Brian Choper - Drums - Band Manager
Drummer Brian Choper, is a versatile musician, experienced in rock, jazz, blues, swing, ragtime, etc. His music career began at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Maryland, in whose elite music program he performed with the jazz band, concert band and symphony orchestras. These ensembles traveled and won numerous awards in competition both domestically and abroad. In 1983, Brian won first prize at the Vienna International Music Festival Competition for classical timpani. While in college, he studied with Marshall Maley, renowned drummer/percussionist, head of the Percussive Arts Society. From 1983 to 1985 Brian studied with the late legendary drummer Buddy Rich.
In 1985, Brian began playing klezmer with a the group The Capital Klezmers, at the time one of the top three Folk bands in the country, where he participated in the International Music Festival in Safed, Israel. Upon leaving them in 1989, Brian joined the Machaya Klezmer Band, and in 1997 played in and produced the group's second CD, "What A Machaya". This recording became the number two selling Klezmer album for that year and was rated as such in the prestigious Moment Magazine (August 1997). In 1997 (while still with Machaya) he joined Nexus, a highly respected local DC based rock band. He left both Machaya and Nexus in 2001, and formed his own Klezmer band, The New Klezmer Quintet. With the Klezmer band and other projects moving forward, in 2006 Brian organized three other bands; The Choper Jazz Project (contemporary Jazz), The Jazz Connection (Swing Jazz) and Nexus, the band named after his 1990's rock band. He spends most of his time managing and performing with these groups.
Lou - Keyboard/Vocalist/Composer
Lou is a pianist/singer/songwriter who has been playing piano and composing for nearly 50 years. In short, he grew up in south New Jersey where he started playing at age 5, started writing as a teen, became serious about music and began composing and arranging. He attended Rowan University and earned 2 BA's, one in music with a concentration in composition and arranging, and a second in history/political science, with a concentration in Middle East politics and religion.
After college he toured with various Pop groups, performing extensively in Atlantic City, where he played shows at the casino resorts. He opened the Mandarin Hotel in '59 and ran a jazz trio, performing smooth jazz there for about 2 1/2 years. Lou ran his own show band in the seventies and eighties while at resorts and casinos. Then it got interesting.
Lou joined the army in 1986. In 1994 he auditioned and won a spot in the Washington Premier US Army Band, Washington DC, picked himself up and moved to Stafford, Virginia near DC. He settled, and has resided in the DC area ever since, working for the Army Band. This year will mark his 24th year with that band, where he is both pianist, writer and arranger.
Some career highlights:
One of his compositions was premiered at Carnegie Hall. Another was premiered at a Washington annual 1812 Concert on the Mall, where he was given the honor of singing the song for the first time in public.
Lou has played for several presidents, vice presidents and foreign dignitaries. These include Nixon, Carter, Reagan, George H W Bush, Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama. He has also performed for several cabinet members and senators including Senator Ted Kennedy. Lou played exclusively for Colin Powell while he was Secretary of State, and has played for the King and Queen of Sweden. Lou was Al Gore's personal pianist during the Clinton years. He also played for Dick Cheney.
Lou has performed with many well known musicians, including Clark Terry, Lew Soloff, Dennis DiBlasio (of the Maynard Ferguson Band), Dave Koz, Darryl Worley, Trisha Yearwood, Mark Wills, Craig Morgan, The Soul Survivors, Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergast', Billy Paul, Danny And The Juniors, The Crystals, the Ink Spots , Anna Marie, Alberghetti, Al Martin, Enzo Stuarti.
"Pershing's Own" (The US Army Band) regularly performs numerous patriotic compositions written by Lou. Recordings include 4 CD's of patriotic music featuring two of Lou's scores the CD's were named after. He also has a composition featured in the award winning documentary, "Why We Fight". One of these CD's won him a Grammy nomination.
Some of the compositions he wrote for the Army include The Flag Still Flies High, Here's To America, The Homeland, America Means Everything to Me, An Affair of The Heart.
Chris - Electric Guitar
Chris is an award winning, Grammy nominated guitarist, vocalist and songwriter who began studying with his father when only eight years old. His father, Ron Huntington, was a graduate of the Maine Conservatory of Music. At the early age of 13, with his parents' influence, Chris was performing at live music venues and clubs around Boston, MA and Portsmouth, NH with various artists.
Chris grew up performing in commercial "jingle" studios in the New England region where he worked and studied guitar with the famous producer Bobby Hern and was nicknamed "The Kid" by the seasoned recording veterans he worked with.
By the age of 16 Chris had furthered his knowledge of music by studying theory with Boston Symphony Choir Director Wendell Purrington while taking college courses at UNH. This is also when Chris met and worked on the sound production crew for the now famous band R.E.M. Life's Rich Pageant tour.
At the age of 17 he signed his first recording contract with Rounder Records and toured the East Coast with the Sympeltons, a rock band based out of Boston, this began his five-year run with the popular band and brought Chris to Baltimore, MD where he currently resides. Chris took this geographical opportunity to further his education at the prestigious Peabody Conservatory where he studied music theory and voice with opera singer Olga Sambucco and guitar with the great Steve Yankee. Chris continued to perform live, and quickly became a sought after session player in the mid-atlantic region, performing on many soundtracks, nationally renowned commercial works and with numerous artists such as The Wayfarers, Great Train Robbery, Kicksville, Ron Powell (percussionist from Madonna, Ricky Martin and Kenny G) and Leroy Thomas and the Zydeco Roadrunners, just to name a few. This is where Chris met Kraig Greff (Tonal Vision Studio) and joined the highly acclaimed and award winning group The Crawdaddies, now signed with Louddust Records.
