Ron McNeil

Ron started playing at the age of 12 and has been performing R&B, Jazz, Funk, and Gospel music for more than 3 decades as a bassist and composer . Ron's firstexperience of performing structured music was in a Jazz Ensemble at St. Thomas Aquinas where he studied Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble. After being inspired byMajor Daryl Dixon a graduate of Jersey City State College, who was writing and composing horn arrangements for Parliament-Funkadelic, Bootsy's Rubber Band and Quazar, Ron followed his imprint and attended JCSC in 1981. After joining the local Musicians Union, Ron had performed with many major talents in the community from Cosmic Heat, Storm, and many others. All of which were driven by a strong bass foundation and a syncopated funky rhythmic pulse. Ron was mentored by the late Glenn Goins of Parliament-Funkadelic andcontributes his passion for music to the gifts shared early in life. Ron has also recorded with Michael Hampton.

 

After traveling and gigging in clubs and large venues, Ron was call to a greater purpose, music ministry. Starting his crusade in New Brunswick, NJ with Bishop George Searight, Clay Bogan and Royal Priesthood. Later moved to the Washington D.C. area to serve under Rev. Norman Tate and Heritage Fellowship. While living in the D.C. area, Ron spent time studying with Anthony Wellington of the Victor Wooten Band. Currently Ron is living in the pacific northwest and is the Bassist atNew Beginnings Christian Fellowship. Ron is also the bassist for OPUS, a modern Jazz band with a relevant sound that speaks to the melding of multiple genres of music. The band consist of keyboardist/music coordinator Chris Turner, drummer Pat Hill, and the great guitarist Tom McElroy. Some of Ron's influences are James Jamerson, Larry Graham, Bootsy Collins, Jaco, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, FredHammond, and Andrew Gouche. Most recently performed with The Jazz inspired melodically gifted national gospel artist Kim Burrell, Sunday's Best first season winner, national recording artist Crystal Aikin, Fred Hammond, Rev. Hezekiah Walker and Walter Hawkins. Ron's currently studying with composer and educator Professor Steven Kim and plays Fodera, Smith and Fender Basses, EBS rig, and Radial electronics.

After High school Chris traveled with various local and national Gospel Artists. Hewent on his first tour at 18 years of age with Pamplin Records. It was a promotional tour where they traveled to 22 States. Upon his return, Chris traveled back and forth from LA/Bay area CA working in various studios, playing for churches and learning to produce music. Throughout his musical journey Chris gained experience studying under some of the best musicians such as; Randy Porter, George Mitchell, Dr.Charles Floyd, Jerry Harris, Jr., David Hart, Buddy Strong, P.J. Morgan, Mike Phillips just to name a few. Chris says he is where he is today musically because of God first, and second because of a select group of people who took the time to invest in him. Chris has written and co-produced with national recording artists such as; Kirk Whalum, Acoustic Alchemy, Mike Phillips, Israel Houghton, Fred Hammond and KirkFranklin. Currently Chris serves as staff musician at Mt. Olivet Church Portland, OR,Music Director at Highland Christian Center Portland, OR, Pianist for the OregonSymphony's annual Gospel Christmas program. Chris also produces music forTurner Round Music LLC.

OPUS | Chris Turner | Music Director | The Moore Theater | Floetry 

Chris Turner started playing music at the age of 3. His parents had an old organ at home that he played around on. Chris began to develop an ear for music by listening to songs in the car on the way to church, tapes of gospel recordings and listening to music on TV. He copied everything he could hear and tried his best to play the tune right. Sometimes During church, his parents would let him play even though he could only play in the key of C - as Chris got older his love for music was such a great desire he joined a Jazz band played drums and learned to read music all through outJr. high. In high school Chris wanted to learn more about piano so joined the Jazzband at Jefferson High In Portland, OR and learned so much from his instructors. His band went on trips and competed with some of the best schools nationwide. Chris’s band won some and lost some, but more important he gained a wider perspective on different styles of music. 

After graduating from Oberlin, Farnell moved to Portland, Oregon, where he has performed regularly with musicians such as Mel Brown, Thara Memory, Bobby Torres, Johnny Polanco, Ricardo Lemvo, and Darrell Grant, to name a few. In 2006, Farnell released his first album called “Sense of Direction” co-led by pianist Marcus Reynolds on Diatic Records. From 2007-2009, he served as Graduate Assistant of Music Performance at Portland State University (P.S.U.) under the direction of Charles Gray and Darrell Grant, and in 2009, he finished his Master’s Degree of Music in Jazz Studies and was hired at P.S.U. as Professor of Jazz Trumpet. Currently, Farnell is performing with the Mike Phillips band. He also recently performed as trumpeter for the 2009 & 2010 SoulTrain Awards house band, which played with notable artists, such as Erykah Badu, Ron Isley, Chaka Khan, Fantasia, Charlie Wilson, Bootsy Collins, R.Kelly, Brian McKnight, Cee lo Green, Raheem Devaughn, Chrisette Michelle, Ryan Leslie and many more.  Farnell has put together a masterful CD project inspired by hip-hop, soul, and jazz that showcase his love of diverse genres and his ability to blend musical styles.  This project “Class Is Now In Session” is Farnell’s first solo release under his newly created record label FNMUSICWEB. For more information about Class Is Now In Session, go to www.farnellnewton.com.

