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Mission Gold Jazz Band

Mission Gold Jazz Band
Fremont, California

With a name inspired by the golden hills above Fremont's Mission San Jose, Mission Gold is an eight piece, two cornet band consisting of a variety of multi-talented musicians from all over the Bay Area. MGJB was formed in 1980 and has a long tradition of performing the music of Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Lu Watters and Turk Murphy. The band plays standards and more common tunes in the swing genre. The main goal is to please the dancers, strutters, and jazz listeners.

We offer a variety of Dixieland styles, including Marches, Blues, Ragtime and Stomps. We encourage audience participation during tunes reminiscent of the cakewalk, parasol strutting and to raise their voices to sing along with the band.

Upon request, for smaller venues and events, the band can be reduced to as few as 5 instruments. The leader can assemble the best sound for your event.

Our focal area is Fremont/Newark, but, as you can see from our list of special appearances below, we can travel a goodly distance away.

The band members (teaming with the East Bay Trad Jazz Society) are mentors of the JAZZINATORS, a youth band with middle/junior and senior high school students from local schools. The Jazzinators presently have a steady gig the Pizza Depot, the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month (7-8 PM).

Mission Gold has appeared at a variety of venues and performed at numerous private functions. We have been the featured band at the New Orleans Jazz Club of Northern California, the South Bay Traditional Jazz Society, the East Bay Traditional Jazz Society Festivals, the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society and many jazz clubs in Alameda, Napa, Redding, Stockton and Fresno. We've also performed at several NOJCNC Showcases, Fremont's Arts and Wine Festival, as well as Hot and Cool Festivals. In 2010 the band added new events with Monterey Dixieland Jazz Festival, The Cline Winery Jazz Festival and several appearances at the Oakland Coliseum as the Oakland A's Swingers Band for the ball club's "Turn Back the Clock" games.

Band members, have various musical backgrounds that range from Traditional Jazz, to Ragtime and Chicago Swing.


Special Appearances

Public Invited

Healdsburg Jazz Festival
Monday, June 2 8-9:30 PM (Stompers JB will open @ 7 PM)
Costeaux French Bakery & Cafe, 417 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, CA.

Jack of All Trades Mkt.
Saturday, June 14, 2014 11 AM-3 PM
Jack London Square, Oakland, CA. (415)) 898-0345

Baywood Court Retirement Community - Independence Day Celebration
Friday, July 4, 2014    3-6 PM
21966 Dolores St., Castro Valley, CA 94545, (510) 733-2102

Jack of All Trades Mkt.
Saturday, July 12, 2014 Noon-4 PM
Jack London Square, Oakland, CA. (415)) 898-0345

Masonic Home
Saturday, July 26, 2014 2:30-3:30 PM
34400 Mission Blvd., Union City, CA. (510) 429-6440

Jack of All Trades Mkt.
Saturday, August 9, 2014 Noon-4 PM
Jack London Square, Oakland, CA. (415)) 898-0345

Baywood Court Retirement Community - Labor Day Celebration
Monday, September 1, 2014    3-6 PM
21966 Dolores St., Castro Valley, CA 94545, (510) 733-2102

Napa Valley Dixieland Jazz Society
Sunday, October 12, 2014    1-5 PM
Embassy Suites-Chardonnay Room, 1075 California Blvd., Napa, CA,(707) 939-9018

San Joaquin Dixieland Jazz Society
Sunday, December 7, 2014    Noon-5PM
8900 Thornton Road, Stockton, CA, (209) 789-8878

Call (510) 657-0243 for unannounced appearances


Every Other Tuesday @ Bronco Billy's
(Irvington Dist., Fremont)
call (510) 438-0121 to confirm

7 - 8 pm: The Jazzinators Youth Band
8 - 9 pm: Open Jam Set for all ages

Sound Bites

Excerpts in mp3 from the band's 2012 sampler
"Panning for Gold"

   New Orleans Stomp   
   Storyville Blues
   Snag It
   My Lovin' Imogene
   Some of These Days
   Wild Man Blues


John Soulis John Soulis: Trombone, Baritone, Vocals, Leader   John has been listening to Dixieland Jazz since his pre teenage years when he heard his trumpet-playing brother’s records of the Fire House Five Plus Two etc. He always liked to listen to the trumpet player’s part, although he has played trombone since grade school. He has played with various bands including Emperor Norton’s, forming Mission Gold in the early 1980s. He has also played with The Cell Block 7, “And That’s Jazz”, The Spirit of ’29, and Ted Shafer's Jelly Roll Jazz Band.

Bob Sterling Bob Sterling: Tuba    Bob is the band director at Kennedy High School in Fremont. He was introduced to dixieland jazz by then fellow teacher John Soulis who needed a tuba player for Mission Gold. He has been with the band since the early 1990’s.

Earl Scheelar Earl Scheelar: Clarinet    Earl came to the Bay Area in 1950 to be part of the Traditional Jazz Revival. Since then he has played with many of the Bay Area's best jazz musicians and jazz bands. He has recorded with the Good Time Levee Stompers, the Jelly Roll Jazz Band, the Monterrey Classic Jazz Band, his own Funky New Orleans Jazz Band and the Zenith Jazz Band, his current band. He has been playing regularly with Ted Shafer's Jelly Roll Jazz Band, and has now joined the Mission Gold Jazz Band.

