Mary Jo Albrecht
In November 2020 two Robson residents were sitting in the coffee shop. Dennis Bierman said, “I think Robson Ranch is big enough to have an orchestra.” Ben Parris (alto saxophone) agreed. Rich Marks (piano) joined them. Then there were three. They talked about recruiting more members. I overheard their conversation and went over and let them know the Robson Dance Club would be all in favor of having an orchestra at Robson and would support them all we could. In April 2022, an eight-piece orchestra played Big Band music for the Robson Dance Club’s monthly dance. They were amazing.
Dennis Bierman, on drums, is the orchestra leader. He has played with many groups in the Tucson area and led a 10-piece dance band in Oregon. He provides the sheet music and has connections to invite friends from other bands as needed.
The Musicians Club has gathered talented players from in and out of Robson to join. Some play regularly with the orchestra and some form small groups to become the Jazz Band, Patriotic Tunes Band, or the Dixieland Band. They often play at the Grill and for small group occasions. A very big gig in October was playing backup to Nashville recording artist and grandniece of Johnny Cash, Kellye Cash Sheppard, and our own vocalist, Pete Marks.
Many of the members of the Musicians Club have not played for years or played different genres of music. All are very talented. Jerome Ryan performed professionally with a Rock ‘n’ Roll band in the Seattle Area. He has also performed with a Chandler rock band, and you may have seen them at the Arizona County fairs. Four members of the orchestra come from outside of Robson, Rick Moore (alto saxophone), Joshua White (tenor saxophone), Ben Wycoff (trumpet), and Martin Nevarez (trumpet). Bob Clark (clarinet), Rick Moore, Ben Wycoff, Joshua White, and Martin Nevarez are also members or leaders of the Central AZ College Band, Music Department, or instructors. Some of the RR musicians also mentor middle school age musicians. A wonderful addition to the orchestra is Pete Marks as vocalist. You may have heard her sing with the Robson Singers along with Rich Marks and Ben Parris.
Today the orchestra has expanded to 10 musicians and a vocalist. Other members who have joined the club on an on-call basis are Gerri Bradley on flute and Sam Ellis on trumpet.
The Musician’s Club is looking for more members, especially from Robson Ranch. They practice twice a month on Sunday afternoons. Pull out that old clarinet from your closet. Dennis provides music in advance of the practice sessions. They are always adding new music and types of music to their playlist.
In the future they will be playing at the Grill once a month as a jazz band. They hope to expand and play music for a German fest. Their biggest supporters are their families. They are very thankful for their support and patience.