Behind the Music
A stylistically unique Jazz Band, the approximately 17 members of the Golden Ears Jazz Band have been singing, performing, and playing in sync as if they’d been together their entire musical careers. Throughout the course of the band’s union, they have won over the hearts of music lovers from all walks of life; performing at a variety of venues, making many public and private appearances. A big thank you goes out to a group of talented "subs" who allow the group to be flexible in it's scheduling!
TENOR SAX, VOCALS, MUSICAL DIRECTOR
Rebekah is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. While she teaches full time as a secondary school music teacher, her artistic outlet will always be jazz, through and through. Working with experienced jazz artists and mentors, Rebekah continuously strives to improve her craft. Her most recent project is a full-length jazz album produced by Joani Taylor recorded at Armoury Studios with Bob Murphy (piano), Doug Stephenson (bass), and Buff Allen (drums), and sound engineer David Hayes. Artists that have influenced her include Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Holly Cole, Sarah Vaughan, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Dinah Washington, Blossom Dearie, Karrin Allyson, and Nancy Wilson.
Rebekah is firmly entrenched in the styles that fall under the jazz umbrella. From bossa novas by Jobim, to blues tunes by The Beatles, to jazz standards by Jimmy van Heusen, her love of jazz and her familiarity with the vast array of songs and styles have given her a feel for jazz that is evident in her voice, sense of timing, phrasing, ever present groove, and her understanding of the fundamental drive in her art. Click below to see more about Rebekah Bell
Gwen would like to tickle the ivories, but since her piano is electric, she must instead pound the plastics. But she does it well, and you can hear Gwen filling out the sound of the band from the back of the rhythm section on her keyboard.
Richard and his inner metronome keep Golden Ears Jazz Band in tight time from the drums. He may be in the back row, but his style of drumming brings him to the front with his creative and foot-tapping rhythms.
Alan was born and raised in Vancouver, where he was first introduced to playing music during elementary school through an after school group piano program. Towards the end of high school he began playing guitar, joined a band, and has been joining different groups and "ensembles" ever since.
Les is part of a very musical family in Maple Ridge. He plays upright bass and tuba in the Maple Ridge Concert Band and trombone in GE Jazz.
Back in 1965 Alan fell in love with his trumpet and music, which he calls the universal language. At the age of 19 Alan was invited to play with the Vancouver Firefighters Band (the official Band for the city of Vancouver). Over the years he has played for dignitaries, politicians and royalty, including playing God Save The Queen for Prince Edward during a royal visit.
BARI SAX, VOCALS
Tom learned to play the tenor sax in junior high-school and continued to play in a marching band as a cadet in high-school and also at university. After a ten-year break from playing, Tom reacquired the skill when he joined the local volunteer military brass and reed band (the 14 Wing Greenwood Brass & Reeds) while serving in the Air Force in Greenwood, Nova Scotia and played with that band for thirteen years.
Tom retired from the Air Force in 2010 after a 28 year career as an Aerospace Engineer and moved with his wife Kerry from Nova Scotia to the family blueberry farm in Pitt Meadows. Other than farming, Tom is a Military Engineer in the Army Reserve in Chilliwack and also does security work serving summons and subpoenas for the Abbotsford Police department.
In addition to playing jazz, Tom is also an avid runner and can often be seen running the trails and dykes around Pitt Meadows.
Ken is a wonderful musician who has played in several professional and amateur groups around town. His wife, Noreen, is also in the Golden Ears Jazz Band (trombone) and they are both also in the Maple Ridge Concert Band.
Noreen plays slide trombone with Golden Ears Jazz Band. Noreen is a recently retired elementary school secretary, and has decided to focus her newly available time on her music - in addition to playing trombone for Golden Ears Jazz Band, Noreen learned piano as a child, and she also has played lead clarinet for the Maple Ridge Concert Band for over 30 years. Her husband plays trumpet in the Golden Ears Jazz Band and the Maple Ridge Concert Band, so between them it’s a full music schedule.
Noreen has 3 grown daughters and 5 grandchildren, which keep her busy when she’s not blowing her horn. Noreen also enjoys cruising on their boat in the summer, gardening, golfing and spending quality time with her family and friends.
ALTO SAX, VOCALS
Marty played saxophone in high school & after graduating he didn't pick it back up for 20 years.
