Meet the Musicians
Meet the Musicians
Staci
 
MMB CONDUCTOR, STACI CLEVELAND
staci@melbournemunicipalband.org
 
Staci Cleveland was named as the Conductor for the Melbourne Municipal Band in June of 2010. Cleveland graduated from the University of Florida with her Bachelor in Music Education in 1992, and with her Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting in 1994. She studied conducting with Dr. David A. Waybright while serving as a Graduate Assistant in the UF School of Music. After serving as the Director of Admissions and Undergraduate Advising for the School of Music at UF, she taught band in the Florida Public Schools. She currently lives with her family in Melbourne, where she teaches privately and plays flute various community ensembles. Her other interests include raquetball, Taekwondo, science and good books of all kinds. 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
SWINGTIME CONDUCTOR, ART MARTIN
 
A performer, educator, adjudicator, and clinician, Art Martin has taught in New Jersey public schools for over 40 years and spent six years as Adjunct Instructor of Music at Montclair State University. Art has been a member of the Melbourne Swingtime big band, Melbourne Municipal Band, The Oh Golly Dixieland Band, played in the Pit Orchestras for the Cocoa Village Playhouse and The Henegar Center, playing various woodwind instruments.  Art has also performed for Las Vegas Cruise Lines, with the Space Coast Pops and Central Florida Winds. Art has been a member of the Board of Trustees for the Melbourne Municipal Band from 2008 to 2010 serving as Treasurer and on the finance committee.  He currently is  Coordinator and Program Director of the MMB/4 the Kids of Brevard Summer Youth Band Program, Executive Administrator for the Melbourne Municipal Band and has been conductor of the Swingtime Jazz Band and an 8 piece ensemble call “Swingtime Lite”. since May, 2010.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
GUEST CONDUCTOR , COL HAL GIBSON
 
Colonel Hal J. Gibson, United States Army retired, is an internationally acclaimed musician and conductor with a professional background that spans more than a half a century.

For more than 30 years he was a military bandleader holding positions at the highest levels of the Army’s band program. These included assignments as bandleader at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he also conducted the highly acclaimed Cadet Glee Club; Commander and Conductor of the Army’s “showcase” Musical Ambassadors, the U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus; and in 1974 he was selected from the bandleaders of all services to form and conduct The Armed Forces Bicentennial Band and Chorus which was the only military musical organization ever to have been comprised of members from all five U.S. uniformed services. During his long and distinguished career he has conducted in all 50 states and in 36 foreign countries.

Following his retirement from the Army he was appointed Director of Bands and Professor of Music at the Schwob School of Music of Columbus State University. He served there for 16 years and developed one of the finest wind ensembles of the southeast. Following his retirement he was voted to be Professor Emeritus by the Georgia Board of Regents, and is the only college band director from the state to have been so honored. In November of 2001 the rehearsal hall of the newly constructed world class RiverCenter (sic) for the Performing Arts of Columbus State University was dedicated and named for him.

In February of 2004 he was inducted into the National Hall of Fame for Distinguished Band Conductors. He is a national honorary member of Phi Beta Mu, the College Band Directors National Association, Kappa Kappa Psi, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and is an elected member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association. He is listed in the International Who’s Who of Music and serves on the boards of several important musical organizations. In May of 2011 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree at the graduation ceremonies of Columbus State University. He and his wife Marie currently reside in Viera, Florida where he conducts the Symphonic Wind Ensemble of the Melbourne Municipal Band, and the Colony Singers of the Indian River Colony Club.
 
 
ADAGIO SAX QUARTET
 
The Adagio Sax Quartet is the newest and most exciting small ensemble of the Melbourne Municipal Band. The Adagio Sax Quartet’s repertoire consists of music from the Great American Songbook, blues, dixieland, rags, and classical. There’s something for everyone.

