Conductor Bruce Cassidy was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick. He studied arranging and composition at Berklee College with Herb Pomeroy. His trumpet studies were with John Coffey of the Boston Symphony. He was a founding member of Rob McConnell’s Boss Brass, appearing on their first seven albums. He recorded and toured with Lighthouse and Dr. Music before joining Blood Sweat and Tears (BS&T) as their musical director. He has composed, recorded and produced music from Los Angeles to South Africa and he is considered the world's leading performer on the Electronic Valve Instrument (EVI). He presently leads Bruce Cassidy’s Hotfoot Orchestra, and teaches at Humber College in Toronto.
Bandleader Rob Boniface: "It all started in Grade 1 with group lessons on a fold-up cardboard keyboard. I was hooked! The defining moment was when I was 12 years old and began to study jazz piano with “Duke” Martin. The man was a true inspiration and had a profound influence on my musical journey. The teen years saw stints in local bands (Ulysses and North Side Blues Band) but jazz was never far away. A Phil Nimmons arranging course led to a brief period of writing charts for the late great Pete Schofield. The dilemma now became whether to play and write or try to get a career! As always, it was a high school music teacher ( Chris Kitts ) who showed me how much fun it was to teach so... off to McMaster University for 4 years to get a music degree. Taught instrumental & vocal music as well as guitar for 31 years at St. Martin’s Secondary School in Mississauga and retired in 2009. For almost 35 years now I have been pursuing my love of big band jazz as leader and keyboard player of The Mississauga Big Band Jazz Ensemble. Thanks for the memories."
Baritone saxist Wayne Smith: Wayne took up flute and saxophone when he entered high school, which was more than a few years ago. Besides playing in the school bands, he became musical director of his own big band while still in high school. Since then, he has been playing, singing, writing, and arranging music in a dizzying array of styles and combinations, including an eight-year stint playing weddings every Saturday in a Belgian polka band. Wayne holds down the baritone sax chair in MBBJE, and adds the occasional flute solo. Wayne is also a singer/songwriter who performs with his own band under the name Wayne Neon.
Jay Boehmer: Drummer, composer and band leader, graduated from the Humber College Music Program in 1990 and performs with his jazz group in Toronto and Mississauga. Jay has released two CD's of original compositions: Autumn Afternoon (2007) and Don't Look Back (1999). Jay has performed in over 40 theatre productions and has been recorded on many CD's. Jay has been the drummer of the Mississauga Big Band Jazz Ensemble since 2002. His website - www.jayboehmerjazz.com
Wayne Ferrell: Over the past eleven years guitarist Wayne Ferrell has played in big bands in Alberta and Mississauga. He has been the guitarist for the Mississauga Big Band Jazz Ensemble since 2003. Wayne is also the bassist for the Toronto-based BroadBelly Band and the Just Us Band. Wayne is a consultant and part-time College/University instructor at Sheridan College and Guelph-Humber University. He holds BA and MBA degrees, as well as PMP (Project Management Professional) certification.
Mike Calich: Mike has been playing saxes and guitar and exploring jazz for over 50 years, starting in garage bands with friends (yes, in actual garages); playing jazz, blues, rock and dance gigs in restaurants and clubs; with the Queen’s University Jazz Ensemble and Wind Ensemble; and the Steve Shapiro Orchestra, in Toronto’s major hotels and ballrooms. Mike has performed and recorded for decades with composer/arranger Ted Blackbourn, at festivals and campuses in southwestern Ontario with the progressive jazz sextet Line One, the Interplay quartet and the Ted Blackbourn Big Band Project. Currently, in addition to the Mississauga Big Band Jazz Ensemble, Mike plays tenor with Toronto’s MegaCity Swing Band.
Mitchell Smith: Lead trombone player. Picking up the trombone in Grade 6, Mitchell "Mitch" Smith studied music for nearly twenty years of his life. From different music programs across middle and high school, Mitchell developed his trombone skills for seven years before enrolling in the Bachelor of Music program at Humber College. There, Mitchell studied under Alistar Kay and Kesley Grant, eventually graduating in 2017 with the Eddie Sossin Jazz Award for the most improved student in the program. Mitchell has been a member of the MBBJE since 2016, starting as a bass trombone player before being promoted to lead trombone player in 2019. Besides MBBJE, Mitchell plays with the Brampton Jazz Mechanics and the Toronto Megacity Swing Band. He is also a volunteer at MusicFest Canada, helping out as an audio and technology specialist since 2015.
Gary Martin: Gary has been with the band for 30 (!) years. He is a retired school teacher. He plays with the MBBJE, as well as the Oktocats, an eight piece West Coast jazz group. He is the conductor of the Megacity Swing Band and the Milton Concert Band. He has written many arrangements for MBBJE over the years. He also writes for film, theatre, concert band and video game productions.
Urmas Soomet: Bassist Urmas Soomet played guitar in rock bands during his youth in Montreal, where he also trained as a low brass player and played the tuba in concert bands. Later on, while working in the steel industry in Hamilton, he continued playing in bands evenings and weekends and took up the bass, both electric and upright. In 2007 he gave up his day job in order to focus on performing in the Golden Horseshoe area and on operating Studio 13 Live Sound Recording, a state-of-the-art recording studio in Flamborough. Urmas has performed on theatre and festival stages across Ontario, playing jazz, swing, classic rock, rhythm and blues and Dixieland music for over twenty years. He is pleased to be playing bass with the Mississauga Big Band Jazz Ensemble.