Gary is has been tickling our ivories since 2015. However, piano is not the only instrument instrument he plays. Gary is an accomplished tuba, guitar, harmonica, and banjo player—skills he puts to use with the rest of the groups he plays with.
When not practicing or playing with The Moonliters, you might find him fronting his own party band, Earthmen, directing the Chilliwack Community Band, or playing with any of the following: Vacationers (rock), Fraser Valley Symphony, Creole Jazz Band (Trad jazz), Rad Trad (Trad. jazz), Chilliwack Metropolitan Orchestra, or the Bob Tar Jazz Quartet.
Like so many piano players, Gary started at a very early age when at 6, his mom made him take piano lessons. Little did either of them know that those lessons would start little Gary down a trajectory that would ultimately lead to a very successful teaching and performing career. One of the things he enjoys most about playing with The Moonliters, is that it gives him an opportunity to use all the jazz licks he practices daily.
Gary's piano playing has been influenced by greats such as: Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and George Shearing.
Gary's favourite memory of The Moonliters, is from our performance at the 2018 West Coast Big Band Festival in Surrey. He says: "The band was ready and the set was perfect for our abilities. We hit the stage and it immediately felt good. We left the audience smilin'. "
Don began playing drum set in his teens with his high school's stage band. He continued music studies at Douglas College, and later at McGill University where he majored in music theory and minored in classical percussion.
Over the years, Don has performed with several ensembles in the Fraser Valley including the Fraser Valley Symphony, the Handel Society of Music, Fraser Valley Stage as a percussionist, and with the Joy Vox Community Choir as a singer. He currently works at King's Music in Abbotsford, and at Calvin Presbyterian Church as music coordinator.
In 2014, Don joined the rhythm section of the Moonliters and has enjoyed the opportunity to return to his first love, playing drum set, with a great group of musicians.
Greg first joined The Moonliters in 1979. Like many in the band, he plays multiple instruments including: cello, double bass, mandolin, banjo, harmonica, saxophone, clarinet, as well as trumpet.
Greg loves performing all kinds of music, but rock is his favourite. When not playing with The Moonliters, you might see Greg pop up at a jam session or two in the region. He is also kept extremely busy with the Cascadia Wind Ensemble, White Rock Community Orchestra, Mission Symphony, as well as a rock band.
Among his greatest musical influences he notes: Wes Montgomery, Andrés Segovia, as well as Liona Boyd.
For Greg, the funniest thing he remembers happening during his tenure with The Moonliters, is when our piano fell out of the back of the truck and rolled down the street in Agassiz. The band was on its way to performing at the Harrison Hotel.
Kemp credits his mom and grandmother for his musical talent. It was however, his friend in college, who played electric bass in a rock 'n roll band, who started Kemp down the road of playing bass way back in the 1960s.
Kemp played in his first swing band back in 1978, when he played with Bellingham-based, Ken Colvin's Ballroom & Swing Band. Over the years he has played with a great many artists and groups in the Pacific Northwest, including: Swing Connection Big Band, Rainy Day Jazz Band, and the Harold Knudson Orchestra.
Kemp joined The Moonliters in 1997, and has been with them ever since. Performances at the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium and at the Vancouver Club are among the most memorable for events for him.
Although these days he plays primarily swing and gospel music, Kemp also plays: country, Dixieland, jazz, R&B, rock 'n roll, as well as standards.
These days Kemp is currently playing with not only The Moonliters, but also with the SDA Church Band.
Photography by Jean Konda-Witte