The members of the Golden Gate Park Band are all professional musicians who collectively bring centuries of musical experience to the band. All are members of the American Federation of Musicians. Most have been with the band for many years.
Following is a list of our regular personnel. During any given Sunday there may be a few substitutes for players who are absent due to illness or other commitments.
Michael L. Wirgler was appointed Conductor and Music Director in 1999. He is a native San Franciscan who received his BA and MA degrees from San Francisco State University in Music. He is a clarinetist, composer and arranger that has performed with numerous Bay Area groups. He performed as principal clarinet in the GGPB for 25 Years before becoming Music Director. He retired from the Oakland Unified School District where he had been a music teacher for 30 years. He is also director of The Alameda Community Band.
Diane Grubbe – flute – joined the band in 2007. She performs regularly with Donald Pippin’s Pocket Opera and also freelances throughout the Bay Area, appearing with regional orchestras including Symphony Silicon Valley, Festival Opera and others. A great fan of contemporary music, Diane often performs with the Bay Area’s sfSoundGroup, has been a guest performer with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Earplay and the Eco Ensemble. Diane is the flautista in Quinteto Latino, the Bay Area wind quintet specializing in classical music from Latin America. In 2012 the quintet released its debut CD, 100 Years of Mexican Music for Wind Quintet. — website.
Derick Yih – flute/piccolo – is currently a member of the Boise Philharmonic in Idaho, and has performed locally with the Modesto, Santa Cruz, Monterey County, Berkeley and Oakland East Bay symphonies. As a soloist, Derick has performed both flute and piccolo concerti with the PaloAlto and Mission chamber orchestras as well as Symphony Parnassus. Derick holds a Masters Degree in Flute Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory.
Keith Sklower – oboe – is currently in his 5th season as a member of the Golden Gate Park Band. Although employed as a staff programmer at UC Berkeley (with degrees in physics and mathematics), he nonetheless regards music-making as his reward in life, and has performed with a variety of musical organizations, including the San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Freedom Band (30 years), the Prometheus Symphony Orchestra (24 years) the UC Berkeley Orchestra, the wind-band of the northern division of the French National Railroad (L’Harmonie du chemin de fer du Nord), and the California Bach Society. Mr. Sklower also serves as an audio archivist, and his recordings have aided several local groups, both amateur and professional, in applying for grants. One of his recordings of the Sonos handbell choir has been broadcast nationally on NPR.
Rachel Condry – principal clarinet – Rachel Condry is clarinetist, improviser, composer and educator based out of Oakland, CA. A flexible and active performer, Rachel takes a special interest in new and creative music and can be heard in a variety of diverse local ensembles such as the Nathan Clevenger Sextet, Gestaltish, The Luna Ensemble and the Golden Gate Park Band. In 2005, Rachel made her Carnegie Hall debut as a member of The Matt Small Chamber Ensemble (http://www.mattsmall.org), a group that seamlessly blends idioms of jazz, classical and free improvisation. Rachel has an MFA from Mills College and a BA and BM from Oberlin College and Conservatory.
Chelsea Chambers – assistant principal clarinet – joined the GGPB in 2012. She holds both a Bachelor’s in Clarinet Performance from UCLA and a Master’s in Music from the Royal College of Music, London. Chelsea is a freelance musician and a member of the Livermore Valley Opera Orchestra, and was previously principal clarinetist of the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra and Lake Tahoe Music Festival. She is also an active chamber musician. Chelsea maintains a private studio of clarinet students, and enjoys her work with Peninsula Symphony as an Administrative Assistant and Education/Outreach Coordinator.
Mike Ryan – Bb clarinet – also plays bass clarinet and saxophone. He holds a BA in Music from San Francisco State University, where he was Assistant Conductor of the Symphonic Band. He has also performed as first clarinet in the Pacific Philharmonic, and as a free lance performer throughout the Bay Area. He was a public school music educator for 27 years, and served for 11 years as a High School administrator.
