Barry has been a band director at Vedder Middle School in Chilliwack for 34 years. He says: "Working with 12 and 13 years olds is the perfect training for being the music director of these energetic, fun loving, big band enthusiasts."
As well as being our Music Director and performing with The Moonliters, Barry is also a member of the Fraser Valley Symphony Orchestra, the Chilliwack Metropolitan Orchestra, and the Cascadia Wind Ensemble.
Like all really great musical directors, Barry has the ability to seemingly always put together that perfect set of music for any occasion. A great example was our November 2018 participation in the West Coast Big Band Festival. Barry carefully thought about our possible options, and then decided on an entire set of Count Basie tunes. His thinking was he wanted what The Moonliters played to be unique, and stand out from the other big bands in attendance. As per usual, he was spot-on in putting together his set, and our music received praise not only from the audience, but from the organizers as well.
Jill has been playing with The Moonliters since 2007. Her musical career started at the age of 10, when she started playing in the New Westminster & District Community Band with her dad. It was both the Beginner and Senior bands of New Westminster that help shape Jill's future career—as did the her high school band director. She has fond memories of Moscrop Secondary School.
Jill's dad was her greatest musical influence, and she credits both her parents as being her greatest supporters.
When not playing with The Moonliters, you will find Jill teaching band at Chilliwack Middle School.
Her favourite music to perform is that from the big band era. However, Dixieland is a close 2nd.
During her time with The Moonliters there have been many memorable moments, but the one that stands out in her mind the most involves our late drummer, Bob Brown. He approached her after a gig at The Vancouver Club, and she has been grateful ever since to have been asked to join The Moonliters. Jill says: "An amazing group of people."
Rod has been with The Moonliters since 1992. Like so many of us, he began his trombone-playing career in the school band program, and honed those skills in community band.
The groups that he has played with that influenced him the most are the Royal Westminster Regiment and the Abbotsford Concert Band. He notes that J.J. Johnson is his greatest musical influence. Perhaps not surprisingly, swing is his favourite style of music to play.
Rod is our group's aural historian. He keeps notes on his music of particularly funny jokes or comments made about a particular piece of music (or how it was played); who made them; and the date on which they were made. This way if circumstances arise where the jokes are again apropos, he can share what former members said. This keeps former Moonliters with us to this day.
Rod enjoys the ongoing camaraderie of The Moonliters. One of his favourite memories is our November 2018 performance in the West Coast Big Band Festival.
Ted has been with The Moonliters since 1983. His musical beginnings however, trace themselves back to his days at Richard McBride Elementary School in New Westminster in the late 1950s. It was band teacher Mr. Mark Ross who got Ted started on his musical journey. Along the way he ended up in the Lloyd Abraham's New Westminster Jazz Band—the band that Ted credits with having influenced him the most.
Ted's favourite styles of music to perform are jazz and swing, so it is not surprising that Ted plays in a number of groups that all specialize in those genres. These groups include: Sanctuary All-Stars, Urbana (jazz), Al Fresco - Trombone Quintet, Vancouver Fire Fighters Band (swing).
Al, a former trombone player with the Moonliters, is now the band manager. He joined the group in 1981.
In addition to being a talented musician, Alan is also an incredibly gifted arranger. The Moonliters play a number of his arrangements, which span numerous styles of big band music. Everything from American Patrol—a sample of which is included on our music page—to You're The Cream In My Coffee, and quite a few letters of the alphabet in between.
When Alan was in his early teens, his family moved from England to Canada. Soon after, he joined a community band in Walkerton, Ontario. This band was the most influential of his musical experiences as it started him on a hobby that has lasted 65 years. During Alan’s time there, the far-sighted band master encouraged him to take up the trombone—a versatile instrument for all kinds of music including, of course, big band. It would be fair to say that Les Brown was one of Al's biggest influences while he was growing up in London during the big band era.
Al led his own dance band in the 1950’s, and for about a decade the group played in the beach pavilions on Lake Huron as well as service club dates and school proms.
His favourite kind of music is big band swing, although he played in the local (Abbotsford) concert band for 23 years. A highlight was the Calgary Stampede parade in 1968.