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Don Washington

Don started playing the piano at the age of five. It was a rule in his father's house that every child learns how to play an instrument and sing. Being the youngest of five children, Don was determined to stand out from the pack, and that he did! In addition to mastering the piano and organ, he learned to play drums, saxophone, tuba, bass, guitar, trumpet and harmonica. Don's father, the late William M. Washington, groomed his children to be his personal praise and worship team at the Royal Church of God in Christ, in Kent, N.Y. It was during this time that Don learned the vocal and instrumental styles and techniques that would later make him equally comfortable playing uptown swing and down-home blues. It wasn't until the early 1990's that Don became interested in the blues


Dave Welsch

New York State based First-Call Bass Player, Dave Welsch, has been been performing all styles of music for over 40 years. He has been featured on both Electric and Acoustic Basses in Jazz, Pop, Rock, Country, Folk, and Musical Theater. He holds a B.A. in Music from the State University of New York at Oswego. Dave most recently toured with Grammy Award winning artist, Victor Wooten, featured on Bass, Trumpet, Keyboards, and Vocals.


Matthew Rockwell Sokolic

Vibraphone, Composition. Matthew has over thirty years performing and private teaching experience in the Central New York and regional areas. His musical diversity ranges from Classical, Country and Bluegrass to Musical Theater, Rock, Jazz and Contemporary Avant-Garde! He is the originator of “RHYTAMICS TECHNOLOGIES” – Rhythmic Training and Solfège for all Musicians and owner of Anecdote Music Publications and Lesson Studios! Talented also as a leader and motivator, he helps manage and support the overall achievement of student/artist goals and objectives. Matt is a Manhattan School of Music alumni and has performed solo Vibraharp recitals throughout New York City, including: Carnegie Recital Hall; Manhattan School of Music; Riverside Church; the 92st


Matthew F. Vacanti

A highly accomplished bass player, Matt's training in classical bass has helped him become a first-call bassist in Central New York for string, fretless and fretted bass. He can bow a beautiful solo on an upright, then turn around and slap a funky backbeat on electric. Over the years he has worked with Joey DeFrancisco, Ron Jackson, Kevin Mahagony, Willie and Lobo and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas to name a few.

Matt is a skilled recording engineer and record producer as well. He started Spider Records back in 1990 and has produced many Sammy (Syracuse Area Music) award-winning records for CNY musicians


Frank Stagnitta

In the last four decades, Frank Stagnitta has made a name for himself on the international jazz scene performing with players such as Chet Baker, Zoot Sims, Phil Woods, Woody Shaw, Charles McPherson, Mingus Dynasty, Barbara Morrison, Eddie Gomez, Guis Hendricks, and Tom Harrell. From 1985 to 2000 he was living in Holland, teaching at Konenlijk Conservatory in The Hague and performing at jazz festivals throughout Europe with people like Sal Nistico/Rachel Gould Quintet, Domagoy Rolinsic, Gjis Hendriks, Douglas Sides, and Benny Bailey. Recently, Frank came back to the United States, and for a short time, he returned to his home in Syracuse New York.

CNY Jazz Orchestra

The Central New York Jazz Orchestra (CNYJO) is an award-winning, all-star, regional “big band” that comprises the region’s finest jazz musicians. Led by internationally acclaimed Music Director Bret Zvacek, CNYJO performs concerts in the OnCenter Carrier Theater featuring the world’s finest guest soloists. Formed in 1996, CNYJO has made it possible for Syracuse to claim a national caliber regional not-for-profit jazz orchestra, one of a few cities capable of this accomplishment. The CNYJO is the flagship program of the CNY Jazz Arts Foundation, whose mission is to preserve, support and advance the art of jazz by presenting events in concert, cabaret, festival and educational settings


Karl Sterling

Born in Ithaca, New York Karl has spent the majority of his life in the Syracuse, NY area. Having grown up in a musical household, it was a natural thing for Karl to take to music and drums, in particular. Both of Karl's parents attended the Ithaca College School of Music. Karl's father Bob Sterling, was a drummer, composer/arranger, and leader of several successful bands in the Central New York area for many years. His mother, Helen majored in vocal studies at Ithaca College and is also a talented pianist. Karl now works as a nuerorehabilitation specialist, educator, and advocate for people with Parkinson's disease. In 2018, karl founded the the Parkinson’s Global Project ® - a 501c3 nonprofit corporation registered in the state of New York and is dedicated to funding Parkinson’s research and supporting Parkinson’s associations around the world


John Dare

A native of Auburn, NY, where his father and grandfather also based long drumming careers, John began playing drums at age four, learning rudiments from his grandfather. Music, especially Jazz, was an integral part of the Dare family life. Some of John’s earliest memories are of helping his Dad set up his drums for a gig, or watching his older brother’s band rehearse. ( both his older brothers also played drums ) At a very early age, John was exposed to and taught about the lineage of great drummers, such as “Papa Jo” Jones, Davey Tough, Shelly Manne, etc.. John took lessons in school, and played in all the ensembles


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