Mariko Abe – Bb clarinet – has been a member of the GGPB during the 1980s until leaving to raise her family, and was a substitute player with the band for several years before returning as a regular member in 2012. She holds a BA in music with emphasis in clarinet performance from CSU East Bay, and has performed on clarinet and bass clarinet with numerous greater Bay Area organizations, including the Women’s Philharmonic, Stockton Symphony, Chabot Wind Symphony, Chrysanthemum Ragtime Band and many others. As a violinist and violist, Mariko has performed with the Villa Sinfonia and Villa Chamber Orchestra. Notable performances have included musical tours of Japan, Italy, the Czech Republic, England and Scotland, as well a U.S. performances at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. Mariko greatly enjoys serving on the teaching staff at Hayward-La Honda Music Camp and teaching private clarinet lessons in the East Bay
Renée Deeter – Eb & Bb clarinet – has been performing professionally for over 30 years on Clarinet, Saxophone and Flute covering a broad range of music in a variety of styles from Classical to Jazz and Dixieland into Rock and Roll. She has performed throughout North America and Europe in many Jazz festivals, some of which include; Edinburgh, Bude, the Amsterdam Winter Festival, Montreal, St. Louis, Monterey, Sacramento and others too numerous to list. She has enjoyed working with some very notable artists and doing short stints with some; Cab Calloway, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Phil Harris, George Burns, Hal Linden to name a few. She was a member of The Turk Murphy Band including the Carnegie Hall performance and continued with the band until after it was disbanded following Turks passing. For 23 years her own band was featured at Marine World Africa USA. Currently she is still performing with numerous ensembles both locally and abroad including; appearances as a guest artist, her own Trio and Quartet, and as a member of the Fremont Symphony.
Joffria Whitfield – clarinet – holds an AA, BA, Teaching Credential and MA -summa cum laude from Cal State East Bay. Miss Whitfield is a multi-instrumentalist, (strings, woodwinds, percussion, handbells), teacher and dancer. She is equally fluent in classical, jazz, gospel, and popular music. She has performed with the Santa Rosa, Napa, Modesto, Stockton, San Francisco Youth and Vallejo Symphonies and numerous music, theater and dance ensembles.
Additionally, Miss Whitfield maintains a private studio in Walnut Creek and teaches instrumental music in the Mount Diablo Unified School District. She has been a featured soloist with the San Francisco Concerto Orchestra, New Millennium Strings, the First Sunday Series at Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, (harp), and Cal State University East Bay’s memorial concert in honor of Nathan Rubin (viola).
In the fall of 2004, Miss Whitfield was selected to perform Benjamin Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols” with the University of the Virgin Islands’ Concert Choir and her own solo arrangement of “Silent Night” (harp). The concert was filmed by St. Thomas’ local television station.
James Blakly – bassoon – has also performed with the Berkeley Symphony, Cal Performances and many other ensembles. He holds both a B.A. and M.A. from U.C. Berkeley. His principal teacher was Walter Green. He works as a Programmer / Analyst with the U.C. Berkeley Statistics department.
Bill Aron – alto saxophone – has been a professional bay area musician for the last 44 years. He has performed with organizations such as the San Francisco Symphony, the Sun Valley Symphony as well as most of the “Freeway” symphonies of the SF bay area. His major performances have been with the San Francisco Saxophone Quartet, of which he was a member for more than 28 years. He has played many featured parts with several symphonies as well as the SF Conservatory, Other Minds and other organizations.
Antonio (Tony) Gallardo – alto saxophone – joined the band as a regular member in the 2009 season. He holds a B.A. and M.A. in Performance on Saxophone from California State University, Hayward. His professional experiences include those with Steve Allen, The Smothers Brothers, Henry Cuesta, Don Menza, Barbara McNair, Mike Vax, the highly acclaimed San Francisco Saxophone Quartet and others.
His recording credits include the syndicated children’s television show, Villa Allegre, Berkeley Saxophone Quartet, And That’s Jazz Dixieland Band and Paul Price’s Society Orchestra. He also performs with several Bay Area musical production companies. He spent 33 years as an instrumental music teacher in public and private schools. He presently teaches saxophone and clarinet at Chabot College in Hayward.
Hal Richards – tenor saxophone – born in New York City, a versatile woodwind specialist (saxophones, flutes, clarinets, oboe and bassoon) has been performing and recording with many of the Bay Areas finest musicians since 1976. Currently performing with Jeff Sanford’s Cartoon Jazz Orchestra and Septet, The Berkeley Saxophone Quartet, The Dave Parker Quintet, The California Pops Orchestra, and the Golden Gate Park Band, Hal has appeared with Carol Channing, Terry Gibbs, Eric Marienthal, Bill Perkins, Bob Florence, Omar Clay, Lenny Niehaus, Fred Radke, and at The North Beach Jazz Festival. As a Bay Area freelance musician, Hal also performs with many original Jazz and World music groups. Theater experience includes several musical productions, television soundtracks, the Bay Area Revels, San Francisco Children’s Opera, San Francisco Mime Troupe, Magic Theater, S.F. Playhouse, Broadway By the Bay, Marines Memorial Theater, Berkeley Playhouse, Contra Costa Musical Theater and the Peninsula Civic Light Opera. Classical endeavors have included various chamber groups, Bay Area orchestras, Verismo Opera and a stint with The Guadalajara Symphony Orchestra. In addition to his busy playing schedule, Hal has been teaching music in S.F. Public Schools for the past 26 years.
