July 4th, 2009

Rick Veres - Bandleader - Baritone Sax      

Rick formed Big Planet Soul in 1996. He built the band into its current configuration of 10 members. A veteran of touring horn bands in the mid-70's, Rick paid his dues on the road. He enjoys the freedom of expression in solo work as well as the restrictions prescribed in ensemble situations. Section work, especially with the BPS horn section, is his true calling. He also enjoys anchoring the sax section in the Lipzz Big Band, an extremely popular 21 piece Charleston-based Big Band led by trumpeter Jeff "Lipzz" Flanagan. Rick's musical education is limited to instruction from gifted music instructors in the Kanawha County Public School system and a course in Music Theory & Composition in which he enrolled at Berklee College of Music. The rest was OJT.

Rick and the Big Planet Horns have presented instructional clinics for local High School music departments to do their part in "keeping music alive in public schools". 

Rick's rig is a Selmer Super Action 80 Series II  Baritone Sax using a metal H-Couf mouthpiece with a #7 facing and LaVoz Medium Soft reeds.  A ProTec Case and a Hercules stand keep things safe and upright on stage. 

Dave Hudnall - Bass Guitar / Vocals  

Dave has been playing bass guitar and singing since the age of 15. Dave cites the Beatles as the major influence in his decision to become a musician. His interest in music led him to obtain his degree in Music from WVU Tech. Big Planet Soul is Dave's first experience playing in an R&B/Soul band and he enthusiastically says "I'm having a blast."

Ray Singleton - Lead Guitar / Vocals      

A resident of Charleston, Ray has been a guitarist for over 40 years. With a BA in Music Education from the University of Charleston, Ray has taught hundreds of guitar students in the area and has performed with numerous bands, notably with Souvenir, an eclectic acoustic duo, and with Sleeper, one of Charleston’s most popular rock bands during the 80s. He has also been working on his jazz chops and is a regular at Soho’s in Charleston’s Capital Market. Ray’s influences are wide and varied – he cites Larry Carlton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, David Lindley, Mark Knopfler, and Jerry Reed as a few of his favorites – and his mastery of styles is impressive. In addition to the soulful licks he plays with Big Planet Soul, Ray is equally at home with country twang, searing rock leads, cool jazz improv, or acoustic fingerpicking. Ray’s ever-growing guitar collection features quite a few off-the-wall pieces and you never know what he’ll show up with at the next gig. His main guitars lately are an early 80s Gibson ES-335, a koa Fender Stratocaster, and a fire-engine red DiPinto Mach IV – all played through a vintage Mesa Boogie Mark II amplifer. Ray uses Boss pedals and D’Addario strings.


David Porter - Trumpet / EVI     

David joined Big Planet Soul in 1997. In addition to performing with BPS, David holds the Principal Trumpet Chair with the West Virginia Symphony. He is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and is a Music Instructor at Concord College. David is a true technician...great chops and awesome technique with excellent improvisational skills. He is a great asset to the horn section & tirelessly prepares most of the section's charts. David plays a Bach Trumpet.


Alan Handley - Drums / Vocals     

Alan started drumming at the age of 11 by listening to record albums. He joined the school band in Junior High and got his first full set of drums a year later. By the time he hit high school, and after countless hours of practice, he was playing in a rock band with college guys. He worked hard to hone his craft and worked with Jazz, Country and Top 40 groups in the area. By being flexible in his style of playing, it allowed him to work with many different artists. Alan formed the group "The Bridge Band" which performed many original songs and grew to have a great following in the Tri-State area.

Alan has recorded on several albums, performed on TV shows as well as getting radio air play. He has traveled and played his drums over much of the United States, 3 years of which he played in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area. He has opened for the Temptations, and Chubby Checker, just to name a few. Alan also sings lead and background vocals.

Alan's drum kit consists of 9 ply birch shells developed by the Eames Drum Company of Saugus, MA. In 1981 he ordered the blank shells, which they made to his specifications, then he completed the set by drilling for the hardware and giving the drums a natural finish.


Jim Groscup - Trombone    

Jimmy G studied trombone at Marshall University and has performed with many noted entertainers such as Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, The O'Jays, and the Temptations. Jim is a trombonist with The Huntington Symphony, "Lipzz Big Band" and also performs with The Lincoln Brass. He is an accomplished musician with great improvisational skills and a knack for ensemble work. This guy has super chops! Jimmy G. plays a Conn 6H Trombone with a lightweight slide and a Victor brass bell.  Rest in Peace Jimmy are sorely missed!  12/31/57 - 07/18/2012


Mike Howard - Keyboards / Vocals     

Mike is a true keyboard technician. Extremely versatile and talented, he has played over the years in a variety of groups ranging from rock to jazz, country to big band swing. He joined Big Planet Soul in 1996 after performing with "Rumor Hazit" in the Lexington, Kentucky area. He currently resides in Greensboro, North Carolina and commutes to rehearsals & gigs......... that's dedication!!! He is instrumental in preparing many of Big Planet Soul's arrangements. Mike's keyboard work in BPS shows influence from a number of keyboard heroes, such as Chuck Leavell, Steve Winwood, Greg Rollie, and Chester Thompson.

Current Equipment: Mike picked through his extensive collection of keyboards and modules to put together a easily-transported rig that produces the range of “classic” keyboard sounds needed for Big Planet Soul. The bulk of the sounds are produced by a Muse Receptor loaded with the Native Instruments Komplete 5 plug-in package, including B4II (for an authentic B-3/Leslie sound without the 400 lb. bulk); Akoustik Piano; Electrik Piano (for Rhodes and Clavinet); Pro-53 (for synthesizers) and Kontakt 3 (for other sampled instruments). Additional textures are provided by a Kurzweil ME-1 module. Keyboards consist of a custom-built 61-key double-manual controller with two sets of drawbars for the organ, plus a 76-key Roland A-37 controller for the other sounds, all built into one compact, integrated case.


Marty Ojeda -  Tenor Saxophone      

Marty was born in Logan, WV and began playing professionally at 15. He received his Bachelors Degree in Music Performance from West Virginia University in 1991 and after years of national touring, spent 8 years playing with national stage artists and doing recording sessions in Nashville. He has been a touring musician for over 17 years. After his son was born, he made his grand return to Logan as Band Director at his old high school. He currently resides in Chapmanville, WV with wife Lora, and son Michael.


Wally Wilkes - Lead Vocals  / Guitar    

Wally began performing with Big Planet Soul after a long and successful career in the music business. Since 1968 Wally has been playing with some of the area's hottest music acts such as Pegasus, Heroes, Thin Ice, Replay and Fat Chance as well as guest appearances with many others. He brings a special flavor to the band with his soulful and gutsy vocal style.

"It's all good, dawg."


Jeff Flanagan - Trumpet / Flugel Horn      

Jeff holds down the high end trumpet assignments, earning his nickname: Lipzz. He has shared the stage with many well known entertainers such as The Temptations, Franki Valli & the Four Seasons, Lou Rawls, and Kenny Rogers. Jeff teaches music and performs locally with the Huntington Symphony and Lincoln Brass in addition to performing with Big Planet Soul. Jeff also leads the popular "Lipzz Big Band", a collection of talented musicians from the Huntington-Charleston area.

Jeff plays a Yamaha Lightweight 6300 Series Trumpet and uses a Bobby Shew mouthpiece.


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