The Adagio Sax Quartet boasts some of the finest players in the area. Andrew Cleaver, on first alto and soprano, was lead alto saxophonist with the Air Force’s European version of the Glenn Miller Band. Dave Melchor plays second alto. Dave has play sax in bands for 60 years. He is a founding member of the Swingtime Band playing in most Swingtime concerts and dances in Melbourne Auditorium. Our tenor sax player is John Babb. John honked his first notes on a used tenor sax at the age of 12. That instrument and the love of playing have never left him. Dave Hutson plays the big baritone sax. He played sax in high school but put it down after graduation. He picked up the sax again seven years ago. He plays playing in the Melbourne Municipal Band and in Swingtime. Our percussionist, the fifth member of the quartet, is Johnie Rojas. Johnie began playing the drums five years ago. His natural talent has made him a sought-after drummer for many local jazz groups. You can hear Johnie at Heidi’s on Wednesday’s and Friday’s as part of the Steve Kirsner combo.
 
 
GUEST CONDUCTOR and CLARINETIST, CHARLIE ALMEDIA
 
Charlie joined the American Federation Of Musicians in 1948, playing on the road in New York, Chicago, Las Vegas and Key West. Uncle Sam “requested“ his services and was assigned to Washington D.C. as a member of the U S Air Force Dance Band “The Airmen Of Note”. In 1962 he left the Air Force and enlisted in the U S Army where he was appointed a Bandmaster. During his military career he was assigned to NORAD Band in Colorado Springs, the US Army Field Band in DC, and joined Col Hal Gibson's Marching Band with a Dance Band. Charlie started a 24 piece Jazz/ Rock group that still performs today as “The Army Jazz Ambassadors” and retired in 1972. Charlie began recording with the Baltimore and National Symphonies, performances at the National Theater, Kennedy Center Wolf Trap Farm, Ford Theater, Ringling Brother’s Circus, Ice Follies, backing attractions such as Bob Hope, Diane Warrick Milton Berle, Frank Sinatra, several Inaugural Ball’s, many Broadway musicals. Charlie started with the Melbourne Band when he purchased property here in 1976. Charlie has been part of the band since then, performing every chance that his professional schedule would allow.
 
 
FLUTIST, ANNE ADAMS
 
Anne Adams was born and raised in Rochester, NY, and spent most of her growing up years involved in music, including graduating from the Eastman School of Music Preparatory Department. Although her BS degree from Mansfield University (then Mansfield State College in Pennsylvania) and her Masters degree from the University of Colorado were in the field of education, Anne continued her extensive involvement in music, participating in many ensembles, chorus, bands (including marching bands) and pit orchestras. During her 10 years in Boulder, she became involved with the Boulder Community Band and was on their Board of Directors and instrumental in writing their Charter and By-Laws. When she arrived in Florida in 1987, she looked for an opportunity to join a band or orchestra and joined the Melbourne Municipal Band, and subsequently the Melbourne Community Orchestra. Anne sat on the Board of Directors of both groups, and became the producer of the musical Babes in Toyland which was produced jointly by both groups. As a Director on the Board for the Space Coast Pops Orchestra (formerly the Space Coast Philharmonic) for 16 years, Anne was the President of the South Society and more recently Vice-President of Publications for the orchestra. She is an active member of the Space Coast Flute Orchestra and performs with them regularly. She served as President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Melbourne Municipal Band for 3 years, and now enjoys just playing in the flute section. After years of managing her husband’s tool business and later his trucking business, Anne worked as manager of a Dental Office and subsequently worked at Northrop Grumman, where she has been in the Marketing Department for the past 15 years. While at Northrop Grumman, she decided to go back to school to pursue a degree in Graphic Design Technology, which has long been a dream of hers.
 
