Elder Care Musicians


Musician: Colin Ross

Colin Ross: singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with deep American roots. His shows feature a tremendous variety of original music combined with a fashionable blend of vintage styles. He mixes virtuosic free-style piano technique with rollicking blues and boogie, liquid 12-string guitar, greasy delta slide, and wry lyrics to make his own brand of Americana, all with the ease that only Colin can assemble.

IN-CONCERT-300x199Musician: CW and Mr. Spoons

CW and Mr. Spoons roam the west spreading the western ragtime message–a mission of changelessness and hope, shining the light of syncopation upon a mostly dull and whiny musical landscape. They bring western ragtime guitar and the Wonder Bucket contraption to life–imbuing every note with the rich texture of desert life. Deeply rooted in traditional ragtime, western and swing music, much of their material is original or well stolen. Toe tapping, lively and hot, there’s nothing like it. CW fingerpicks rags on an old steel bodied National guitar as Mr. Spoons amazes all with his home-made Wonder Bucket. Their music fans include western, hot jazz and traditional Americana enthusiasts.

PvanderMusician: Paul Vandervoort

Paul learned his first piano piece from his cousin at age five. Playing it over and over, it brought him great joy to drive his mother crazy. As a teen, he studied with Windham Hill recording artist W. A. Mathieu and renowned vocal coach Judy Davis. Many bands and shows later, Paul moved to Reno. For years he emceed at the Catch a Rising Star comedy club, where he warmed up the audience by pounding the piano, singing silly songs and generally making a fool of himself. He also played every week at the Silver Legacy piano bar for over four years and Roxy’s piano bar for over six years.

JackMusician: Jack Hensley

Jack Hensley: Singer of most genres of music. Born in the “Big Band Era” and raised by country folks, he learned from an early age to croon, twang and yodel. He listened to and sang along with his mother, who entertained in a small club. Jack enjoys singing for seniors (seasoned citizens), bringing them their favorite songs from yesteryear they can relate to and enjoy. He has over 150 songs in his repertoire. They include songs made by popular by entertainers, such Eddy Arnold, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Englebert Humperdinck, Nat King Cole, Bobby Darin, Elvis Presley, and others.

LarryRNOArchMusician: Larry Elliot

Muzic Man Larry Elliott is an entertainer, singer, multi instrumentalist, comedian and a professional actor. Delighting audiences in person on stage all over the country from San Francisco/LA to NYC, in addition a regular on “Days of Our Lives” TV show and in the Oscar Nominated movie “The Cooler” among his credits. He sings different era styles, from 20’s to present, plays piano, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, harmonica, foot bass, accordion, banjo, auto harp, and provides a whole bunch of fun percussion instruments for audience participation. All this and a bit of snappy patter’, what a guy.

JAmesMusicians: Judith Ames & Rocky Tatarelli

Originally from Milwaukee, Judith has always had a passion for music, from playing classical piano, French horn, and folk guitar in days gone by, to her many years as a church organist, and most recently, as jazz and Latin singer at many UNR venues, and in clubs, restaurants and senior communities in Reno-Carson-Tahoe, as well as in the Bay Area, Milwaukee, and Madrid. A longtime UNR Spanish professor (under her full name, Judith Ames Whitenack), she was inspired some years ago by the great Detroit saxophonist Rocky Tatarelli to develop her vocal skills.
Legendary tenor sax soloist and composer Rocky Tatarelli originally hails from Detroit, where as a young man he made a major name for himself in the very competitive jazz and popular music world there, performing live and also appearing on more than 30 CDs, and playing with such greats as Louis Hayes, George Bohannon, Joe Messina, Roosevelt Brown, Markus Belgrave, his own brother (great alto sax artist Frank Tatarelli), Martin Fierro (of Santana and the Grateful Dead), and dozens of others. Currently he plays with many local jazz and dance groups, as well as with Judith.
For the Sierra Arts Eldercare program and Concerts in the Gallery, Judith and Rocky (now married) perform as a trio, quartet, or quintet, along with a rotating cast of great local musicians, favoring standards from the 1930s and 1940s, and a variety of Latin tunes, which Judith sings in the original Spanish and Portuguese. She also sings many tunes in Italian and French.

EPCarlsonMusician: Erika Paul

“Jazzy, earthy, fun and versatile…from vocal jazz standards to pop to holiday music to sing-a-long, Erika sings at the piano with soul and style…” Erika is a career music artist, songwriter and performer on piano and vocals with 12 cd recordings of original songs and jazz standards to her credit. She has been on board as a performing artist for Sierra Arts’ Elder Care Concerts Series since it’s inception 10 years ago, and enjoys performing for hundreds of eldercare facilities concerts in the Reno/Sparks area for the Sierra Arts Elder Care Concert Series program to date.

