Ian (Doc) Graham
Doc (aka Ian Graham) started on clarinet when he heard that an instrument and basic instruction were available from the town band in his central Ontario town. His dream was to someday play saxophone in a dance band.
When still in public school he saved enough to buy a used alto sax and take private lessons. Later he joined some high school friends to form a small combo. Eventually they were hired to play a few nights a week at a summer resort. This helped fund his way through medical school.
In 1965 he settled into family practice in Mission. A few years later he happened to meet Larry Homer, another sax player in Abbotsford who put together a group to play the music of the big band era.
The band made its debut in 1971 when they put on an evening of dancing for their friends. In time, Doc became the lead alto sax player and now fifteen years into retirement continues to enjoy many happy moments playing his favourite music with The Moonliters.
Ilona Weiss has been playing saxophone for over 25 years. She studied classical music at the University of Western Ontario, and then attended Humber College in Toronto for jazz studies. She has studied with the likes of Pat LaBarbera , Brian Lillos, Alex Dean and Mike Murley, and played in various ensembles, including 2 years performing with the Martina Griffith Quartet.
Ilona currently teaches saxophone, clarinet and ukulele at King’s Music in Abbotsford, and joined The Moonliters in November 2017.
Mark Kowalenko graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1977 with a Bachelor of Music Degree. He taught Jazz Band and Concert Band at D. W. Poppy Secondary School in Langley for 20 years.
Over these years, Mark's Concert and Jazz Bands were extremely successful at the New Westminster Jazz Festival, the Surrey Jazz Festival, the Kiwanis Music Festival, Festival Canada in Banff and Musicfest Canada. His jazz bands were showcased in feature concerts in both Banff and at Musicfest Canada, and, along with his Concert Bands, frequently won gold awards.
Mark has played professionally for over 45 years in various combos, club bands, show bands and big bands. He has also served as an adjudicator at a number of Music Festivals. Now retired, Mark still finds time to play the occasional gig, enjoy the camaraderie of the Moonliters, and enjoy his passion for fly fishing.
Helen has been playing saxophone since she was 12 years old. She has played in a wide variety of musical settings including: rock, blues, R&B, jazz, Latin, concert, dance, and swing bands, as well as sax ensembles, pit orchestras, and small combos. Helen has also done studio and solo work.
None of her instruments are new. Helen prefers to play vintage saxophones—most dating back to the middle of the 20th century or older.
Helen’s love for vintage horns has led her to research and write about vintage saxophones, and as a result she has acquired an extensive collection of vintage horns: the oldest of which dates back to 1886.
This love for vintage saxophones has led her to develop a large, based resource for saxophone players on her website: bassic-sax.info. Through it Helen responds to questions from players from around the world about their vintage and antique instruments.
Helen plays all voices of saxophones from soprano through bass. She also doubles on clarinet and bass clarinet. She has been with The Moonliters since January 2014.
Jerry is a Washington State native who was born in Tacoma, and raised in Kent. He earned his BSEE from Washington State College, and his MBA from Harvard. He then went on to work with Hewlett-Packard in California, Japan and Idaho for 29 years.
Jerry played sax and clarinet for various bands until he graduated from WSC, but then put his horns away for 35 years while his career and family kept him extremely busy. Upon retirement he moved to Bellingham, and began playing in a local community band in 1991. In 1994 he acquired a bari, and joined The Moonliters in 1997.
Currently Jerry also plays with the North Cascades Concert Band and Bellingham’s Swing connection.
Multi-instrumentalist Colin Farquhar started performing with The Moonliters in 2001, and played with the band from 2001-2013 when he moved to Manitoba.
Since coming back to BC he has subbed with the band in various parts of the sax section. Other musical endeavours past and present include playing woodwinds for a selection of musical theatre groups, touring North America with the Big Bang Jazz Band, and 3 years as lead alto with the Bruce James Orchestra. As a keyboardist/Hammond organist he has performed with The Lazy Susans, Heist, and The Vacationers.