2020 Band Members
Grammy-nominated Composer and Trumpeter Tim Hagans is one of the most unique and influential modern voices in jazz. His distinct tone was described by the Village Voice as “powerfully expressive” and Gary Giddins professed him to be a “swarming, spirited tour de force.”
“I am elated to be leading the Toledo Jazz Orchestra. I am familiar with the band’s long and impressive history, and I know many of these great musicians who have performed with the orchestra for years. I recognize that the Toledo Jazz Orchestra is a vital part of a vibrant arts scene in Toledo and I am excited about possibilities for programming and community engagement.”
Saxophonist Mark Lemle earned his Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree from Bowling Green State University. Mark is a freelance musician and is the owner/piano technician of his family business, Lemle’s Piano Services. Performing on soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones as well as flute and clarinet, Mark has been a member of the Toledo Jazz Orchestra since its inception, and has performed with many groups in the Toledo area, including the Toledo Symphony Orchestra. Within these groups Mark has had the opportunity to work with a diversity of renowned artists including Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams, Bobby Vinton, The Four Tops, The Temptations, and Johnny Mathis.
Saxophonist/flutist Steve Wood has been performing in the Detroit MI and Toledo, OH area for more than four decades and is considered one of the region’s leading players and teachers. After studying with Marvin “Doc” Holladay at Oakland University and Marcus Belgrave in the Jazz Development Workshop, Steve began performing and recording with Detroit’s top jazz artists including Paul Keller, Johnny Trudell, and Ed Nuccilli. He has released two CDs of his own, Unanswerable Questions(Alembic Records) and Deep Woods(Corridor Records) and toured Europe twice with the Paul Keller Orchestra. In 1990 he won the Hennessy Cognac Jazz Search and in 1991 and 1992 was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship to study with George Coleman in New York City. He is currently teaching at Cranbrook Schools and Michigan State University Community Music School in Detroit.
Gene Parker has been a professional musician in the Toledo area for 50 years. He attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and studied under Carmen Campione of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Parker has been a private teacher since 1960 and began teaching jazz history and pedagogy in 1963, long before jazz education became integrated into curricula in the United States. A true multi-instrumentalist, Gene teaches saxophone, clarinet, flute, vibraphone, bass, piano, trumpet, trombone, B3 Hammond Organ, electronic keyboards, Latin percussion, and midi instruments. Currently, Mr. Parker is instructor of Jazz Studies at Ohio Northern University and Jazz saxophone instructor at Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan.
Pete Kahn, originally from New Jersey, has performed as lead alto sax and/or jazz sax and clarinet soloist with Mel Torme, Manhattan Transfer, Nancy Wilson, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Mathis, Lou Rawls, The Detroit Symphony and many others. He has been lead alto sax with the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra since its formation 8 years ago.
Jason Yost (baritone saxophone) continues his 24 year tenure with the Toledo Jazz Orchestra having recorded on both Groovin’ and Out of Nowhere. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Jason began his career as an instrumental and choral music educator, but transitioned into vocational ministry as an associate pastor for both music and discipleship. Over his career, Jason has had opportunity for guest artist performances with the Lima Symphony, Toledo Symphony, San Luis Potosi Symphony, and Toledo Concert Band. He is a founding member of Sax 4th Avenue (1991) having made guest instructional performances in both local, state, and national academic settings. Recording credits with the quartet include Delusions de Grandeur and most recently a composition project of sixteen Jazz Infected Fugues.
Saxophonist and clarinetist Shannon Ford has been active as a freelancer and private teacher, both classical and jazz styles, in the Toledo area since 1991. As a saxophonist, she has performed throughout the Midwest and recorded with the saxophone quartet Sax 4th Avenue, recorded both Suites for Tenor Saxophone and Strings with the Alec Wilder Project, worked with the TJO, the Toledo Symphony (among other notable ensembles), and has performed and recorded with the Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra. As a clarinetist she has performed for many years as principal clarinetist of the Adrian (MI) Symphony Orchestra, has enjoyed engagements with the Toledo Opera and Michigan Opera Theatre, and performs often with the Toledo Symphony. Shannon teaches Saxophone at the University of Toledo and has performance degrees from Indiana State University and Bowling Green State University. Her teachers include John Sampen, Ron Samuels, Gene Parker, and Mark Kieswetter.