In 2000 Chris was approached by Conrad St. Clar and asked to bring his unique brand of guitar and vocal stylings to record with the experimental music group Kicksville. This successful band went on to sign with the well respected Ropeadope Records label and tour the USA, bringing Chris along on guitar and vocals.
Chris continues to tour with Kicksville and The Crawdaddies sharing the stage with such artists as Etta James, Buddy Guy, Les Claypool, Terrance Simien, the Old 97s, Buckwheat Zydeco and Reel Big Fish, and is consistently getting high praise and winning awards for his innovative songwriting and guitar techniques. He joined Nexus in 2006.
Chris exclusively endorses G&L guitars, D'Aquisto strings, and Audix Microphones.
Dan - Bass
Dan graduated in 1976 from the University of Maine with Honors with a BA in Music Education. He attended the New England Conservatory of Music, 1971-1973. He was a student of William Rhein, the assistant principal bassist of the Boston Symphony, 1971-1976. Dan was a member of the applied faculty of the University of Maine, Augusta, as a bass instructor and combo director twice, 1976-1978 & 1989-1992. He was on the applied faculty of the University of Nevada, Reno, as a bass instructor, 1978-1989. This year will be his 5th year as bass instructor on the faculty of the National Guitar Workshop, McLean, VA.
Dan played with symphony orchestras in Portland, ME., Reno, NV., Abilene, TX., Springfield, MO., Fort Smith, AR. and Manassas, VA. He had the privilege of playing in a jazz trio with legendary guitarist Lenny Breau, 1977-1978. He's played bass in all the major casino showrooms in Reno and Lake Tahoe, NV. While living in Austin, TX., he played in a Tango Quintet, a Salsa Band, a Latin Jazz sextet, a Swing Quintet, and an improvising string quartet.
Dan has played numerous shows in Branson, MO, and is well known for his TV appearances with the Live Lawrence Welk Show and Les Brown's "Band of Renown". Since moving to McLean, VA in 2006, Dan has been a pit orchestra performer for the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the Signature Theater and the Studio Theaters, the Hippodrome, the Atlas Theater, Arena Stage Theater and the Shakespeare Theater.
Robert - Saxophone
Born in Philadelphia, Pa, Robert began his studies at the prestigious Settlement music school. Drawing on the rich Philadelphia heritage, he eventually studied with John Coltrane's mentor Dennis Sandole. After mastering the clarinet, he began a serious focus on the Alto and Tenor saxophone. Borrowing his sound concept from the warmer tenor sax, he developed a sound that was Warm, and yet penetrating. It is this sound which garnished him recordings and performances with Odean Pope, Wallace Roney, Teddy Pendergrass, Fiidla, Joey DeFrancesco, Christian McBride, and his current assignment as a multi reedsman for the Duke Ellington Orchestra.
Julie - Vocals
Julie began performing in her youth, forming her own Top 40 Band at age 15 in her native Baltimore, MD. By the age of 18, she had worked with the band Sister Sledge and recorded the theme for a PBS Television production, all while continuing to cultivate her stage presence with appearances in musical theater. She graduated with honors from Howard University where she studied classical voice.
Julie developed her vocal style as a solo artist, performing to capacity audiences as an opening act for names like Whitney Houston, Natalie Cole, BeBe Winans, Grover Washington, Jr., and Les McCann. She came into her own as a singer and performer by entertaining audiences both big and small in concert, while performing long running weekly engagements at venues in and around the Washington Metropolitan area. Julie appears regularly at the Ritz Carlton in Pentagon City, VA.
Holly - Vocals
A native of Potomac, Md, Holly grew up performing in musicals and went on to earn a bachelor's degree in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University. Holly spent a number of years performing in local theaters, performing such roles as Maria from West Side Story, Christine in Phantom of The Opera, Sister Leo in Nunsense, and Julie Jordan from Carousel, to name a few.
After gypsying from one theater to another, Holly is proud to say that she has found a home with The United States Army Downrange and in the last 11 years has been a soloist with just about all the elements of the US Army Band, Pershing's Own, Ft. Myer, VA. The Army Concert Band indoctrinated Holly her first year by sending her as the lone vocal soloist representing the United States at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Edinburgh, Scotland, viewed by millions around the world. More recently, she sang at the White House for President Ford's 90th Birthday celebration where both Senior Bush's as well as Junior, was in attendance including most of the White House Cabinet.
When Holly isn't performing with the Army, she spends her time performing at major events throughout the area. She is a soloist with the group, Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet, and others. She has sung backup for Kenny Rogers, Tom Jones, Martina Mcbride, Will Smith, Don Mclean, Usher, Bono, Foreigner, Kathy Mattea, Lou Rauls, Wayne Newton, Kenny Loggins, Sylvia McNair and Dolly Pardon. Most recently Holly had the chance to return to her Alma Mater, as the headliner with the Syracuse Symphony.
Holly also works privately with students teaching them voice and piano. Currently, Holly is working on a cd project of all original songs, which she hopes to have out within the year. Holly resides in Vienna with her trumpet playing husband, Terry, and their children Hunter, Siena, and Ray.
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