Since joining the Maple Ridge concert band in 2000, he's played in multiple bands across the Lower Mainland & joined GE Jazz in 2016.
Marty's wife Michelle plays trumpet in the band as well.
In his spare time Marty enjoys his hobby custom picture framing & he and Michelle love spending time with their 2 grown boys, their families & their granddaughter Skarlett.
Michelle has played trumpet since learning as an adult starting in the Maple Ridge Concert band's adult beginner program in 2000. She is one of the original founding members of GE Jazz with Gale Yip! She has played in multiple bands across the Lower Mainland with her husband Marty who plays alto sax in GE Jazz.
She & Marty enjoy spending time with their 2 adult sons, their families & granddaughter Skarlett.
ALTO SAX (Alumnus)
After playing sax as a teenager with the Vancouver Junior Band (Beefeaters) he put it aside for 40 years and picked it up again when he retired in 2007. He has 4 adult children, 11 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. He keeps busy with them, local music groups, traveling with his wife Amelia and volunteer work.
Dan is one of our regular subs that are so valuable to the band. He is part of the remarkable Rohl musical family. Dan plays all varieties of saxes plus clarinet and bass clarinet in numerous bands around Metro Vancouver!
Judy is another valuable sub and another member of the Rohl musical family. She plays alto, tenor and bari sax plus clarinet. She also plays with several bands in Metro Vancouver.
Gail is Golden Ears Jazz Band's bass player. In addition to her electric bass guitar, she also enjoys playing piano, indulging herself with a bit of Mozart, some soft rock, good gospel, and anything other than country. When she's not making music, Gail keeps busy with her husband and family of 3 boys, 2 dogs, and a lizard named Bub, who is quite cuddly for a reptile. Gail is also an author, and in her spare time she can be found in her basement writing tales of love and adventure. When there's time to relax, she loves a good cup of hot coffee and reading a book written by someone else.
TRUMPET , FLUGELHORN
Growing up in a family of musicians David had little choice but to take up several instruments - starting with piano, and several other instruments until he found the trumpet at age 11. David played trumpet through his school years and into university where he studied trumpet performance at the University of Calgary & Rocky Mountain College. Professionally David worked as a music talent scout & music studio manager for many years before making the change to the non profit world.
David has performed for many jazz, classical & latin bands in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Most recently David was a member of the Saskatoon Concert Band and Stone Frigate Big Band based out of Saskatoon. He is excited to be a part of the rich musical scene in the lower mainland.
Dan Thiele is a retired member of the VPD, and has recently started driving a school bus. He's been married 32 years and counting, and he and his wife enjoy being involved in a local garden club, their church, and other community activities.
Dan plays tenor sax for the Golden Ears Jazz Band, which he began playing during his high school days. As an adult, this "Old Dawg" still works hard to learn new tricks, and he's done so well at re-learning his tenor saxophone that Dan received the award for Most Improved Player in 2013.
Besides working to always raise the bar with his musicianship, Dan likes to have fun during practice time, and then when practice is over, Dan finds it rewarding to play to appreciative audiences.
TROMBONE (and Webmaster)
Byron retired from a 30-year career as a science/chemistry/band teacher in 2015.
In addition to the Golden Ears Jazz band, he currently plays tuba in the Maple Ridge Concert band.
Byron got his love of jazz from his parents. His dad was a fan of the big bands of the day, and his mom’s favourite singer was Sarah Vaughn. There were lots of records that introduced him to many of the well-known big band arrangements and jazz standards.
In his years of performing, he has had many and varied musical experiences including musicals, operettas, and parades. Memorable musical performances include: “Oklahoma”, “Showboat”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, “West Side Story”, a performance tour to Quebec City (1983) with the Britannia Community band and a performance tour to Cuba (2015) with the Inlet Jazz Band..
Gale Yip plays slide trombone for Golden Ears Jazz Band, and Euphonium / Percussion with the Maple Ridge Concert Band. She is proud to call herself a happy band geek that loves to travel, chase her little grand-daughters and play music. Gale is self-employed as an automotive dealership service consultant. Along with husband Wayne, they chase the many hockey pucks their son Brandon (and Elizabeth) shoot all around the world. However, with Matthew and Raylene living locally, everyone can be found chasing Ava and Emma with their many activities. When she’s not working, Gale has been known to escape on her annual Girly Getaways with her high school girlfriends where they go fun places that husbands and family dare not follow.