Kenny Hadley’s playing experience includes European and South American tours, as well as performances with Van Morrison, Dizzy Gillespie, the Count Basie Orchestra, Peter Wolf, The Drifters, Rebecca Paris, the North Shore Music Theater, and Franklin School for the Performing Arts. He serves as orchestra contractor for the Franklin Performing Arts Company and has co-produced The Sacred Music of Duke Ellington, ’Tis the Season!, and the CD recordings of Electric Youth. His acclaimed Kenny Hadley Big Band has shared the stage with the Count Basie Orchestra, Dizzy Gillespie’s Band, and The Duke Ellington Orchestra and has hosted guest soloists including Clark Terry and Louie Bellson.
Artie Montanaro performs regularly with the Kenny Hadley Big Band, the John Allmark Jazz Orchestra, and the Greg Hopkins Jazz Orchestra. He has performed in numerous U.S. tours with the Buddy Rich Band, the Artie Shaw Orchestra, the 70s pop band Tavares, and a Japan tour with jazz pianist Makoto Ozone. In the Boston area he has performed with Tony Bennett, Harry Connick, Jr., Josh Groban, Diana Ross, Natalie Cole, Liberace, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Paul Anka, and for Broadway shows including The Producers, Young Frankenstein, and West Side Story in Providence and Boston theaters. Artie has recorded with the Allmark, Hopkins, and Kenny Hadley Big Bands, and also on recordings with Greg Abate, Ronnie Rose, and with Boston’s White Heats Swing Orchestra on the movie soundtrack to Dick Tracy.
Dan Thomas earned his B.A in Music and M.M. in Jazz Composition and Arranging at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he was also the recipient of numerous Downbeat Music Awards in the Jazz, Latin Jazz and Blues, Pop and Rock categories. He performs and records with Jon Carroll (Starland Vocal Band) & Brave Soul, Boston’s Miss Fairchild Show Band, co-leads Western Mass 8-piece vintage soul outfit The Mary Jane Jones, and is the music director for the off-kilter musical circus Llama Lasagne, in addition to finding a home in numerous Western Mass based world music ensembles.
Greg Holt earned his BA in Music, graduating with departmental honors, from the State University of New York in Plattsburgh. He received a M.M. degree in Music Education from the New England Conservatory. Greg was a 2006 Surdna fellow to further his study of synthesis and music technology. A busy freelance musician, his musical career includes playing with the Boston Pops, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Brookline Symphony Orchestra, Boston Civic Orchestra, Longwood Symphony, The New York Voices, blues artists Johnny Adams and Sam McClane, jazz artists Kurt Elling and Deborah Henson-Conant, and folk artists Susan Werner, Martin Sexton, Eric Schwartz and the Thompson Sisters.
Ken Reid is a leading saxophonist in several of the Boston area’s top bands. He has performed with internationally touring bands including the Artie Shaw and Tommy Dorsey Orchestras. Ken can also be heard playing baritone saxophone on the Kenny Hadley Big Band CD, A Beautiful Friendship. Ken has worked with artists from Tony Bennett to Aretha Franklin and has performed many times with the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall, Tanglewood, and the Esplanade for 4th of July celebrations.
Ben Whiting is quickly making a name for himself on the Boston music scene, where he can be heard at premiere venues including Ryles, Scullers, Berklee Performance Center, The Beat Hotel, The Beehive, Top of the Hub and Hard Rock Cafe. Ben regularly performs with the renowned Greg Hopkins' Big Band and Nonet, Omar Thomas Large Ensemble, Alex Lee-Clark 8tet, Kenny Hadley Big Band, Beantown Swing Orchestra, Eguie Castrillo and his Orchestra, and many more. The Berklee trained Whiting has also traveled internationally with The Artie Shaw Big Band.
Raye Lynn Mercer
Raye Lynn Mercer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Middlebury College. A pianist, she studied at the Vienna International Music Center in Austria with Maria-Regina Seidlhofer. Raye Lynn is founder and director of the Franklin School for the Performing Arts (FSPA) which offers programs to students of all ages and levels in music, dance, and drama. At FSPA, where Electric Youth is trained, she serves as Administrator and Director of the school’s musical theater performing troupes and touring ensembles. Raye Lynn is also Executive Director of the Franklin Performing Arts Company and THE BLACK BOX, a new theater and music venue in Franklin, Massachusetts.
Walter Platt has performed and/or recorded with Alicia Keys, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The O’Jays, The Woody Herman Orchestra, Cab Calloway and his Orchestra, New Kids on the Block, Bobby Brown, and New Edition. He has arranged music and/or composed for Andre Previn, P.B.S. film and documentaries, Warner Bros., Columbia, Fox TV, Telarc, J.V.C., Audio-quest, South Korea Recording Company, and more. Walter has performed at The Montreux, North Sea, Vienna, Nice, Pori, Torino, Seoul, Kyoto, Newport, and Montreal Jazz Festivals and also at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Symphony Hall, The Hollywood Bowl, and Wolftrap.