One of the top lead trumpeters in the Midwest, Ric Wolkins was one of the founders of the Toledo Jazz Orchestra in 1980. Ric has played with the Toledo Symphony Pops since 1967, played with the Toledo Jazz Orchestra for 33 years, the Homewreckers Rock and Roll Band, and the Glass City Brass Quintet. In Detroit, Ric plays at the Fisher Theatre, in wedding bands, and numerous other bands. Ric has played with Dizzy Gillespie, Arturo Sandoval, all the Motown acts, and traveled with Bobby Vinton for 10 years. Ric thanks God every day that he can play the trumpet, and only hopes he can make someone happy in doing so.
Born into a musical family in Toledo, Ohio, Ben Wolkins grew up studying music under numerous great musicians and teachers in the Midwest. He received a Bachelor of Music from the University of Toledo and a Master of Arts in Jazz Studies from the Aaron Copeland School of Music at Queens College, City University of New York. The pursuit of his Bachelor’s degree also found him earning credits at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and Indiana University, Bloomington. Ben plays with a big, bold trumpet sound and can be found playing many genres of music while always working hard at finding his own voice while improvising. When free, he enjoys spending time with his wife and sons, practicing Aikido, golfing, and listening to new artists contributing to the longevity of beautiful music.
David Tippett, a freelance artist and music consultant, has performed with Jazz greats like Joe Williams, Bill Evans, Clark Terry, Zoot Simms, Ernie Watts, and Jiggs Whigham. He has toured with the Russ Morgan Orchestra, Columbia Artist Tours including: The Stars of Lawrence Welk, Andy William Christmas Tour, Four Lads, The Aces, Cordetts, and the Diamonds. He played lead trumpet for the Buddy Rich Big Band and has been a house musician for Norwegian, American Holland, Royal Viking, and Carnival Cruise Lines. He is currently the Music Specialist for the PLD High School from Lexington, KY and serves as a Teaching Artist for Aesthetic Education through Lincoln Center for the Arts in New York City. His involvement in the Pageantry Arts Activity has spanned over 30 years. He has also served as the Director of the Toledo Jazz Orchestra and the assistant director of the University of Toledo Marching Band.
Current TJO President Scott Potter has been a member of the band’s trumpet section for over 30 years. He holds B.A. degrees from both BGSU and UT and is co-owner of Black & White Transportation with his wife Judy for 22 years. When not in the practice room, Scott can be found on a pond, lake, stream or salt flats with fly rod in hand.
A Shreveport, Louisiana native, Mike now lives in the Midwest and has been a member of the TJO for several years. He is most commonly known for his work as the Lead Trumpet Player with The World Famous Count Basie Orchestra, a position he held for 31 years, performing in all fifty states and fifty-seven countries. While on the road with the Basie Band, he has completed several tours that included Dizzy Gillespie and Billy Eckstein, Benny Carter, George Benson, Joe Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Nancy Wilson, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, plus many others. Mike has recorded over fifty albums, and of the twenty-five recordings with the Basie Band, three were Grammy winners. He freelances in the area, teaches privately, and performs as guest soloist and clinician with universities and high schools across the nation and abroad.
Dan Saygers has been an active performer since completing his Bachelor of Music Degree at Bowling Green State University. Proficient at a wide assortment of musical styles, Dan is a long-time member of the Toledo Jazz Orchestra and of the Tower Brass Quintet. He has performed with the Toledo and Lima Symphony Orchestras and is a member of the Toledo Symphony Concert Band. As a past arts educator, he has presented workshops and residencies on aesthetic education and has been affiliated with both Lincoln Center and the Wolftrap Institute for the Arts. When not performing as a trombonist, Dan serves as a high school guidance counselor. Married for many years to his wife, Deb, they have two sons.
