Conductor Bruce Cassidy was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick. He studied arranging and composition at Berklee College with Herb Pomeroy. His trumpet studies were with John Coffey of the Boston Symphony. He was a founding member of Rob McConnell’s Boss Brass, appearing on their first seven albums. He recorded and toured with Lighthouse and Dr. Music before joining Blood Sweat and Tears (BS&T) as their musical director. He has composed, recorded and produced music from Los Angeles to South Africa and he is considered the world's leading performer on the Electronic Valve Instrument (EVI). He presently leads Bruce Cassidy’s Hotfoot Orchestra, and teaches at Humber College in Toronto.
Bandleader Rob Boniface: "It all started in Grade 1 with group lessons on a fold-up cardboard keyboard. I was hooked! The defining moment was when I was 12 years old and began to study jazz piano with “Duke” Martin. The man was a true inspiration and had a profound influence on my musical journey. The teen years saw stints in local bands (Ulysses and North Side Blues Band) but jazz was never far away. A Phil Nimmons arranging course led to a brief period of writing charts for the late great Pete Schofield. The dilemma now became whether to play and write or try to get a career! As always, it was a high school music teacher ( Chris Kitts ) who showed me how much fun it was to teach so... off to McMaster University for 4 years to get a music degree. Taught instrumental & vocal music as well as guitar for 31 years at St. Martin’s Secondary School in Mississauga and retired in 2009. For almost 35 years now I have been pursuing my love of big band jazz as leader and keyboard player of The Mississauga Big Band Jazz Ensemble. Thanks for the memories."
Jay Boehmer: Drummer, composer and band leader, graduated from the Humber College Music Program in 1990 and performs with his jazz group in Toronto and Mississauga. Jay has released two CD's of original compositions: Autumn Afternoon (2007) and Don't Look Back (1999). Jay has performed in over 40 theatre productions and has been recorded on many CD's. Jay has been the drummer of the Mississauga Big Band Jazz Ensemble since 2002. His website - www.jayboehmerjazz.com
Wayne Ferrell: Over the past eleven years guitarist Wayne Ferrell has played in big bands in Alberta and Mississauga. He has been the guitarist for the Mississauga Big Band Jazz Ensemble since 2003. Wayne is also the bassist for the Toronto-based BroadBelly Band and the Just Us Band. Wayne is a consultant and part-time College/University instructor at Sheridan College and Guelph-Humber University. He holds BA and MBA degrees, as well as PMP (Project Management Professional) certification.
Rick Estrella was born in San Francisco California. He played trumpet at Balboa High School, moving on to San Mateo College. He studied under the late, well-known classical trumpeter Joseph Alessi. Stationed in Vietnam with the U. S. Air Force (1967-1968), Rick played in rock and soul/funk groups. During a long career with Air Canada (in aircraft maintenance planning), he managed to find time for gigs with the Allison Polka Band, the Bolton Big Band and the High Society Big Band, opting for a trumpet chair in the MBBJE on his retirement in 2009.
Jim Shears has been active in the Toronto Music scene for many years. He has played bass in big bands, concert bands and smaller performance groups in the area. Jim re-joined the Mississauga Big Band in 2008. Jim is SVP - Corporate Real Estate for a major Financial Company and holds BES and MBA degrees, Professional Certification in Real Estate Management and is a Registered Professional Planner.