Roz Temple Roz Temple: Piano    Roz helped us out immensely in late 2004 and early 2005, alternating with Rod on piano and bringing her own infectious stride style and ragtime solos to our repertoire. Now we're delighted to have her full time!

Jack Wiecks Jack Wiecks Banjo    Jack started a long-time interest in traditional jazz in high school. After growing up in Western Oregon (where jazz bands are as rare as giraffes) he finally saw a real live Dixieland band at the University of Oregon. He traded in his ukulele for a banjo, but after a few years of college jam sessions, the necessities of making a living and raising a family set in. Recent years have allowed more time for Dixieland and Jack has played with Professor Plum, Churchill Street, Mission Gold, Silicon Gulch, 52nd Street Revival and the Magnolia Jazz Band. Jack has been a member of Mission Gold since 1996.

Dick Williams Dick Williams: Cornet   Dick is a well-known and respected Bay Area cornetist. Dick was a co-founder of "Jazzin Babies", and played with the "Desert City Six" when living in Southern California. Dick moved to Montana and led the "Good Tyme JB", and since coming back to California he was a member of "Alcatraz Angels," "Tuleburg," and "Creole Jazz Kings" before joining Mission Gold. He is associated with JazzSea Cruises/Jammers and often organizes jam sets at major jazz festivals.

Rich Newcomb Rich Newcomb: Cornet, Trombone, Baritone and Vocals   Rich started playing piano at age six, but switched to trombone at nine because he "liked the slidey thing". Although classically trained, he drifted off into the wilds of traditional jazz after discovering the Firehouse Five Plus Two and has been an unapologetic evangelist of the genre ever since. He began playing traditional jazz himself in 1987 and has been playing ever since. A musical autodidact, Rich plays trombone, trumpet, tuba and baritone as well as cornet.

Bert Thompson Bert Thompson: Drums   Born in Dundee Scotland, Bert began playing drums in Scotish Bagpipe Bands from the age of ten and continued until he immigrated to the States in 1956. While serving in the Army, he played drums for the 101st Airborne Division Band in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. After being discharged from the Army in 1958, Bert began his boyhood quest of playing drums in a Trad Band. Bert has played with many bands in California, beginning with And That's Jazz and presently with Mission Gold. In between he has performed with Professor Plum, Gremoli(LA area), Zenith and the Jelly Roll Jazz Band. We welcome Bert, his experience, expertise, and dedication to the Mission Gold Jazz Band for many years to come.

Members Erraticus

Thomas Banuelos: Thomas Banuelos: Cornet   Born and raised in the East Bay, Thomas Banuelos recieved his BA in Music from Cal-State Hayward in 2004. Along with a being a freelance musican, Thomas holds many jobs such as Director of Bands at Fremont Christian School, Music Director of Templo Betaina Church, and Private Trumpet Instructor. He began playing traditonal jazz while attending Cal-State Hayward where he played with the Section 7 Dixieland Band for over 4 years.

Members Emeritus

Hank Silva Hank Silva: Clarinet, Saxophone   Hank played reeds for big band and jazz combos in the bay area for over 50 years. His introduction to dixieland came when the Gem City Jazz Band asked him to substitute for their gig at the Sacramento Jubilee. He has since played in several festivals including the Fats Waller Memorial Festival. He played with Mission Gold from 1995 until his death in 2007.

Howard Simpson Howard Simpson: Cornet, Vocals    Howard grew up in Moline Ill., across the river from Davenport Iowa and the Bix Beiderbecke tradition. He was a founding member of the Salty Dogs at Purdue University. He also played with Miff Mole in Chicago, and backed Billie Holiday as part of a trio in Baltimore. He played with Mission Gold for over a decade, retiring from the band in 2005. Howard brought a distinctive cornet style and crowd-winning vocals to the band.

Rod Roberts Rod Roberts: Piano    Rod has been playing piano in the bay area since the 1950’s with various bands including the Olema Owls, The Racoon Ragtimers, and the Goodtime Dixie 7. Rod joined Mission Gold in 1992, and for over a decade contributed not only his fine piano playing but many wonderful arrangements and a couple of original tunes. Rod retired from the band in mid-2005.

Patty De Ridder Patty De Ridder: Vocalist    Patty learned her love for traditional jazz and her ear for lyrics at her parents’ knees. She has sung with MGJB since the early 90’s and is also a member of the East Bay Stompers.

John Stringer John Stringer: Clarinet    John began playing traditional jazz in Liverpool, England, having started out as a classical musician. He came to California on a sabbatical leave from England, and met Bill Armstrong; he helped Bill with the Churchill Street Band, a youth band at the time, from Palo Alto High School. Eventually John moved permanently to Palo Alto, and played with the Apex Jazz Band; then a number of others bands including Professor Plum's Jazz. John's main experience was as the leader of the 52nd Street Revival Jazz Band. Along with the clarinet, John will occasionally play the bass clarinet.

Andy Parker Andy Parker: Drums    Andy has decided to take time off from Mission Gold and spend more time with his young family. We wish him the best and look forward to hearing his rhythmic patter in the future!

Rick Holzgrafe Rick Holzgrafe: Cornet, Trombone, Vocals Earlier this year Rick moved his family to Oregon. This move coincided with his retirement from work. Rick has been a stalwart member of the Mission Gold Band for over twenty(20) years. His friendship and musical talent will always be remembered. Rick is currently very active in the jazz scene of the Northwest. We all wish him well in retirement and in his musical pursuits!


Contact Mission Gold

John Soulis

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Last modified - May 21, 2014