Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ray Reach Band at Anna Kristin Nichols Gardoury's Wedding Reception, Alabama Theater, January 26, 2013

Here are testimonials from the bride's parents, along with a few pics from the wedding reception.  What a great event this was!

Testimonial from Laura Hood Nichols, via Facebook, January 28, 2013:

"Ray, we so much enjoyed your band playing at Anna and Kyle's wedding at the Alabama Theater this weekend!  You did a phenomenal job of playing great dance music, timing it perfectly with toasts and accompanying Tony's singing of "Daddy's Little Girl" wonderfully!  What talent you and your band have, and how much you added to a great day for all of us.  Thank you!  

And from Tony Nichols, the father of the bride, via email:

"Thanks once again for the great job you did at Anna's wedding, Ray.  We have received so many comments on how great you guys sounded... I will gladly spread the news of how great and wonderful it was to work with you.  My father grew up during the Glenn Miller era, and was a big jazz fan and wonderful swing dancer in his day, and he especially enjoyed your group.  Being 83, his moves on the dance floor were a little slow, but he enjoyed listening."

Here's the pics:

The Bride and Groom

The Bride and her Dad

Bride and Groom

Bride and Groom

Ray Reach

Ray's Hands

Chris Wendle

Chris Wendle

Dave Amaral

John Nuckols

Monday, January 21, 2013

Ray Reach is writing arrangements for Henry Panion's "Gospel Symphony Celebration" concert at the BJCC

I'm currently finishing up arrangements for Dr. Henry Panion's "Gospel Symphony Celebration" concert at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Concert Hall.  The concert will feature notable Gospel singers such as the Clark Sisters and Smokie Norful, accompanied by the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.  Writing for such a group is definitely a challenge, but lots of fun.  In addition to the ASO, the concert will feature a top notch rhythm section, including P J Spraggins (drums), Anthony Williams (piano) and Sean Michael Ray (bass).

The concert will take place at 7:00 pm on Saturday, February 16, 2013.  Tickets are on sale now at Ticketmaster.com.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ray's "Little Big Band," Canton, MS, June 2, 2012

Ray Reach's "Little Big Band" plays wedding in Canton, Mississippi, June 2, 2012

On June 2, 2012, the Ray Reach "Little Big Band" traveled to Canton, Mississippi to play for a unique and beautiful wedding reception for bride Allison and groom Brad.  The wedding and reception took place at the Dunhopen Farm.  This was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen for a wedding.

Keeping with the Ray Reach Music tradition of excellence, for this event the 8-piece "Little Big Band" included an all-star cast of musicians:

Dr. Cameron (Chip) Crotts, trumpet - Chip is one of the finest lead trumpeters in the U.S., having played with Natalie Cole, Maynard Ferguson, the Temptations, The Four Tops, the Ojays and many more.  He is currently Director of Jazz Studies at Georgia Tech.

Ryan Raziano, alto sax - Ryan is a Jazz Studies major at the University of Southern Mississippi, and a student of Dr. Larry Panella.

Scott Johnson, tenor sax - Also a student of Larry Panella, Scott graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi and is now a High School band director in Jackson, Mississippi.

Dr. Cliff Taylor, trombone - Cliff is Assistant Band Director and Jazz Ensemble conductor at Mississippi State University.

Carvel Avis, guitar - Carvel resides in Monroe, Louisiana and is one of the finest and most versatile guitarists in the Southeast.

Chris Wendle, acoustic and electric basses - Chris holds a degree in bass performance from the Eastern Illinios University, and has performed with Natalie Cole, the Temptations, The Four Tops and the Ojays, to name a few.

John Nuckols, drums - John holds a degree in percussion from the University of Alabama and studied jazz drumming with Dave Brubeck's drummer, Alan Dawson.

Ray Reach, keyboards / vocals / leader / arranger - See my website: www.rayreach.com

Below are some pictures from the event, with commentary:

When I arrived at Dunhopen Farm at 1:00 in the afternoon, the work crews were still busy preparing the site for the happy event:  (Please pardon my poor quality pics, taken with my iPhone.)

Below are some assorted pictures of the wedding, done by Patrick Remington (www.PatrickRemingtonPhotography.com):

And, finally, here are a few pics of the band.  (The good ones were done by Patrick Remington.  The poor quality photos were taken by me with my trusty iPhone.)

Above:  The view from my seat at the keyboards on stage.

Above:  Guitarist Carvel Avis spouts one of his witty quips.  
Drummer John Nuckols smiles from the background.

Above:  Bassist Chris Wendle in a jubilant mood.

Above:  My view of the horn section from on stage.  What an awesome group of players!

Here are a couple of higher quality shots of the band, taken by Patrick Remington:

Above:  (Left) Dr. Chip Crotts on trumpet and (Right) John Nuckols on drums.

Above:  The horn section.

As you can see, this was a spectacular event!  Credits for the event facilitators are as follows:

Preparation – Mothers Home
Hair – TBA
Makeup – AMY HEAD
Wedding dress – CHRISTOS BRIDAL
Bridesmaid dresses – REBECCA TAYLOR
Ceremony & Reception – Family property

If you'd like to book "The Little Big Band," or any other of Ray Reach's groups (ranging in size from 2 to 24 musicians), please contact me.  Here is my contact info:

Ray Reach
Cel:  205-960-6328

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Joys of Musical Mentorship

I love my life! For the past 45 years, I have been lucky enough to be able to make a living at music. What a joy! While many of my friends who are my age are counting the days until they can retire, I hope I NEVER have to retire!

Perhaps one of my greatest musical joys is being a musical mentor. In my roles as Director of Student Jazz Programs at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, and as a private music teacher, I have numerous gifted students. It gives me great pleasure to see these students succeed. I can't believe that I actually get paid for doing something that is so enjoyable!

I teach piano, voice, guitar, music composition, music arranging, orchestration and music technology. Young students come to me and I share the knowledge I obtained from my many wonderful mentors!

Recent successes:

Dr. Frank Adams and I teach free jazz classes every Saturday morning from 9am until 1pm at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, 1631 4th Avenue North, Birmingham, Alabama.

Congratulations to 2 of our students who recently received scholarships from prestigious University music programs:

1) Saxophonist Yirme Yisrael received a scholarship from New School University in New
York City.
2) Bassist Sam Allbright was awarded a scholarship to attend the jazz studies program at
the University of New Orleans.

Their hard work and tenacity has truly paid off!

Do you know a student who'd like to receive our jazz training at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame? Just contact me, Ray Reach, at (Cel) 205-960-6328 or email me at rreach@bellsouth.net.

You can read more about our educational programs at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame at the following Web addresses: