The Band

Bones

RICK BALEK

Leader, Bass Trombone, 

Old Man Of The Band

Rick has been performing bass trombone & tuba in numerous big bands in Indianapolis and Detroit for over 34 years.  Rick led the popular Metro-Detroit Jazz Orchestra, a 19 piece straight-ahead big band with musicians from the bands of Maynard Ferguson, Buddy Rich, Stan Kenton, Harry Connick Jr . & more.  Rick’s big band book is known as the ‘most difficult book in town’.  Rick has performed with Diane Schuur, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gormé, Engelbert Humperdinck, Al Martino, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Steve Allen, and frequently at the Detroit Jazz Festival.  Rick was bass trombonist in the award-winning Western Michigan University Jazz Orchestra, directed by Trent Kynaston.  Rick performs on custom Marcinkiewicz mouthpieces and custom Holton bass trombones.

FREDDIE MENDOZA

Musical Director,

Trombone

Formerly the Director of Jazz Studies University of Indianapolis and Texas State University-San Marcos, Freddie Mendoza is currently Assistant Professor of Trombone and Online Studies at Ball State University. Freddie has shared the stage with many of jazz music’s greats, including Dizzy Gillespie, Aretha Franklin, Marcus Printup, Marvin Stamm, Clark Terry, Bill Watrous, Rob McConnell, Bob Mintzer and Harry Connick, Jr., Frankie Valli, The Temptations & more. Freddie’s discography have been featured on major labels including RCA/Victor Classics, Castle Rock Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Touchstone Pictures, Revolution Records, NoneSuch Records. His film credits include the soundtracks for Restored Me, Hope's Happy Birthday, JetBlast, Bernie, The Alamo and The Newton Boys. Freddie is a voting member of the National Academy for Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammy Association), the Latin Academy for Recording Arts and Sciences (Latin Grammy Association) and is also a clinician/artist with Getzen Custom Series Trombones. He holds a Bachelor's in Music Performance from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master's in Music Composition from Southwest Texas State University. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Music Education at Columbia University Teacher’s College.

CHRIS VAN HOF

Trombone

Chris Van Hof is Assistant Professor of Trombone at Ball State University, and Host of the 2019 International Trombone Festival. He previously held the same position at Colorado State University 2013-2017. An S. E. Shires Performing Artist, he is also Principal Trombone of the Muncie Symphony, trombonist in the Da Camera Brass (in residence at Ball State), and the Emerald Brass. Chris is an experienced performer in multiple styles, having spent time equally as a symphonic player with the orchestras of Kalamazoo (MI), Rochester (NY), Madison (WI), Fort Collins (CO), and Cheyenne (WY); and as a section member of commercial horn sections, jazz big bands and the trombone funk band the PoBoys Brass Band (2007-2011).

Chris has presented clinics for the Indiana All-State Orchestra, Colorado Music Educators Association Conference, and BIGXII Trombone Conference. Chris studied with Mark Hetzler for his Doctorate (UW-Madison), Mark Kellogg for his Master’s (Eastman School of Music), and Steve Wolfinbarger for his Bachelor’s (Western Michigan University).

RYAN FRALEY

Trombone

Ryan Fraley’s compositions and arrangements have been performed worldwide by jazz ensembles, orchestras, and bands of all levels. His work is published by The FJH Music Company Inc. (Fort Lauderdale, FL) and his own imprint, HXmusic, LLC.  He is the producer of FJH’s many instrumental recordings and a music engraver.  Ryan is the co-founder of Wave Mechanics Union. Currently working on their third album, WMU’s second album, Further to Fly, peaked at 17 in JazzWeek’s radio charts and was named by College Music Journal as one of the top 50 jazz albums of 2013, based on radio plays. He has provided orchestrations and arrangements for Jon Anderson (vocalist from the band Yes) for two solo albums and two tours. Ryan is a member of The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers; is a frequent recipient of ASCAP Awards; and a voting member in the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

RICH DOLE

Trombone

Richard Dole is an active tenor/bass trombonist and educator in Indianapolis and the surrounding region. He has toured or performed with Aretha Franklin, Johnny Mathis, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Steve Lawrence/Eydie Gormé, Barry Manilow,  the Hollywood Concert Orchestra China tour, and in 2008 traveled with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra to Egypt for a US State Department Tour. He performs with several regional orchestras including Carmel Symphony, Sinfonia da Camera Orchestra in Champaign/Urbana Illinois, The Illinois Symphony, Danville Symphony, and the Anderson Symphony Orchestra. He can be heard each Wednesday at 9pm on WICR 88.7 as co-host of the radio show ‘Have You Heard’. The podcast of the radio show is online at: haveyouheardjazz.com. Mr. Dole resides in Indianapolis with his wife Stacy and their two beautiful children, Griffin and Ellington.

