PEOPLE

Mike started Music Because Music to meet new folks all around the world to collaborate with, and to reconnect with past musical pals. Here are just some of the fantastic musicians who are part of the fun.

...I wonder who might be next...?

 

Catherine Gale, vocalist

Catherine Gale was raised in a family of musicians, and has been singing since the age of three.  Her father, legendary trombonist Jack Gale and uncle trumpeter David Gale were her earliest teachers. In 2008, she moved to Ithaca, NY where she currently teaches at Opus Ithaca. She has served on the faculty at Ithaca College, and at New York University where she taught jazz voice for over 10 years. For more than 15 years, she performed as a freelance singer in and around New York City, singing with a variety of groups including The Warren Vache Quintet, The Peter Deutchen Orchestra, Manhattan Sound, The Bronx Arts Ensemble and The Swing Mavens.

 Catherine Gale, vocalist

Catherine Gale, vocalist


 Nick Weiser, piano

Nick Weiser, piano

Nick Weiser, piano

Pianist Nick Weiser is steeped in both the jazz and classical idioms and has performed at events as far reaching as the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy, and Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival. During his formative years in western Kansas, Weiser studied piano with the late jazz pianist, composer, and arranger Frank Mantooth before matriculating to the University of Kansas. There, he developed his classical background while maintaining an active involvement in the jazz and musical theater programs, winning the prestigious Dick Wright Jazz Award in 2006 and performing with such greats as Peter Erskine, Ingrid Jensen, Rich Perry, John Abercrombie, and Gary Foster, to name a few.


Nicholas Walker, bass

Walker's exuberant and versatile performances on string bass have made him a sought after performer in many styles. He has given solo bass recitals on four continents, and has performed at music festivals worldwide. Walker has played with jazz masters such as Illinois Jacquet, Hank Jones, Frank Wess, Wynton Marsalis, Steve Turre, and Clark Terry, as well as progressive players from a younger generation, Bill Charlap, John Stetch, Aaron Goldberg, Matt Ray, William ‘Beaver’ Bausch, Paul Carlon, and John Ellis.

 Nicholas Walker, bass

Nicholas Walker, bass


 Matt Clauhs, tenor sax

Matt Clauhs, tenor sax

Matthew Clauhs, tenor sax

Matthew Clauhs is Assistant Professor of Music Education at Ithaca College. He was formerly coordinator of music for Johnson City Central School District, and the director of Jazz Studies at Boston's Performing Arts High School and an instructor for the Berklee College of Music Urban Outreach program. Dr. Clauhs has served as an adjunct professor at Ithaca College, SUNY Broome, and Morrisville State, where he taught music technology, ensembles, and jazz arranging. His research on music, race, and culture has been published in scholarly journals including School Music News, Urban Education, Visions of Research in Music Education, and Arts Education Policy Review.


Aaron Staebell, drums

Drummer. Composer. Teacher. Happiness purveyor.

 Aaron Staebell, drums

Aaron Staebell, drums


 Bob Sneider, guitar

Bob Sneider, guitar

Bob Sneider, guitar

Before joining the faculty of the Eastman School of Music in late 1997, Sneider toured for several years with two-time Grammy Award winner Chuck Mangione. Other notable performers with whom Sneider has performed, toured or recorded include: Nat Adderley, Joe Locke, Don Menza, Lou Donaldson, Joey Defrancesco, Pat Bianchi, Gary Versace, Pat Labarbara, Grant Stewart, Ken Peplowski, Gerry Niewood, Chris Potter, Roy McCurdy, Eric Alexander, David Hazeltine, Frank Strazzerri, Jon Faddis, Keeter Betts and frequent appearances with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Pops(guitar/banjo). Sneider has performed in major festivals, concert halls and jazz clubs throughout South America, Central America, North America and Europe.


Russell Schmidt, piano

Pianist/composer/arranger Russell Schmidt has performed with such celebrated artists as Carl Allen, Bob Berg, Eddie Daniels, Tim Hagans, John Hollenbeck, Gerry Mulligan, Dick Oatts, Dave Samuels, Arturo Sandoval, Clark Terry, and Frank Vignola. Among his recent recordings are Season of Change, showcasing his own piano trio, The Surprise of Being – Live at Birdland, by the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra featuring saxophonist Joe Lovano, and Rays of Light, the latest Paul Ferguson Jazz Orchestra release. Schmidt’s newest combo recording, Anachromysticism, was released in late 2012 and showcases his wide-ranging efforts as a jazz composer, featuring eleven different works in two different release formats: CD and vinyl (double-LP). A deeply creative performer, he was one of only two American jazz pianists selected to participate in the 2nd Martial Solal International Jazz Piano Competition.  

