Band Biographies!

Corren Hileman

Trumpet IIII/Bandleader

Corren began, like most trumpet players, saying to his parents, “I want to play the loudest instrument.” After completing high school in Paso Robles, California, Corren joined the Army in the mid-60’s and wound up playing in the 30th Army Band in Germany. After discharge, life happened. He married Ronna, worked as a middle school teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area and Monterey, California and stopped playing for almost 20 years during the 70’s and 80’s.

He picked up the horn again in 1990 and played with the
Monterey Peninsula College Jazz Band. Later he joined the
Del Monte Express, a Big Band in the Monterey,
California area. In 1998, he founded the SRO Big Band,
15 musicians and two singers. In 2007, he and his wife
Ronna, retired from their professional careers, moved to
Oregon and bought a B & B in Ashland. In the Spring of
2008, he began playing with the Rogue Community College
Big Band. During that time, he met many outstanding
musicians in the Rogue Valley. In April 2008 he created SOJO.

Rich Agee

Lead Trumpet

Richard’s early exposure to music was listening to the bass from the jukebox in the bar beneath his grandma’s second floor apartment in Hayward, California. He spent several of his summers there. When it came time to join the school band at age 11 he and his parents tried to rent a bass. Sadly, they were told they had only enough money for a trumpet. So a trumpet it was.
 
As an adult, Richard played in several groups in the San Francisco, East Bay and the Sacramento-Sierra region of Northern California. Some of his musical highlights, for which he is thankful, are to have had the opportunity of performing with Stu Blumberg, Jon Faddis, Stan Mark, Mike Vax, and Louis Belson. Richard is no stranger to playing all kinds of music. After moving to Southern Oregon in 1993, he played in the Rogue Valley Wind Ensemble, the Ashland City Band, the Rogue Valley Symphony, and the Jefferson State Jazz Orchestra. He is currently playing lead trumpet with the RCC Jazz Band and in the trumpet section of the Southern Oregon Jazz Orchestra.

Charlie Moresi

Trumpet II

Charlie was inspired to play the trumpet in the second grade
by one of the older kids who took out his cornet and played
“America the Beautiful” on the playground after school.
He started on trumpet in the 5th grade band and played
through high school in Redwood City, California. He played
in every group he could, but particularly liked jazz music.

After high school he played in the jazz and symphonic bands
at the College of San Mateo for two years and then continued
at San Jose State University. After two years, he received his
BA degree and teaching certificate. Later on in the middle of
his career he picked up a Master’s Degree in music education
from the University of Oregon. He taught a total of 32 years
in the Klamath Falls Public Schools. His Klamath Union High
School Symphonic band won two Oregon State titles and his
jazz bands have been winners in Reno and Portland.  Charlie
retired in 2008.

He has continued to play trumpet in many different venues.
Still living in Klamath Falls, he presently substitute teaches
(band only) and teaches private brass students. Charlie has
two grown children with his wife of 40 years, Eileen.
Currently Charlie plays the jazz trumpet chair in SOJO.

Joe Fascilla

Trumpet III

Joe began playing trumpet in 4th grade in Oakland, Ca.  He moved to San Leandro, Ca. in 1958, continuing playing in both his junior high and high schools’ orchestra and jazz bands.  He later attended Chabot Jr. College and Cal State Hayward, playing in the concert and jazz bands. Following graduation in 1971, he joined the California Army National Guard, playing in the band.

Moving to Ashland in 1989, Joe has played in the Ashland City Band, Rogue Big Band, local salsa band Salsa Brava, High Society, and has performed several musicals in the SF Bay Area and the Rogue Valley, and now with SOJO.

Charlie Ter Bush

Bass Trombone

Charlie started playing trombone at the age of 10 after wearing out some Tommy Dorsey records from the Grove City, Ohio public library. During his high school years in Grove City and later in Elmhurst, Illinois, Charlie played in concert band, jazz band and orchestra, as well as the Elmhurst Symphony. He played primarily bass trombone after he found a lovely unused Conn 72H in the Grove City band room.

At Ohio State University, Charlie initially majored in music but switched to Social Studies Education, which eventually led him to law school at the University of Illinois. At Ohio State, Charlie played bass trombone in concert bands, the brass choir and the jazz ensemble. 

After college, Charlie moved to Chicago, where he played with several community and semi-professional
groups, including the Highland Park Symphonic Winds, Lake Shore Symphony Orchestra, and the Buffalo Grove Symphonic and Jazz Bands.

Since retiring to Ashland in 2014, Charlie also plays with the Southern Oregon Concert Band and the Ashland City Band.

Josh Dargavel

Trombone III

Bio to follow.

Mike DeRoest

Trombone I

Mike DeRoest began playing trombone at the age of 7 after being fascinated by the instrument while attending his dad’s band concerts. He started playing in school bands while growing up in the Grants Pass area, and studied trombone and music education at Oregon State University in Corvallis.  After graduating, Mike started his teaching career in Gold Beach, and after 11 years he returned to the Rogue Valley to teach band at Phoenix High School.
 