Cavanaugh_JamesMusician: James Cavanaugh

James Cavanaugh grew up in South Dakota, the youngest of six. His brothers and sisters all dabbled in music, and James fondly remembers his oldest brother John playing “Puff the Magic Dragon” in the living room. There were always instruments around the house… guitars, a piano, a flute, a trumpet, a clarinet. James ended up playing the trumpet in school band and taking piano lessons. He started playing bass guitar at 14 when a neighborhood friend said, “If you learn how to play bass, you can be in my band.” James stuck with the bass throughout his teens and twenties, playing in a variety of bands, from Top 40 to Blues, New Wave to Indie. He took a break from live gigs from 1990 to 1995 to earn a Bachelors in Music Composition and Theory from the University of Minnesota. James began playing solo acoustic guitar gigs when he moved to Reno in 1997. James is honored when provided the opportunity to share the joy and contemplation that live music provides to us all.

David-LewisMusician: David Lewis

As a native New Yorker and a veteran of the music scene on both coasts, David has played some of the top venues; in New York, to name a few, The World Trade Center, Tavern On The Green, the rainbow room at rockerfeller center, and the Marriott Marquis Hotel. Aside from playing in Las Vegas and California, He toured the Far East with his band playing for the Air Force on two tours. Along with a degree in music, he plays several instruments and offers strong vocals. David also freelances his talent with several local bands along with his single act. Now residing in Reno, he does special events for the atlantis spa and casino and the sands regency. He’s appeared at Red Hawk and Montreux Golf Clubs, worked with Sierra Arts Foundation in their Elder Care Program, several local retirement communities, several local wine tasting venues, along with private parties. Contact Information: 775-825-8049 or 775-770-0512, Davidlewis_05@yahoo.com

nbarkerMusician: Nancy Barker

Nancy is a 40 year veteran of the music industry. She holds a BA degree in Music, specifically pipe organ performance from California State University at Northridge. She has spent most of the last years as a performer, playing with Helen Reddy, Ed Bruce and opening for such bands as the Coasters, the Drifters, Glen Campbell, Ronnie Millsap and others. For the past 14 years, she has been the musical director for a local casino cabernet entertainer. She accompanies a senior chorus, plays with a church choir in Reno as well as Carson City and performs at senior living facilities as well as concerts in Truckee, Sparks and local casinos cabarets.

Sierra-SSMusicians: Sierra Silverstrings

The Sierra Silverstrings are a Reno kids’ fiddle band (ages 7-15) who play, sing, and dance to Americana & Celtic music. We’ve performed 150 times since we began in June 2012 and our big shows this year were at the Good Old Days Music festival, Calaveras County Fair, the Western Heritage Festival, the Ukiah Pumpkinfest and the Reno Celtic Festival.

String-BeingsMusicians: String Beings

In 1982 the String Beings played their first wedding. Since then we have grown in popularity and experience. Leader, and Supreme Being, Van Vinikow has assembled a diverse repertoire that includes popular classical music and classic popular music styles. We cover over 500 years of the world’s most loved and favorite classical melodies. Our acoustic nature frees us to play in a variety of locations, such as churches, parks, backyards, even Tahoe docks. Using only professionally trained musicians from the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra, our sound is professional and our professionalism is sound.

Don-KayMusician: Don Kay

I have been playing the guitar and singing almost all my life. I started in high school and played my way through college in the 60’s and 70’s. I have toured with several bands and worked as a staff guitarist for the “Montrose Opry”, backing such country legions as Hank Locklin and Furlin Husky. Now retired from over 30 years as a school professional, I continue to play country, “pop” oldies, and the standards of the last several decades. I’ll be looking forward to seeing you at my next performance through the Sierra Arts Foundation’s Elder Care Program.

SV-Doug-closeup-real-tightMusician: Doug Robertson

Doug studied songwriting and developed professionally under Len Chandler, John Braheny and Al Kasha. As a performer, he pursued a solo career until the 1975 formation of the band Shelter. His solo album “New Clothes” enjoyed airplay on several cuts and is distributed by CD Baby (http://cdbaby.com/cd/i194_12311). It was then when he started sharing what he was learning with developing artists and became a 14 year co-coordinator of the Reno area chapter of the Nashville Songwriters Association International. Performing credits include opening appearances for Johnny Rivers, Leonard Nimoy, Len Chandler and Al Jarreau. Featured act as a soloist and with two bands: Doug Robertson and Company and max Yasgur’s Farm at Harrahs Reno, Sierra Arts Gallery, John Ascuagas Nuggets Rib Cook Off, Reno Hiltons Garage, Art Town, Great Basin Brewery, Hot August Nights, Fallon and Reno Farmers Markets, Virginia City’s Americana Festival and many other clubs, festivals and venues in the Northern Nevada and California’s Sierra. Now Robertson head up Nostrebor Music and produces other musical acts.

