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.
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.
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.
Marco first joined The Moonliters in the late 80s-early 90s, when he subbed in the sax section. He became a regular in the section in 2013.
Marco's love of the saxophone traces back to grade 7, when he saw someone playing an alto saxophone. He fell in love with the instrument on the spot. Since his school band days he has played saxophone in quite a few groups, including a Blues Brothers Band during Expo 86. Like many horn players, Marco has been heavily influenced by Tower Of Power and Chicago. He also is a big fan of Pat Metheny.
What many people perhaps don't know about Marco, is that it is classical saxophone that he enjoys performing most. These days he exercises his classical chops with The Cascadia Wind Ensemble.
Marco's favourite memory of The Moonliters dates back to when the band's founder, Larry Homer, was still alive. Marco really enjoyed playing in the band's original rehearsal space, and with some of the members who are no longer with us. He recalls a time when the band organized a trip to see the Rat Pack in concert. It is that camaraderie and those types of shared experiences and friendships, that he treasures most about The Moonliters.
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 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.
Photography by Jean Konda-Witte