Mike has played with the Rogue Valley Symphonic Band, Ashland City Band and the Rogue Valley Symphony as well as many small ensembles and musicals in the Rogue Valley. He is excited to be playing with the Southern Oregon Jazz Orchestra.

Terry Kirby

Trombone II

Terry started playing trombone at the age of 10, being inspired
by Raoul Maddox during a school assembly in Ashland, Oregon.
He wanted to enroll in beginning band. On the way to school,
Terry asked his dad if he could start playing trombone. His Dad
said, “I don’t know if we can afford one, but if can buy one for
you, you’ll need to stick to it”.

Throughout his school years, Terry always strived to play his
best. He achieved many honors and later received a scholarship
to the University of Nevada at Reno. The experience of playing
with the UNR Concert Jazz Band under Dr. Eugene Isaeff was
Terry’s strongest foundation in playing big band jazz. Many
of the musicians he played with had professional backgrounds
in the Reno/Tahoe house bands or had played with big names
such as Stan Kenton, Harry James, and Maynard Ferguson.

While working in construction and raising a family, Terry
limited his playing to occasional church offerings, summers
with the Ashland City Band, a few years with Don Tingle’s
Rack of Bones. Just recently, he joined the Southern Oregon
Jazz Orchestra. Being with Big band jazz has been his favorite
music. Playing with SOJO he plans to spend more time
improving his jazz chops. Thinking back to the conversation
asking his Dad’s permission to play, it looks like he has been “sticking to it.”

Brendan Girard

Tenor Sax II

“I’ve had the privilege of playing with the Southern Oregon
Jazz Orchestra since 2014. Music has always been an integral
part of my life and a way to connect with others and express
myself. I was introduced to playing music at a young age
when my mother brought home an old, out of tune piano.
I found myself often sitting at the piano duplicating
melodies I’d hear on the TV or radio.”

“In junior high I was introduced to the saxophone and
ended up playing in my high school jazz band. I stopped
playing music for several years through college and
graduate school but began playing again after moving
to Southern Oregon. I’ve played in a Salsa band for many
years, a funk band, and jazz groups. I’m grateful that Corren
began the jazz orchestra and invited me to play with his group and the talented, kind musicians in the band.”

Frank Kenney

Tenor Sax I, Alto Sax II

After graduating with a master’s degree in music from the
University of Montana, Frank taught in Montana and Oregon
for over 40 years. He developed many outstanding band
programs in Missoula, Montana, and in Ashland, Eugene,
and Albany Oregon. Frank is an original member of the
Emerald City Jazz Kings out of Eugene.

He has played with Natalie Cole, Rosemary Clooney,
Harry James, and many others. He and his wife Julie,
live in the Applegate Valley where they grow pinot
noir grapes for themselves and giant pumpkins for
their grandchildren. An outstanding soloist, we are
fortunate to have him as one of the members of SOJO.

David Stone

Alto Sax II, Tenor Sax I

David was introduced to music by his parents, his father being a guitar player and a great lover of all types of music, and his mother, having a great voice and singing the kids to sleep at night. Early on he studied piano and began to play the cornet in concert band in middle school. Braces forced him to forgo the cornet, but he did discover electric guitar and Eddie Van Halen. David decided he was going to be a rock star. Too much practicing fast legato on really light guitar strings led to tendonitis, and he temporarily abandoned the guitar for tenor saxophone in late high school. Soon he begun to absorb the genius of jazz through records by Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, and many more. After high school, David enrolled at Webster University in St. Louis as a jazz performance major, studying with the great saxophonist and teacher Paul DeMarini. This gave him a chance to play and study with local legends drummer Joe Charles Thompson, and saxophonist James Sherrod. Upon graduating Webster, David entered the St. Louis jazz scene, and played many gigs over thirty years, notably a twenty-two year stint at an Italian restaurant and bar, Mangia Italiano. His long time girlfriend, Bridget got her dream job in the Oregon Shakespearean Festival costume shop, moved to Ashland, Oregon, with David soon to follow. Like to many others, Covid 19 delayed and complicated David’s entry into the local music scene. He has played at La Baguette Jazz Bakery and jammed with local guitarist Ed Dunsavage. He joined SOJO last winter.

Jeremy Durst

Alto Sax I

Jeremy Durst began playing trombone in 6th Grade at
Jacksonville Elementary School. By high school, he was
active band student playing in Jazz band and Wind
Ensemble at South Medford High School. Jeremy played
in several bands outside of school including Gabriel and
the Technicians, and a start-up project entitled Humanzee.

He attended the University of Oregon for two years as a
Jazz Studies major but in need of a change, transferred to
Western Kentucky University to pursue a Music Education
degree. The Wind Ensemble, the “Big Red Marching Band,”
and the Jazz Ensemble were school musical groups he
performed with. In 2009 he completed his degree and was
hired that fall as the Director of Bands at Eagle Point High
School in Eagle Point, Oregon. This up-coming school year
will be Jeremy’s sixth year as Eagle Point High School’s band
director. He currently lives in Medford with his wife and two
Labrador retrievers. SOJO is fortunate to have Jeremy as
one of its outstanding musicians.

