An active performer and recording artist, saxophonist Don Aliquo has released several recordings and has appeared on many others. His career began in Pittsburgh, where he grew up listening to and learning from the city’s jazz legends while following in the footsteps of his father, a well-respected jazz artist. His playing has been described as a “fluid and articulate player with a flow of always surprising ideas complete with a dexterous technique and an incredibly smooth tenor sound.” Currently Professor of Saxophone and Jazz Studies at Middle Tennessee State University he is a Conn-Selmer and Vandoren artist.
Bob Lark is recognized regionally, nationally and internationally as a contemporary jazz educator and performer of integrity. His approach to pedagogy and rehearsal techniques has been noted by participation in professional conferences; publication of articles; compact disc recordings as both a performer and ensemble director; and the direction of numerous student honors ensembles. Down Beat magazine recognized Bob’s work in 2010 with their Jazz Education Achievement Award.
In 2013, DePaul University honored Bob Lark as an ambassador for theDePaul Distinctions campaign. He serves as a Professor of Jazz Studies at DePaul University. Under his direction The DePaul University Jazz Ensemble has produced several Outstanding Performance Awards from the Jazz Educators Journal,Down Beat and Jazz Times magazines, and has recorded albums with several legendary jazz artists, including Phil Woods, Clark Terry, Randy Brecker, Jim McNeely, Slide Hampton and Bob Brookmeyer.
In speaking of Lark, jazz icon Clark Terry stated, “He’s a very good trumpet player, a very good musician. He’s paid his dues.” Recordings on the Jazzed Media label include those by The Bob Lark/Phil Woods Quintet, Bob Lark and his Alumni Big Band, and Bob Lark and Friends, with Phil Woods, Rufus Reid, and Jim McNeely. He is an exclusive Yamaha Performing Artist.
Bob authored the book iWarmUp for Trumpet (Mountain Peak Music, 2018), a systematic warm-up that covers a wide-depth of jazz styles and is designed to coordinate with the iRealPro application available on Apple i-phones. Bob is an active clinician, soloist and guest conductor. He has served as host for the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition, is the past-president of the Illinois Unit of the International Association for Jazz Education, and has chaired the International Trumpet Guild jazz improvisation competition. Throughout the 1990’s, Bob directed the Midwest GRAMMY High School Jazz Band. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in performance from the University of North Texas, having earlier earned a Master’s degree from that school, and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from The Ohio State University.
After earning his Master’s degree in 2003 at the University of North Texas, Ryan McGillicuddy moved to Los Angeles, where he has enjoyed a vibrant professional career. He has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Greg Osby, Russel Ferrante, Larry Goldings, Peter Erskine, Joe Labarbera, Anthony Wilson, Antonio Hart, Bob Sheppard, Antonio Hart, Bill Cunliffe, Larry Koonse, Karriem Riggins, Bob Mintzer, Ari Hoenig, Eric Alexander, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Bill Holman Orchestra, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, the Alan Ferber Nonet, Kate McGarry, Sara Gazarek, Freda Payne, and the list goes on. Ryan’s first recording as a leader, featuring his original compositions, with Peter Erskine and Vardan Ovsepian was released in 2015. Ryan also continues to write/play for original projects such as the pianoless trio “3-ish”, and the Los Angeles-based original project “Sigmund Fudge”. He has many recording credits, including television and movies, and has toured extensively in the United States, Asia, and Europe.
In 2012 Ryan was invited to serve on the faculty of Kyung Hee University in South Korea. While in Korea, he enjoyed an active concert/touring schedule while diving into the burgeoning Korean music scene, composing and performing with his own original quartet project in Korea, as well as various stateside projects.
Ryan relocated to Morehead, Kentucky in August 2015, where he currently serves as Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at Morehead State University. He continues to add to the strong musical legacy of MSU, and to inspire students there.
David Nearpass served as Director of Bands at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Terre Haute, Indiana from 1977 through 2014. During his 37 years at Woodrow Wilson he developed renowned concert and jazz band programs. His bands consistently earned superior ratings at ISSMA and other organizational contests and festivals. In its 24 years of existence the jazz ensemble was named a Middle School Honor Band ten times at the Purdue Jazz Festival and twice at the Rolling Meadows Jazz Festival (Chicago). The Woodrow Wilson Jazz Ensemble and/or Jazz Combo were invited to open the night concert at the University of Louisville Jazz Festival five different years. The Jazz Ensemble has had as their featured soloist Bobby Shew, Bruce Paulson, Pat LaBarbara, Mike Tracy, David Berkman and Mark Buselli. In 2001 the band recorded a CD titled Drivin.
Nearpass earned a Bachelor of Music and Master of Science Degree from Indiana State University where his principal instrument was trombone. He was a member of the Terre Haute Symphony from 1978 until 1985 and Director of the Terre Haute Youth Symphony during its 1982 and 1983 seasons. He served on the staff of the Indiana State University Summer Concert Band Workshop from 1989 through 1995 and as Director of their Junior High School Camp from 1992 through 1995. Nearpass also served as Director of Bands at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology for 10 years and conducted the Jazz Ensemble at Indiana State University from 1999 through 2004.
In 1996 Mr. Nearpass was honored with WTHI Television’s prestigious Golden Apple Award as an outstanding Wabash Valley educator and by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology with their Outstanding Indiana Secondary Educator Award. In 1998 MCL presented Mr. Nearpass with their inaugural Legacy Builder Award and in 2010 was honored as an Indiana Dollars for Scholars Hoosier Hero.
Mr. Nearpass lives in Terre Haute, IN, with his wife Deborah, an elementary music teacher. He has two children. Daughter Keely, has degrees from DePauw University and UCONN. His son Michael, has jazz studies degrees from the University of Illinois and Indiana University. He is currently a free-lance jazz musician and published composer in Chicago.