Chad SweetMusician: Chad Sweet

Chad Sweet has spent much of his life as a theatre performer singing, acting, directing, writing, and dancing around the U.S. He is currently the Producing Artistic Director of Good Luck Macbeth Theatre Co. in Midtown Reno and the Technical Director at Reno Little Theater. He began his work as a nightclub singer while living in Mexico and continues crooning jazz standards and show tunes at infrequent events.

jKetchamMusician: Joe Ketchum

Play by ear-35 years of volunteer gigs, twice a month @ senior centers and care facilities. Played 1st paying job @ Charlies Oldtimer in Fredonia, NY – words on wall w/ banjo player-lottsa beer and peanuts. Played in a 5 piece Top 40 band in the seventies(holiday inns, etc.) After this the bass player and I formed a duo (Fastbreak Duo). Played in this duo(lots of weddings, private parties, bar and bat mitzvahs, and clubs throughout western NY) until my wife and I retired in Reno. I love all kinds of music – country, ballads, classics, whatever my ear allows. My main employment was in the plumbing and heating industry. Our son John lives in Portland, OR, thus our move out west. June and I have been married for 45 years. My love of music is only exceeded by my love of sports!

ForestMusician: Forest Glen Durland

Born in Oregon in 1928, Forest was brought up in a family of educators and musicians. He has been playing piano for people since age five, when he wrote his first song. After 86 years, he still practices the basics daily to lend a modern flair to Flight of the Bumblebee. Forest earned two degrees in music, leaning toward piano and composition. His knowledge of all the instruments enables him to write full scores that are playable by orchestras and bands alike. Over the years, some well-known artists have performed under his direction in musicals. Forest still plays piano professionally. Being of a mature age himself, he enjoys playing the songs and music mature folks at the assisted living homes prefer, and he has become popular there. Having played many styles, he also sits in with some of the major orchestras and bands around Reno from time to time.

ForestMusician: Alex “Muddy” Smith

Muddy grew up in Chicago where he learned to play guitar and played in a high school rock band. His influences were the Beatles, Stones, Motown, and Jazz. During his four years in the Air Force, although he didn’t perform, never lost his passion for music. While stationed in California he learned to snow ski and became avid skier. So he moved to Lake Tahoe where he resumed his desire to preform music and started working clubs as a single guitar man. In order to diversify his musical skills, he pursued and earned a BA in music at Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe. Over the years, Muddy has performed with Classic Rock, Country, Bluegrass and Jazz bands in the Reno/Tahoe area. He has also Deejayed hundreds of weddings. In addition, he has performed at various elder care facilities in the Reno/Tahoe area.
His main musical passions now are writing and singing songs and playing and singing jazz.
“I love to write lyrics that tell stories and melodies that hopefully have a little something extra for the listener.

Musician: “Velvet”

“Velvet” performs a wide variety of music for your listening and dancing pleasure. This includes R&B, Motown, Blues, Jazz,  Funk,  Disco, and Country. John Palmore, keyboardist and vocalist, is a veteran performer who has traveled the world playing for artists such as Jackie Wilson, Mary Wells, ZZ Hill, Wilson Pickett, Joe Simon, Percy Sledge, and The Platters. He was the musical director, keyboardist and arranger for  Bill Pinkney’s “Original Drifters” for many years. John moved to the Reno area in 1989 and established the Palmore Bros Band.He is currently bandleader for the Palmore Remix Band,  keyboardist and vocalist with “Velvet” Duo, and a solo artist. Pat Esters, lead singer, is a longtime Reno resident, with a love of all music, holds a masters degree of music from the University of  Nevada Reno. A dynamic and versatile vocalist, covers all genres. Pat has done backup work for Martha Reeves, Lyle Lovett, Michael Bolton, and the Nelson Twins to name a few. She has produced two (2) Jazz albums, sings for the Reno Jazz Orchestra,is a featured artist for Artown, and has performed with several local bands. She is currently lead and background singer for the Palmore Remix Band and “Velvet” Duo, and special events soloist


Musician: Joel Ackerson

Joel Ackerson is one of two lead singers for the nationally touring lyrical rock band, The Novelists. In addition to headlining a performance at Dallas Cowboys Stadium, The Novelists have become a mainstay on the West Coast festival, college and house concert circuits. In his career he has played almost 2000 shows throughout 37 states and 4 countries. Though he covers a wide range of genres and musical time periods, the central theme of his writing is storytelling. He has been a frequent collaborator with Sierra Arts in the past decade and is pleased to be returning to this series again in 2015.

Musician: Eric Andersen

Co-lead singer of Reno based pop/rock band, The Novelists, Eric Andersen has quickly made a name for himself. His style recalls an early Billy Joel or Elton John, as well as more contemporary artists like Ben Folds or Jamie Cullum. His performances take the listener on a journey through a wide range of powerful emotions.

How to become an ECCS Performer

Interested musicians are asked to submit a bio/resume and either a CD or any digital media file for consideration. In addition, staff from Sierra Arts will come to hear a live performance or if preferred, an audition at Sierra Arts. Musicians are asked to attend a yearly workshop/training class led by Susan Mazer and Dallas Smith, founders of the ECCS. They will introduce musicians to the background of the series, advanced techniques of working with the facilities and the residents, and overview of music and healthcare situations.

For more information, contact Emily Rogers, Program Director at emily@sierra-arts.org or call 775-329-2787.