 
GUEST VOCALIST, ELIANA BERREAN
 
Eliana Berrean is 16 years old, and has been taking classical voice training for around eight years. Her first big stage performance, at age nine, was “An Evening with Mark Baker.” Since then, she has been in various concerts all over Brevard County, including performances with the Space Coast Pops and the Melbourne Municipal Band. She was a finalist in Brevard’s Got Music Talent, as well as a performer and emcee in the Creative Arts Foundation’s Music on the Hill. She has participated in six main stage productions at the Cocoa Village Playhouse, her biggest roles being Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof, and Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. Her hopes are to pursue a career in operatic performance, and eventually audition for the Metropolitan Opera.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
GUEST VIOLINIST, SARAH BIESACK
 
Sarah Biesack is 11 years old and a very talented young lady. When she started taking violin and piano lessons at the age of 4, it was evident that she had a gift for music. She excelled quickly and by the time she was eight, she became the youngest member of the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra (FSYO) Overture Strings and was awarded first place in the Florida State Fiddle Contest. Today, she is the FSYO Concert Mistress for Prelude Orchestra (again, the youngest member) and has won the Florida State Fiddle Contest three consecutive years. She loves a variety of genres in music including Irish, classical, bluegrass, and pop. She has the ability to sight read and play “by ear”. In school, Sarah is equally exceptional. Just this year she took first place in her school’s science fair, first place in the school spelling bee, and first place in the Brevard County Launch the Vote art contest. She also earned a perfect score on the Florida State Assessment mathematics test and has maintained straight A’s. She was awarded her classes’ Trustworthiness award. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys archery, reading, basketball, and playing with her little sister.
 
 
PRINCIPAL TRUMPET, DAVID EWING
 
David Ewing is the Melbourne Municipal Band prinicipal trumpet player. He actually plays trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn and on very rare occasions, baritone. As a child he used to listen to his older brother play trumpet and loved the sound. When he was old enough he picked up his brother`s trumpet and found he could play it easily. He went on to study at the Philadelphia Collee of Performing Ars, which is now the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. He studied under Anthony Marchione and Gerard Schwartz. David is a mechanically minded individual, but true to his musical background, he loves to teach music and is a private trumpet instructor. He served for many years as the Band General Manager. David`s experience is extensive and includes playing on a regular basis with the Internatiional Symphonic Wind Orchestra, Utica Symphony, Colgate University Orchestra, Chenango Brass Quintet, Eastern Philharmonic, Space Coast Pops, Melbourne Municipal Band, Swingtime Jazz Band, Sunshine Brass Quintet, Space Coast Winds, Central Florida Winds, Central Florida Lyric Opera and the North Jersey Symphonic Wind Orchestra. He also performs regularly on a freelance basis. David lives in Rockledge with his wife Donna (who plays euphonium and French horn), Maltese dogs Muffin and Gidget, cat Champagne and two fish tanks! He has a son Derric (who plays trumpet), a daughter-in-law Amanda, a grandson Seth.
 
FLUTIST, MARILYN FERRARIS
 
Marilyn Ferraris has been in the Melbourne Municipal Band since the very first rehearsal in August of 1965. Her grandfather, a flutist, taught her how to play the flute when she was in elementary school. Marilyn played the flute in bands & orchestras all through her school years taking private lessons from John Durash from the Oakland, California Symphony Orchestra. While attending San Francisco State University she played flute in the Symphonic Concert Band for two years. Marilyn joined the 14th. Army WAC (Women's Army Corps) Band & toured the Eastern & Southern United States with the 60 piece all women's band for two years. She became involved in when she came to Melbourne from Hawaii in 1965. Marilyn attended Rollins College Patrick Branch & received her degree in education. She was a Kindergarten & first grade teacher at Holland Elementary in Satellite Beach until she retired. Marilyn's husband, Bob Ferraris worked for IBM & played trumpet in the IBM Concert Band in upstate New York and after moving to Melbourne, played with the Melbourne Municipal Band for 35 years. She is proud to be a member of this fine musical group!
 