Scott Rogers is a native of both Toledo, and Bowling Green, Ohio. Scott graduated from both Bowling Green State University with a BMEd and Ashland University with a Med in Curriculum and Instruction. Rogers has at least 48 years as an instrumental artist and 35 years as a successful music educator in Ohio. As a trombonist and vocalist Scott was able to work his craft with the Stan Sterner Big Band, Johnny Knorr Orchestra, The Dayton Jazz Orchestra, The Don Glasser Orchestra N.Y., Bob Jay, and Jack Runyon Big Bands. Scott serves as an Academic Advisor for the College of Musical Arts at Bowling Green State University. Scott continues to teach, perform, and conduct honors groups in many different types of musical situations and venues.
Ellen Rowe, jazz pianist and composer, is currently the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at the University of Michigan. Ms. Rowe has released five CDs released as a leader four of which, “Sylvan Way”, “Denali Pass”, “Wishing Well” and “Courage Music” are available at PKO records and at CdBaby.com. Her newest album “Momentum – Portraits of Women In Motion” was released to widespread critical acclaim in January 2019 and is available at Smokin’ Sleddog Records, ellenrowe.com, CDBaby.com, Spotify and other streaming services. Her various small groups have been featured at jazz festivals around the country as well as at colleges and universities and the Jazz Education Network Conference.
Jeff Halsey is a prime example of a regional player who commands all the technique and musical acumen of better-known musicians. Halsey has served as first-call bassist for musicians living and touring in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. He possesses a bright, elastic bass tone that serves him particularly well when articulating distinctive, horn-like solos. The son of saxophonist Tracy Halsey, Halsey started out playing piano and trumpet. He began studying bass when he was 16. Halsey holds an appointment as Professor of Music Performance Studies at Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts where he teaches jazz history and improvisation, as well as applied jazz bass studies. Halsey also appears with the BGSU faculty jazz ensemble, which includes saxophonist David Bixler, guitarist Ariel Kasler, and drummer Dan Piccolo.
Kevin comes from a musical family. With father an operatic tenor and voice teacher at BGSU, and mother an organist/pianist and teacher, music was woven in the fabric! Kevin studied piano, guitar, and eventually found his instrument, the bass, after some not-so-gentle persuasion from his big brother, graduating with a degree in music performance from BGSU. He has since had the good fortune to perform with many wonderful musicians and groups. He has been the bassist for the Toledo Jazz Orchestra for over 20 years, playing with local idols Gene Parker and Jimmy Cook in that ensemble and rubbing musical shoulders with Clark Terry, Benny Goldson, Jeff Hamilton, Peter Erskine, Kurt Elling, Sue Raney, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and many other great local musicians. Kevin is also a member of the vocal jazz quintet Sixth Edition and the progressive rock band Boffo.
Dan has performed as a drummer/percussionist in every conceivable musical setting. From the concert halls of Europe to Carnegie Hall. He has played with such jazz luminaries as Randy Brecker, Barney Kessel, Wild Bill Davidson, and Clark Terry, and Franz Jackson, just to name a few. The list of entertainers Dan has performed for literally reads like a "who's who." Hugh Jackman, Richard Harris, Mickey Rooney, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Yul Brynner, Milton Berle, Syd Caesar, Debbie Reynolds, and numerous others. Pop-rock groups include; The Who, The Moddy Blues, Grand Funk Railroad (recorded) Brian Wilson (Beach Boys) and many, many more. Dan is the 1st call percussionist at the Fox and Fisher Theaters in Detroit. He has been on the faculty of Oakland University for more than 30 years. Also having performed with the Detroit Symphony and Michigan Opera countless times. Dan has enjoyed being the drummer for the Toledo Jazz Orchestra for several years.
Like Clark Kent, jazz percussionist Pete Siers is soft-spoken and unassuming--but put him behind a drum set, and a hard-swinging, intensely physical, dynamically sensitive drummer emerges. When Pete plays, “straight-ahead, readily apparent musical joy” can be expected, according to the Southeastern Michigan Jazz Association. And Paul Pearce of Bass World magazine writes that “Pete absolutely ‘sings’ with his drum kit.” In addition to his performance and recording career, Pete has taught percussion and jazz drumming for over 25 years. He teaches privately as well as having taught at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor School for Performing Arts, Emory University, Purdue University and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. He was also an artist-in-residence at Interlochen School of the Arts.