other ways in the Ottawa music community, having been on the board of Jazzworks, president of the Ottawa Jazz Festival and a board member for several years. He is currently the vice chair of Chamberfest.
Hailing from metro Fisherville, ON , Fred’s desire for sax was influenced by the many great 70’s bands with large horn sections. He joined the RCAF in 1981 to pursue a career in avionics. After an 11 year break the Cold Lake military volunteer band was calling. With several more postings across the country came the opportunity to play in several other bands even playing for Queen Elizabeth in Yellowknife as well as the cast of “Royal Canadian Air Farce”. After 30 years he retired in Ottawa to focus on his passion. When not playing in Grey Jazz, he is the sax section leader in the Ottawa Community Concert band, plays in the Ottawa Rube Band and Main and Abbot Dance Band. A saxophone lineup from Soprano to Bass keeps Fred busy with requests to sub in many bands within the NCR!
Gord, our lead alto sax player was born in Montreal and attended high school in Burlington, ON. His earliest musical influence was his mother who played the piano, which he started learning at age 7. He began learning the clarinet when he was eleven and the saxophone in Grade 9. He played in the Burlington Town Band, the high school band and the dance band before joining the RCMP Band. He studied alto saxophone with noted professor Gerald Danovitch of McGill University and is proficient on soprano, alto and tenor saxophones as well as clarinet and flute. He has played in various bands including the Ottawa University Dance band, the National Ballroom Orchestra, the Champ Champagne Orchestra, the Bill Jupp Big band, Super Big Band, Schteev und die lederhosers, the Jim Glover Dance Band, The Grey Jazz Big Band, the Centralaires Concert Band and he conducts the Silver Swing Big Band. Gord has played at both the Ottawa and Montreal International Jazz Festivals on numerous occasions.
Michel was born and raised in Ottawa, and started playing trumpet in high school. He was very fortunate to have trumpet player Gerry Nadeau has his music teacher.
After music studies at U of O (trumpet studies with Philip Collins, who went on to become principal trumpet with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra under Eric Kunzel) and McGill University (he was a friend and classmate of Ron Di Lauro), he started a career in the music business. He was privileged to work early and often with Sid Holmes and he is very grateful for Sid’s generosity in sharing his vast knowledge and experience with him. Another important mentor was Dave Hildinger, who inspired him to become an arranger and orchestrator. The highlight of his musical career was a recording session where he conducted 36 members of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, performing his arrangements. Michel is an “old school” Big Band trumpet player. His major lead trumpet role models are Snooky Young, John Audino, Jimmy Maxwell and Bernie Glow.
In his spare time, he loves to play juicy romantic ballads on flugelhorn, for his wife Odile, on the Wakefield Covered Bridge.
Ed Stevens Guitar
Born in Boston and raised in Ottawa, Ed started playing the violin around age 12, and has been a certified music nerd ever since. During his teens, he also received instruction on viola, cello and double bass, and taught himself to play guitar in order to avoid practising those other instruments. After leaving school, he spent a few years as a guitarist-for-hire with the ambition of making a living in studio work, meanwhile developing a love for jazz. But a growing interest in the classical violin repertoire eventually took over. Following a period of intensive study, Ed worked as a violinist in Montreal, then moved to Toronto for a full-time position with the Tafelmusik baroque orchestra. After four years of performing, recording and extensive touring in Europe and the Americas, he changed direction again, leaving the band to obtain a computer science degree from the University of Toronto. This was followed by a career in information systems, largely spent working at Statistics Canada. Ed picked up the guitar again in 2006. He has since worked with ensembles ranging from duos to big bands, and has appeared at the Ottawa and Merrickville Jazz Festivals. He continues to draw on stylistic influences from classical, jazz, rock, blues, folk, and world music, and will happily collaborate with anyone who offers free drinks.
Malcolm began playing the trombone at age ten. No particular memory accompanies his choice of instrument but, looking back after so many years, it seems to have been a wise one. Music is a wonderful hobby and has helped bring balance to Malcolm’s other life as a high school science teacher. Since graduating from Brookfield H.S., Malcolm has performed (in no particular order) with the Ottawa University Jazz Band and Wind Ensemble, Ottawa Community Concert Band, Musica Jocosa Orchestra, CAMMAC Orchestra, Stan Clark Orchestra, Queen’s University Jazz Band, Riverside Bones Quartet, Christchurch Concert Band, Johnny Vegas All Star Band (under the name Eddie Riviera), The Wild Cards, and the latest group to make him smile: Grey Jazz.