JOHN HUNTOON

Trombone

John is a graduate of Millikin University and Bowling Green State University, and holds degrees in Music Education and Trombone Performance. From 1998 until 2017, John served on the faculty at Anderson University in Indiana as Director of Low Brass, Brass Ensembles, and Jazz Ensemble. During that time he was also Assistant Director and Director of Bands. 

Currently, Mr. Huntoon is the Program Director for Just Press Play, an after- school music academy serving the youth in Madison County, Indiana, and the Madison County Youth Orchestra Project. In addition, he is the Music Director for Central Christian Church in Anderson. Known throughout the midwest as an active recitalist, recording artist, clinician, adjudicator, and conductor, John has performed with such artists as Ray Charles, George Benson, the Moody Blues, Michael Feinstein, Marie Osmond, Johnny Mathis, and Sandy Patti. He resides in Cicero, Indiana, with his wife, Diana, and Golden Retriever, Binkley. 

Rhythm

DR. SCOTT ROUTENBERG

Piano

Dr. Scott Routenberg enjoys a versatile and prolific career as an award-winning jazz pianist, composer, arranger and orchestrator. Awards include the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Contest Maxell Song of the Year (2004) and the The ASCAP Foundation/Symphonic Jazz Orchestra Commissioning Prize (2016). Commissions include multiple arrangements for the Grammy-winning Metropole Orkest under Vince Mendoza and big band arrangements for Grammy-winning harmonica virtuoso Howard Levy. Dr. Routenberg is currently Assistant Professor of Jazz Piano at Ball State University. The Scott Routenberg Trio has released two critically acclaimed albums on Summit Records, Every End is a Beginning (2017) and Supermoon (2018).  

JESSE WITTMAN

Bass

Jesse Wittman is a bassist, composer, and educator based in Indianapolis. He received his degree in Jazz bass Performance at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he studied bass with Bruce Bransby and composition and improvisation with David Baker. He also holds a Masters degree in Composition from Butler University where he studied with James Aikman and Michael Schelle. He currently performs in Indianapolis and across the country and teaches jazz bass and jazz combos at Butler University. Jesse is a versatile musician who  is interested in a variety of musical genres and compositional approaches. 

CASSIUS GOENS

Drums

Cassius Goens III, Assistant Professor of Music (Jazz Drums) at Ball State University, has an extensive performance history with several groups including The Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Scott Routenberg Trio, The Ball State University Jazz Faculty Ensemble, Kool’s Bazaar, Premium Blend, Cory Hill, The Cohen/Rutkowski Project, as well as his own jazz quartet.  Goens also serves as the house drummer on Sunday evenings at the legendary Chatterbox Jazz Club, a staple in the Indianapolis music scene. Goens’ has performed in Jazz Festivals worldwide including in Montreux, Vienne, Purugia and throughout Brazil with Brazilian guitarist/singer/songwriter Ricardo Coen. Goens has also shared the stage with world renowned jazz artists Chuck Finley, Buddy Defranco, Andy Martin, Marcus Printup, Karyn Allison, Don Aliquo, Wayne Bergeron, Dennis DiBlasio, Ted Nash, Michael Davis, Matt Harris, Rodrigo Ursaia, Jimmy Greene, Andy Milne, Phil Ranelin, Howard Levy, Tony Monaco, Walter Smith III and Slide Hampton.

Cassius Goens III holds degrees from Ball State University (BGS, Music Emphasis) and the University of Iowa (MA, Jazz Studies), where he studied with James Dreier. As a member of the Percussive Arts Society, Goens serves on the PAS Diversity Committee, and he belongs to The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). Cassius is an educator, artist, and endorser for Sakae Drums, Vic Firth drumsticks and Remo drumheads.

PATRICK WRIGHT

Guitar

Patrick Wright is an Indianapolis based jazz guitarist and educator. Since graduating Butler University in 2015, he has found steady work as an in demand guitarist in the Indianapolis music scene. His versatile playing style pays tribute to his vast array of influences ranging from straight ahead jazz, fusion, rock, and R&B. Patrick has performed with notable artists like Christian McBride, Donny McCaslin, and Bobby Sanabria.