Biographies

 

 

Ginny Briggs (soprano), founder of The Mood Elevators in 1996, has been singing and tap dancing in musical theatre and operettas most of her life.  Having a background in classical voice and piano, she began moving towards jazz and swing in 1994 with the formation of She Bop, another band featuring a women’s trio in San Jose, CA.  Ginny exercises her interests in pre-swing jazz as one of the newest banjo players with the Stone Street Strummers and also sings with Rags To Riches, a band performing all jazz written before 1925.  In another dimension completely, she can occasionally be seen morris dancing throughout New England with Muddy River Morris, a traditional English dance team (2005 England Tour photos).  By day, she is currently working on a PhD in epidemiology.

 

Chris Towle (mezzo) is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but has lived in Massachusetts since 1987. Chris has been singing as long as she can remember. She studied voice in college, and has sung in various choirs, including a brief stint with the A Cappella Singers in Framingham. Whenever the arrangements allow, Chris will always choose "the part in the middle" -- she just loves those funky, hard-to-hear notes.


Chris's other interests include art, theater, and ballet, all of which she has actively participated in (in varying degrees) at one time or another. Her favorite roles include "Cassie" in A Chorus Line (with Worcester County Light Opera) and "Fritz" (yes, Fritz) in Dance Prism's The Nutcracker.

 

 

Karen Tyo (alto) comes from Long Island, New York, but mercifully doesn't have that typical accent! She has performed in numerous musicals including "Fiddler on the Roof," "The Secret Garden" and "Pirates of Penzance." She spent two years on the board of directors of the Westborough Players Club. Karen sang (soprano!) during the 2000-2001 season with the Halalisa Singers in Lexington. Karen has been honored to chant the Kol Nidre yearly at her synagogue in Westborough, and to sing with her daughters Sarah and Lisa whenever she gets the chance.

 

 

 

John Clark (clarinet/saxophone) - John’s playing is fired by his encyclopedic knowledge of jazz history. His strongest musical influences in the swing idiom are Johnny Hodges, Benny Carter, and Benny Goodman. John leads his own 7-piece Wolverine Jazz Band, which is dedicated to performing, preserving, and expanding traditional (pre-swing) jazz. They have recorded several CDs. He has played with numerous other traditional jazz bands, including the New Black Eagle Jazz Band, the Paramount Jazz Band, and the Happy Feet Dance Orchestra. John has a PhD in musicology from Brandeis University, and, to support his career as a jazz musician, he teaches instrumental music. (biography from www.swinglegacy.com)

Ross Petot (piano) - A Graduate of Bowling Green State University in Ohio, Ross developed a career as a teacher and performer of early jazz in Europe, Canada and the U.S.  Since settling in the Boston area in 1987 he has delighted audiences with his joyous breed of music making and gained recognition for his ability to play stride piano with the vigor and spontaneity that marked its creation.  In the meantime he has released a solo piano recording and has performed with many of New England's pre-eminent traditional jazz bands.  He is a regular member of The Blue Horizon Jazz Band, John Clark's Wolverine Jazz Band and, more recently, The Back Bay Ramblers.  He currently teaches at the All Newton Music School in Newton Massachusetts and performs frequently throughout the New England area.

Robin Verdier (piano, arranger) – Robin has become a frequent pianist for The Mood Elevators since 2004.  He is the leader for the Monte Carlo Jazz Ensemble, recreating the sounds and rhythms of the golden age of American popular music.  Its repertoire includes hot dance tunes, dreamy romantic ballads, "peppy period pops",  blues, stomps, and ragtime.  He is also a member of the Paramount Jazz Band, and fills in regularly with the Wolverine Jazz Band, and the New Black Eagle Jazz Band among several others in New England.  By day, Robin is a semi-retired MIT physicist.

Dave Didriksen (drummer), a Chicago native, Dave also plays with the Wolverine Jazz Band and the Happy Feet Dance Orchestra and is considered one of the most versatile drummers playing in the h hot dance style. While he is an expert on the stylistic elements, he never sacrifices swing.

Justin Meyer (bass) has performed around the country with numerous ensembles, including the Clyde Beatty Cole Brothers Circus Orchestra and the Chris Fitz Band, which won the 2001 Boston Music Award for "Best New Blues Band". He is presently a freelance bassist in the Greater Boston area and house bassist at Club Caravan in Revere, and teaches at the Brookline Music School and the Indian Hill Music School in Littleton.

Tomi Hayashi (arranger) - Composer, arranger, accompanist -- Tomi worked with the Mood Elevators almost from its inception, bringing an extensive working knowledge of the great American songbook and a gift for creating intense, unique vocal arrangements. Even though Tomi no longer collaborates exlusively with us, his arrangements remain a hallmark of our unique style.