Farnell Newton

 Farnell Newton, Composer/Trumpeter, was born on March 21, 1977, in Miami, Florida, where he was exposed to many forms of music, including jazz, salsa, funk, and hip-hop. Moving to Philadelphia in 1992, he attended the High School of Creative and Performing Arts (C.A.P.A.) and gained more exposure and experience with the music he truly loves — Jazz.  While in Philadelphia, Farnell also learned a lot from his uncles, saxophonist/arranger Conny Murray, and Sunny Murray, the father of avant-garde drumming. Re-locating to Denver in 1994, Farnell graduated from the Denver School of the Arts and then moved to Ohio to study at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.  At Oberlin, Farnell studied Music Performance with an emphasis in jazz with Wendell Logan and trumpeter Kenny Davis.  Farnell Performed with many musicians, including Aretha Franklin, James Moody, Marvin Santiago, and Muhal Richard Abrams, during his time at Oberlin. After graduating from Oberlin, Farnell moved to Portland, Oregon, where he has performed regularly with musicians such as Mel Brown, Thara Memory, Bobby Torres, Johnny Polanco, Ricardo Lemvo, and Darrell Grant, to name a few. In 2006, Farnell released his first album called “Sense of Direction” co-led by pianist Marcus Reynolds on Diatic Records.  

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The Katinas, The Winans and BeBe and CeCe Winans. Walter is one of the finest guitar players in his market with two solo album projects to his credit with a third to be released soon. Finch is known for his funky rhythm and smooth licks and his easygoing personality.  He has excited many with his unique playing style and just like anything vintage he continues to get better and better.

Walter Finch

 Walter Finch, a native of Seattle Washington, has played for and shared the stage with many gospel music greats.  Artist such as Yolanda Adams, Walter Hawkins, Edwin Hawkins, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Rev. Al Green, Dorothy Norwood, Darrell Pitts, Sean McLemore, 

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 In 2004, Tyrone relocated to Portland, Oregon where he expanded his repertoire, adding elements of hip-hop, jazz, funk, soul, and Americana. As a constant student of the art and between doing studio work and performing regularly, Tyrone also gives back to the music community through drum clinics and giving lessons to up and comers. Currently, Tyrone is playing with Mike Phillips, The Liv Warfield Experience, Doo Doo Funk All-Stars and Tony Furtado. Tyrone has recently graced the stage with the incomparable Stevie Wonder.

Tyrone Hendrix

 When it comes to making good music there are certain key components that make the music. Time, feel, groove and pulse are all part of what makes the drummer important to the sound. Understanding what the artist wants and the musicality is why Tyrone Hendrix is one of the more sought after drummers in the industry. Born and raised in Oakland, California, a city rich with musical history, from the Hawkins Family, Sheila E to Tony Toni Tone and Con Funk Shun. Tyrone got his beginning in church. He honed his skill in high school with the renowned Castlemont Castleers.

 

Meeting many young musicians in Seattle made his hunger for music grow rapidly. From the drums, Frank went on to teaching himself to play keys then the organ in high school. While playing for various churches and groups around the Northwest he tapped into another avenue of music, the production side. With all of these talents at his disposal, Frank has kept himself busy. He has had the chance to play from coast to coast behind such artists as Eddie James, Dartmouth Gospel Choir and David James. Frank’s career has also allowed him to travel around Europe, playing for Oprah and BeBe Winans, in summer of 2009. Frank is currently attending Full Sail Universityand will be graduating in August of 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in music production. Using all the different skills he has learned over the years and now mixing them with his love for producing, has given Frank the quality and edge that has made him the talented young musician and producer he is today.

Frank C. Walton

 Frank C. Walton, Jr., is progressively making his name known in the Seattle music scene. This multi talented musician has played for local groups, Witherspoon, Imani, Angie Shields & Devine Connection, Zack Bruce and William Demps, just to name a few. Frank was born on the West side of Chicago, Illinois. Born into a family full of musical talent, it was no surprise to his father Frank, Sr., when his son dove into music at a young age. Being surrounded by such a heavy musical influence from friends and family in Chicago helped fine tune and plant the seed of musicianship in Frank. In 1994 his family moved to Seattle and little did he know that would open up a new world of music to the young musician. Frank started out playing the drums in church at the age of 10. 

 

 

He performs regularly in the Portland area with his own projects as well as on projects with Mike Phillips, OPUS, Farnell Newton, The Doo Doo Funk All-Stars, and more. You can follow Alex Milsted on Facebook www.facebook.com/alexmilsted, Twitter @ALEXMILSTED, or at http://www.alexmilsted.com.

A Portland, Oregon based artist, tenor saxophonist Alex Milsted has commanded the attention of many at a very young age.  After picking up the saxophone at age 8, Milsted has devoted his life to the study of music and has developed a mature and unique sound. Alex prides himself on being proficient on multiple instruments, such as saxophone, trumpet, piano, clarinet, and more.