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Mark Brueggemann - Cornet, Trumpet

Mark graduated from Southwest Missouri State University with a business degree and immediately went on the road touring with a very popular rock band called Second Sight. Through the years he has played trumpet numerous times with many great entertainers including Kenny Rogers, Benny King, Bobby Vinton, The Shirrels, The Temptations, Manhattan Transfer, Jimmy Dorsey, Johnny Lee, and the ever-popular local group, The M-Dock Band.

 

Mark is the owner of Trend Management, a company that manages money for individuals and corporations. He brings a strong lead sound, exciting, melodic solos, and an upbeat personality to the Creole Band.

   

Jerry Hoover - Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone

As Director of Bands at Southwest Missouri State University, Jerry Hoover administrates a program of 18 bands comprised of 400 students. In addition to conducting marching and concert bands, he is director of the Jazz Band. This ensemble has been showcased in major and prestigious venues throughout the United States and abroad.

 

Jerry has enjoyed a long and prosperous career in music including his own Firehouse Dixieland Jazz Band that has appeared at many of the major Dixieland festivals.

   

Bob Swanson - Trombone

After Bob Swanson graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Music Performance in 1998, he headed to the University of North Texas and earned a Master of Music Performance in 2000. While there, he was a member of the world-famous One O'Clock Lab Band. Bob also spent time in Florida with the All-American College Band at Walt Disney World, sailed Alaska and the Caribbean while playing on cruise ships, and was a member of the Bobby Vinton/Glenn Miller Orchestra. In 2003, Bob went on tour with the jazz trombone group, "Spiritual to the Bone". Currently he is also a member of the Missouri Jazz Orchestra (MOJO), Springfield Brass Quintet, and plays and arranges for the M-Dock Band. He regularly plays as a substitute trombonist with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, and can often be found in the pit of Springfield's own Landers Theatre where he has played numerous musical theater productions.

 

Bob is a published arranger for various ensembles, and is also the Trombone Instructor at Drury University in Springfield. The Creole Band is proud to have Bob on board. His beautiful, open tone, swingin' technique, and authentic style are a perfect complement to the band.

   

Lee Smith - Piano

Lee first became interested in music through the influence of an uncle in the 1950s. This favorite uncle was a fan of Dixieland and New Orleans jazz and was a record collector. These interests stuck with Lee throughout his life.

 

He sarted performing at the age of 16 both on piano and cornet and played both the older jazz and more contemporary music as the years went on. Eventually, Lee moved to the Ozarks and wound up as the ragtime piano player in the Silver Dollar City Saloon Show starting in 1986. In 1995, he went to the Showboat Branson Belle playing trumpet and valve trombone for almost eight years. Then, back to the saloon Show! Also during that time, Lee worked in an a show called the Memory Makers for seven seasons. This was the first show in Branson to feature music from the various decades as its theme.

 

At age 64, Lee semi-retired. More semi than retired! And that's the way Lee likes it. Lee had been associated with the Creole Band in the band's early years until the Silver Dollar City schedule interfered. We are thrilled to have Lee back in 2009.

   

Ron Walker - Tuba

Ron obtained a Bachelor's Degree from Central Missouri State University, now known as University of Central Missouri, in Warrensburg in 1977. He taught school for a while then returned to Southeast Missouri State University in 1983 and graduated with a Masters of Music Education Degree in 1986. He has twenty years teaching Experience as a public and private school music educator, K-12, in Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois.

Ron has performed with the Cape Girardeau, Jackson, Compton Heights, Shrine, and springfield Community Bands. He's played with brass quintets during both college stints and played nine years with the Long Horn Rodeo Band based in Nashville. He's played trombone and tuba with swing bands Sentimental Journey, The After Hours Big Band, and The Bill French Ballroom Orchestra, and The Wings of Swing Big Band.

 

His traditional and classic jazz experience includes holding down the tuba chair with The High Spirits, The Waterstreet Six, Jerry Ford, and the New Creole jazz Band.

 

Ron says, "Music has always been an enrichment of the soul while handling the thirst for expression. The New Creole Jazz Band provides the finest experience and opportunity." His solid bass lines and fantastic solos provide a solid foundation on which the band romps!

   

Dave Gravatt - Banjo

After obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Technology from Central Missouri State University, Dave Gravatt moved to St. Louis where he played trombone with The 1919 Jazz Band, Bob Ceccerini's River City Ramblers, The St. Louis Ragtimers, and Eric Sager's City Lights Jazz Band. He has performed with numerous entertainers including The Modernaires, Julio Iglesias, Bill Watrous, Johnny Cash, and Bob Hope and spent four years as principal trombonist and staff arranger/orchestrator with the Shoji Tabuchi Orchestra in Branson, Missouri.

 

He earned his Bachelor of Music Education at New Mexico State University where he formed and led the "original" Creole Jazz Band and has 18 years experience as a music instructor, elementary, junior high, and high school band director, jazz band clinician and adjudicator, and marching band clinician and adjudicator.

 

In 1995, Dave contracted Embouchure Focal Dystonia and can no longer play trombone. He has played banjo ever since. He also plays electric bass with local groups including the Wings of Swing Big Band and in the pit orchestra for various shows at Landers Theater.

   

Guest Musicians

We've had a lot of great musicians sit in or play with the Creole Band. CLICK HERE to see a partial list.