    CLARINETIST, ALTHEA KRASNY
 
Althea Krasny was born in Detroit, Michigan, 79 years ago. She became a Floridian in a most unusual way. Her family (her mother, father and 2 younger sisters) boated down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers in a 30 foot ocean going ketch which had been built by her father in their backyard in Detroit. The family settled on a farm outside of Dade City, Florida. At that time their farm had no electricity and no telephone. Althea started piano lessons at an early age and began playing clarinet in the 5th grade. She played clarinet in the Pasco High School Band and was the co-valedictorian of her graduating class. She graduated with honors from the University of Miami, majoring in Education. She was a member of the University of Miami’s “Band of the Hour”, conducted by Fred McCall and often guest conducted by Henry Fillmore, best known for his march “Lasses Trombone”. She is a member of Delta Zeta Sorority and Mortar Board Honorary. She met her husband, Mike, at U of M. and they were married shortly after her graduation. She taught school while her husband finished Law School. Althea taught mathematics in junior high schools in Miami, Tallahassee and Melbourne. Mike and Althea moved to Eau Gallie (now Melbourne) in 1962. They have four sons, one daughter and six grandchildren. Their daughter, Robin, also plays in the Melbourne Municipal Band. Althea was a founding member of the Melbourne Municipal Band in 1965 and served many years as the Band’s president. She is active in the community and belongs to the Junior League of South Brevard, The Haven Guild, The Hacienda Women’s Guild and Panhellenic of South Brevard. She enjoys reading, snow-skiing and is a certified scuba diver. 
 
               CORNET, RALF LUDWIG
 
Born and raised in Germany, Ralf played trumpet and sang in the choir of the local church in the town of Kappeln during high school. He quit playing trumpet after graduation in 1983, but continued choir singing when he enrolled at University of Kiel. The trumpet would continue to lie dormant for quite some time. After having accepted a job offer, he moved to Denver Colorado in 1999. He realized that he missed music so started practising trumpet again in 2003. Dan Kuehn of the Colorado Symphony was his teacher from 2004 until 2008. However, at that time he played piccolo trumpet only because he loved Baroque music and the composer J.S. Bach in particular, but this choice obviously limited the possibilities of playing with others. He joined the South Suburban Community Orchestra under Rene Knetsch as 3rd trumpet in 2009. Three years later, the community orchestra became the Parker Symphony Orchestra under Rene’s leadership in 2012. The orchestra made great improvements after violin graduate Nadya Hill took the position of first violin/concertmaster (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mDkregDLsQ#t=13) and he continued to play with the orchestra until he moved to Melbourne Florida and joined the MMB in October 2013. His favorite pastime is still playing the piccolo trumpet. He plays Spanish made Stomvi instruments.






  
 
    EUPHONIST, RONALD McTAGGART
 
Ronald McTaggart, a charter member of the Melbourne Municipal Band, has always had music as an important part of his life. Some of his earliest memories are of singing choruses and hymns around the house as well as in church. He started playing trumpet at the age of ten, but after joining the Melbourne High School Band in 1946, soon discovered his love and affinity for the baritone. It was here that he met his late-wife, Connie, who also played for many years in the Melbourne Municipal Band. In 1950, he was offered a scholarship to the University of Miami, after Fred McCall (UM Director of Bands, 1948-1971) heard him perform Beautiful Colorado by Joseph DeLuca. Many years later, he had the privilege of performing that solo again with the MMB accompanying him. He has performed many other solos with the band including Tchaikovsky’s Romance in F minor and Lecuona’s Malagueña, performed as a duet with Bonnie Benson on clarinet. One of his favorite times musically was in the 1970’s, when he, his wife Connie, and three of his children all played in the MMB together. You can still find Ronald singing and playing his instrument in several local churches.
 
CORNET, BOB NOE
 
Bob was raised in a small town near New York City and played his cornet at the 1939 New York World’s Fair with the Katonah High School band, having started lessons with the music director, Dr. Victor Vincent Salvo, at age nine in the 5th grade. He played in a trio and purchased a Bach cornet and shook hands with Vincent Bach at his Bronx plant. Bob also sang in the high school mixed chorus directed by Miss Laurel Bump, was the bugler for the American Legion post, and became an Eagle Scout with Silver Palm.

At RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) in Troy, NY under a full scholarship, Bob played lead trumpet in the college band and the 14 piece dance band, after trading in his cornet for a Bach Stradivarius model trumpet, which he still plays. After college he worked as a Stress and Fatigue specialist, MRB Engineering Group Leader and Technical Editor for 41 years on New York’s Long Island at the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp, now Northrop Grumman. While there he played trumpet in the Huntington Community Band for many summers. A few years after retiring he and Joyce moved to Melbourne and in 1999 he joined the Melbourne Municipal Band and served on the Board of Trustees for 9 years. He still enjoys playing 3rd trumpet in the MMB.
 
 
 
 
CLARINET, RAYMOND POYNTER
 
I selected the clarinet as the instrument of choice in grade school after a musician demonstrated several instruments; brass, winds and strings. The clarinet sound was beautiful! My parents bought for me a “tin” clarinet upon which I squeaked , pondered and learned. I played clarinet in the Melbourne School Band under conductor, Dorothy Parker, who instilled the love of music in many of us who are in the Melbourne Municipal Band today. I attended “Interlochen” and studied under Keith Stein while in High School and in preparatory school I studied with a retired clarinetist of the Met opera orchestra. I forsake my playing in college and while in the service. Upon my return to Melbourne to begin my architectural practice, circa 1960, I was enlisted into the original group of musicians by A.V. “ Chick” Catterton who founded the Melbourne Municipal Band in which I have played clarinet for many years. There became a great need for a rehearsal hall as the band grew and I was pleased to offer my services for the design of both the Catterton and Goode Halls. Currently retired, I now enjoy another of my favorite instruments; the cello.
 
 
 
  SAXOPHONE, FRANK TUCKWILLER
 
Frank Tuckwiller, Alto Saxophone Soloist.  Mr. Tuckwiller is a professional player who can be heard all around town at various concerts and theater performances.  He plays clarinet and alto sax with the MMB on a regular basis and we are pleased to have him join us for "Romance" at the A Night at the Movies MMB Concert on Wednesday February 19th and Thursday February 20th.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   THE WISNERS
 
Dave plays trumpet in MMB and in Swingtime. Nancy plays French Horn and is Secretary of the MMB board of directors. They met and played in several community bands in Indianapolis, IN in the early 1980s. Both were single, but circumstances did not allow them to carry their love affair very far. They keep in touch for many years until 2002 when Dave retired from his insurance business and moved to Orlando to play and work in the music business. Several years later, Nancy moved to Orlando to work at Walt Disney World, but Dave had since moved to Clearwater. In 2011 they re-connected via social media. Finally, in 2012, after thirty years of living separate lives, they were married. They moved to Viera in 2014. One of several reasons for moving was the quality of the MMB and the many other opportunities for playing music in the Melbourne area and the close proximity to Orlando. At age eight Dave wanted to play the cornet in the school band. "They" said there were too many cornets in the band, but were short on clarinets so that would be his instrument. Later he became a clarinet major at Indiana University and subsequently graduated from Michigan State University. In 1970 he achieved his life long ambition and began a journey on trumpet. While living in Indianapolis for forty five years and raising a family he operated an insurance business and played in or owned several music groups, both professional and amateur. Nancy grew up in Indianapolis, attended Ball State University and played in the BSU concert band, The Pride of Mid-America marching band and BSU french horn ensemble. She played in many community bands and theater pit orchestras in Indianapolis while raising three boys. In 2008 she earned a BS degree from the University of Indianapolis. In 2012, after many years of collecting dust on the shelf, Nancy pulled out her french horn and started "relearning" how to play. Nancy also enjoys handbell ringing, reading and all kinds of sewing and knitting projects. Dave and Nancy are the parents of five children and grandparents to four. They live in Viera with their son, Brent, who is a junior at Viera High School and participates in Special Olympics.