 Russell Allen Schmidt, piano

Russell Allen Schmidt, piano


 Greg Evans, drums

Greg Evans, drums

Greg Evans, drums

Greg Evans is a passionate and captivating performer, pedagogue and composer. His drive, energy and facility on the drum set has given him experience across the spectrum of the music industry. Greg’s influence spans multiple milieus including studio recordings, live clubs/venues, festivals and the classroom.


Gabe Condon, guitar

Gabe Condon is a nationally acclaimed guitarist, vocalist, composer, and educator.  In 2009, he performed in Miami as a member of the NFAA YoungArts Program, and received a Silver Award.  As a result of his success in Miami, he was invited to give a second NFAA YoungArts performance in New York City.  Gabe received a national DownBeat Magazine award in 2010 as an “Outstanding Soloist.”  In 2014, won first place in the Wilson Center International Guitar Competition in the jazz category.  Most recently, he was awarded his fourth national Downbeat Magazine award for the 2015 “Best Studio Orchestra Arrangement”.

 Gabe Condon, drums

Gabe Condon, drums


 James Spinazzola, tenor sax

James Spinazzola, tenor sax

James Spinazzola, tenor sax

James Spinazzola is an active conductor, ensemble clinician, saxophonist, and arranger/composer. In addition to directing the Cornell wind ensemble program, James coaches chamber music, teaches applied saxophone, and serves as faculty adviser to CU Winds, a student-driven organization devoted to the performance and promotion of wind band music.


Mike Kaupa, trumpet

Trumpeter Mike Kaupa has performed throughout the U.S., Europe, and Japan. From 2001 through 2005 he was a member of the faculty at the annual Seminario de Jazz, in Barcelona, Spain. He was an interim professor of jazz trumpet at the Eastman School for the 1999/2000 school year and the spring semester, 2010. Among others, he has performed with Jorge Rossy, Ben Monder, Mark Murphy, Gary Bartz, Luciana Souza, Joe Locke, Mel Torme, and Ray Charles. Mike holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Fredonia State University and a Master of Music degree from The University of Miami. He is currently on the faculty of The Harley School and the Eastman Community Music School.

 Mike Kaupa, trumpet

Mike Kaupa, trumpet


 Alex Miller, trumpet

Alex Miller, trumpet

Alex Miller, trumpet

Alex Miller is a trumpet player, composer, and educator from Binghamton, NY. He is currently a senior Music Education major at Ithaca college with plans to further his  studies in jazz performance and pedagogy.


Dan Wenger, trombone

Dan plays trombone. Dan is a proud native of Washington Heights, NYC. Dan enjoys garden design. Dan likes to play music... because... {[_____]}. Dan is looking to pursue a M.S. in Music Therapy after graduating from Ithaca College in Spring 2017. Dan hopes to help struggling children and adolescents by utilizing the cathartic effects of improvisation.

 Dan Wenger, trombone

Dan Wenger, trombone


 Alex Shuhan, horn

Alex Shuhan, horn

Alexander Shuhan is a founding member (1993) of Rhythm & Brass, an international touring, performing and recording ensemble. He is principal horn with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra and performs frequently with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. He also performs regularly at the Skaneateles Chamber Music Festival. Shuhan is also an accomplished composer and arranger, having written a number of works for Rhythm & Brass. His composition "Awakenings" is featured on the most recent Rhythm & Brass recording entitled "Inside The Blue Suitcase."


Many more incredible folks have made Music Because Music, including:

  • Nikola Tomic, trumpet
  • Alec Staples, bari sax
  • Matt Stookey, bari sax
  • Mike Nave, trombone
  • Danny Ziemann, bass
  • CJ Ziarinak, tenor sax
  • Brendan Lanighan, trombone
  • Karl Stabnau, bari sax
  • Sam Shuhan, bass
  • Matt Lowe, trombone
  • Alex Toth, bass
  • Denny Monce, trumpet
  • Keith Kelly, tenor sax
  • Adam Roberts, tenor sax
  • Shea Marshall, baritone sax
  • Dwight Kilian, bass
  • Rob Moore, drums