Chattanooga’s Premier Modern Big Band

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Ellie Henry, female vocalist

Michael Smith, male vocalist

Michael Smith is a graduate of Bryan College with a degree in Church Music. He is the Minister of Music at North Shore Fellowship in Chattanooga. He has participated in multiple recording sessions and has one solo album to his credit. He has sung with several combos and two big bands in the Chattanooga area. Michael has also sung with the Christian contemporary group, Crosswind, the Lake Junaluska Singers and the Glenn Draper Singers. He has also played the lead role in the Music Man at the Chattanooga Theatre Center.

Pete Fox, lead alto sax

Pete Fox is Chattanooga's local alto sax player, having played in just about every ensemble in the area. He was an All-State tenor sax player in 1964, and went onto Vanderbilt University where he graduated in 1968. He has played in a number of musical productions for the Chattanooga Little Theater and the Signal Mountain Playhouse, with credits dating back to the 1970’s. Prior to joining the Uptown Big Band, Pete has played with a number of bands including the Provident Big Band, the Mid-South Swing Band, the Scenic City Concert Band and the Mid-South Concert Band.

Gordon Inman, alto sax

Alan Bingham, lead tenor sax

Alan is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, TN.

Fernando Guadarrama, tenor sax

Fernando is the oldest of seven children and started playing saxophone at the age of nine years old. He was taught by his father about the time his father started a small band in South Texas to help out with family finances. As he got older, he played with several Tex-Mex bands including Joe Perez and His Orchestra, The Mexican Generation Orchestra, Lorenzo Luera and the Suspenders, and the Lorenzo Luera Orchestra. He also played some country western music with Fort Worth bands, such as The Steve Honeysuckle Band and The Saddlehorn Band. While in Texas, Fernando performed at several Texas and Oklahoma opries, and was inducted into the Oklahoma City Opry Hall of Fame after winning three consecutive instrumentalist of the year awards.  Fernando not only plays tenor sax, but also plays soprano sax, and occasionally alto sax as well.  Fernando came to Chattanooga in 1997 and began playing in local churches. He played with a couple of other local big bands before joining the Uptown Big Band.

Alex Welhunt, baritone sax

Albert Kiser, trumpet

Al has been playing trumpet in the Chattanooga area for more than 47 years. A graduate of Red Bank High School, Al continued his education at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, playing in the UTC Jazz Band under the direction of Barry Jones and Morris Bales. He continues to play in area weddings and other events, and has played in the Red Bank Baptist Church Orchestra for 30 years. In addition to the Uptown Big Band, Al is also a member of the RBBC Glory Land Band.

David Henry, trumpet

Paul Patterson, trumpet

A native of Chattanooga, Paul played in the Chattanooga Youth Symphony while in high school. He later attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and played in a number of campus bands. He toured Europe with the UTC Jazz Band and performed at the Montreux International Jazz Festival. Upon completion of his degree from UTC, he attended the University of North Texas where he furthered his study of music and played in several ensembles. He also served as the band assistant for UNT's renowned One O'Clock Lab Band. While in Texas, he was a member of the horn section for the Christian contemporary band, Emmaus, and was featured in a theme song recorded for use at the Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park in Valencia, California.

Brian Potete, lead trombone

Brian Poteet has been playing trombone in and around the Chattanooga area for over 15 years. A graduate of Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe High School, he has studied with Doug Warner of the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera as well as Philip Jameson at the University of Georgia. Brian works professionally as an analyst with BlueCross BlueShield of TN. In addition to performing with the Uptown Big Band, Brian performs regularly with the MidSouth Concert Band and with local theatre group Closed Door Entertainment.

Mike Wert, trombone

Mike adds to a vast resume of music performance. In his early trombone-playing years, he studied privately with several noted musical icons including trombonists Keig Garvin (US Army Band, Washington DC) and Charles Vernon (Chicago Symphony). Mike was selected into the McDonald’s All-American High School Band representing North Carolina. After high school, he declined his scholarship to study music performance at New England Conservatory and, alternately, pursued and received his engineering degree from NC State University. While living in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, Mike played in a broad range of ensembles including big band, concert band, dinner theater, symphonic orchestra and free-lance work. He continues to play music (trombone and electric bass) while keeping up with his professional work career. Mike and his family were transferred to Chattanooga in 2010.

Tim Walker, trombone

Tim began playing trombone and violin as a 6th grader, and continues to play both instruments. During his years at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, he concentrated on voice and viola. He toured for six years with the Chattanooga Singers and played viola for a season with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra (Jackson, TN). Tim is a charter member of the Uptown Big Band, and he plays violin in the RBBC Orchestra, and trombone in the RBBC Chapel Orchestra.

Professionally, Tim spent most of his career with Provident Life and Accident Insurance Company, and is now employed with the Hamilton County government.

Stan Keown, bass trombone

Stan is a charter member of the Uptown Big Band, and has performed as a bass trombonist in this band for more than 15 years. He has also performed with a number of other local big bands and has performed in productions of the Chattanooga Theatre Center.

Stan's interest in traditional big band, jazz, and other music styles (Kenton, Ellington, Basie, Mancini, etc.) commenced in high school as an all-state trombonist, and later, as a college music major performing in symphonic, marching and brass choir organizations. After an extended absence from music for close to 30 years, he resumed his involvement in music, and for the last several years, has performed hundreds of performances in the Chattanooga and North Georgia area. Some of these venues include the Riverbend Festival, Swingfest, numerous downtown concert series, conventions, weddings, schools, churches and community events.

David Kammerdiener, keyboard

David joined the Uptown big band in 2008 and has been playing piano since he was five years old. He is a graduate of the High School For The Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, TX and holds the following degrees from various institutions: Bachelor of Music from Oklahoma Baptist University (Shawnee, OK), Master of Church Music from Golden Gate Seminary (Mill Valley, CA), and a Master of Music in Education-Kodaly Emphasis, Holy Names College (Oakland, CA.)  He has taught piano and directed choirs for more than 35 years in the United States and four Latin American countries. He served as an International Music Missionary and Minister of Music in the United States. Fluent in Spanish, "Mr. K", as he is known, is a local school Choral Music and Spanish Teacher.  David is also the pianist for the Chattanooga Girls Choir, and he has been playing in local combos and big bands since the mid 1990’s. He also serves in a local church as both pianist and minister of music.

Ovid McNatt, electric guitar

Ovid McNatt is one of the original members of the Uptown Big Band and has played rhythm guitar since its beginning. Previously, he played mostly in small performing groups in country, rock, folk, and bluegrass music. Although this is the only big band he's ever played in, music is a family tradition for Ovid. His dad was a clarinet and sax player, and his uncle played in the great big bands in the service during World War II, and civilian bands in the 40s and 50s. Ovid's family members have played violin with Eddie Arnold, conducted a Symphony Orchestra in Memphis, TN., played french horn with Henry Mancini and performed with and conducted the New York Philharmonic.

Amanda Cagle, rhythm bass

Mike Salter, percussionist

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Esther Ellis, female vocalist

Dennis Bauer, Lead trumpet

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