Phil Michael

Baritone Sax

Bio to follow.

Brent Olstad

Piano

Brent Olstad began playing the piano in the 3rd grade, largely on the insistence of his mother who was a music educator. He attended Biola University where he received a B.M. in Organ Performance. It was in college that he began hearing and exploring jazz, and it has been his favorite music ever since. It was also in college that he began arranging music and has since added 100s of arrangements to his catalog of mostly sacred music, although he has many jazz and “secular” arrangements as well. His music can be found at www.brentolstadmusic.com. He moved to the Rogue Valley 30 years ago to be the Worship Pastor of Ashland Bible Church where he served for 20 years.  He has found time to perform in a variety of venues, including the Craterian Theater, Camelot Theatre, the Cabaret Theatre, and the Britt Festival. He has played for Kirby Shaw’s Jefferson State Choral Coalition, the Rogue Valley Chorale and has been a session player for several recording projects. He has been a member of the Rogue Valley Gospel Group, Salsa Brava, and The High Society Orchestra. Although he isn’t on staff in a church, he still enjoys playing on the worship team at his church in Jacksonville. 
 
He worked for a number of years with Joni and Friends, a ministry serving people affected by disability. Although he is no longer with the organization, he and his wife, Rachel, continue to be a disability advocates training, mentoring, and encouraging organizations and individuals to honor, cherish, include, and respect those in our community who are affected by disability.

David Hegdahl

Drums

Dave taught band and choir for over 30 years. He taught 26 years of those years at North Valley High School in Grants Pass. Dave started playing drums with the Southern Oregon Jazz Orchestra when it was first formed in 2009. 

In 2012 he left SOJO to take on other musical opportunities.
Over the years he has directed the Rogue Community College Jazz Band twice in 1987-88 and again 2008-2010. He has been playing drums in the Ashland City Band each summer since 1968. He has also directed the Southern Oregon Concert Band. Currently he plays drums and directs the ROGUE GOLD JAZZ BAND in Grants Pass. In September 2021 Dave rejoined SOJO on drums. He says, “It is great to be back home”.

Ed Hyde

Guitar

Ed’s first exposure to music was AM radio in the early 60’s.
At his parents’ home in Western Pennsylvania, his bedroom
radio picked up stations from New York, to Washington, D.C.
to Chicago. His first instrument (in elementary school) was
drums; he played percussion all through high school, adding
the guitar as a result of the British Invasion. New albums,
school bands, and garage bands were the staple of his musical existence.

College and pharmacy school in the 70’s took over, and the
instruments were put away. Ed became more of a music
consumer, learning to listen to and appreciate other genres.
A 40+ year career in health care enabled him to take care of
the business of life.

Ed and his (very supportive) wife Meghan moved to the Rogue
Valley in 2000, and he started volunteering as a fill-in classical
music host on JPR. During a 2007 chance meeting of old
bandmates at a high school reunion the musical flame reignited
and he started taking jazz guitar lessons. A few years later he
encountered the role of the guitar in a big band… though he
was focused on improv. He continued to broaden listening
horizons and got fascinated with the dual role of the guitar
(harmony and rhythm) in an ensemble such as SOJO.

After retirement in early 2019 he started to follow the trail left
by the swing pioneers: Freddie Green, Bucky Pizzarelli,
Eddie Lang, and George Van Eps, to name a few. He joined
SOJO in the summer of 2019.

David Miller

Bass

Dave began to play the bass in his father’s territory band in
South Dakota. Dad could never keep good bass players,
so he drafted his 4 sons to play for him, starting them in
junior high, and passing the job onto the next brother
when they left home. To his chagrin, they all went into
music professionally after high school.

Dave has played bass in symphony orchestras, chamber
music groups, orchestra pits, operas, musicals, bebop
groups, progressive jazz groups, avant-garde music
ensembles, and baroque period ensembles. Big band
jazz is one of his favorite forms of music to perform,
not only because of the size of the sound, but as he
says, “It is the most danceable music ever invented.”
It is a privilege to have Dave as a member of SOJO.

Dianne Strong-Summerhays

Vocalist

Dianne has been singing since she was a teenager growing
up in Southern Oregon. Her musical roots began with a
cappella Gospel with her sisters and in community theater.
As a teenager, she toured Europe with a youth orchestra.

Dianne later returned from the UK and finally settled in
Southern Oregon. She has become a popular local performer,
appearing at many local venues with SOJO, Blue Lightning
Dance Band, and sits in with many other local bands.

Dianne’s style is strong, smooth, and controlled like the best big band singers of the 40’s, but it’s the joy she expresses in song that makes her performances memorable. She says, “The biggest thrill
I’ve had as a singer is to be backed by that big band sound”.