Jeff Sanford – baritone sax – has been with the band for over 15 years. He is in great demand as a performer and teacher throughout the Bay Area. Check his web site for a biography and for news on his current projects, including the Cartoon Jazz Orchestra. website
Mark Nemoyten – solo trumpet/cornet – started playing as a substitute with the band in 1981. He became a regular member in 1996. He has performed many solos with the band, including the trumpet concertos of Hummel, Haydn, Arutyunian and Warren Barker , the Claude T Smith Rondo for Trumpet, The Debutante by Herbert L. Clark, and the The Carnival of Venice & Variation by J.B. Arban. Mark held the position of second trumpet for over twenty years with the late Napa Valley Symphony, and has performed as an extra or substitute member of the SF Opera, SF Ballet, The Russian National Orchestra, and many regional orchestras, including the Santa Rosa Symphony, Sacramento Symphony, Berkeley Symphony, Stockton Symphony, Modesto Symphony among others. He performs with many Jazz and Pop music groups, and as a soloist, recording artist and chamber musician.
Mark has been a private trumpet teacher and music educator in public and private Bay Area schools for over 30 years. He also has an audio recording and production company, Hear and Now Audio and works as a live sound engineer. For a detailed biography please see his website. Mark serves as the web master for the band.
Michelle Latimer – trumpet – is also an accomplished singer and jazz recording artist. Michelle joined the GGPB in 2003. Check her website for a complete bio.
Eric Wayne – trumpet – joined the band in 2005. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Northern Colorado. He has an active freelance performing career in the Bay Area. He is also a professional audio engineer and has started his own music label, Digital Victrola.
Franklin Beau Davis – trumpet – joined the band as a regular member in 2014 after being a frequent substitute player for many years. A San Francisco native, Franklin graduated from Lowell High and earned his degree in Music education from S. F. State. He plays and teaches all the brass instruments, and serves as co-principal trumpet and program annotator for Symphony Parnassus. He has performed with San Francisco Opera, Children’s Opera and Pocket Opera; Oakland Ballet; and Marin, Berkeley, Diablo, Vallejo and Napa Symphonies.
For Eleven years Franklin played lead trumpet in Don Neely’s Royal Society Jazz Orchestra; and more recently, he’s been playing Roaring 20s music with the San Francisco Starlight Orchestra and at The Speakeasy. He also plays traditional jazz with Devil Mountain and Silicon Gulch Jazz Bands. Franklin arranges and leads his own groups, which include Gabriel’s Heraldic Trumpets, The Brassworks Quintet and The Brassworks Band. Since 1985, The Brassworks Band has played at Ye Gaskells Victorian Balls, held six times a year at Oakland’s magnificent Scottish Rite Ballroom. Brassworks Music website
Tom Bertetta – trumpet – joined the band as a regular member in 2016, after acting as a substitute for many years. Tom has worked as a professional trumpet player and teacher in the SF Bay Area for over 30 years.
Diane Ryan – principal French horn – joined the band in 1997. An active free lancer, she also performs regularly with the West Bay Opera, Theatreworks, the Brass Act Quintet, Schola Cantorum, and many other groups. Diane received her B.A. in performance from San Francisco State University.
William Shannon – French horn – has played with the band for over 20 years. He is Professor of Theory and Horn at Chabot College. He has a M.A. in Music with a specialty in Music Theory/Composition and a B.A. in Music with a specialty in Performance from California State University, Hayward. He has played the French Horn for over 40 years. Bill has taught at Chabot and Los Medanos Colleges for over 17 years and has worked as a recording engineer and equipment technician at California State University, Hayward. He is an independent contractor in technical theater, primarily in electronic; theater lighting; and musical instrument repair, design and construction.
Bob Satterford – French horn – is a retired attorney and former naval person. He is principal horn of the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra and plays in the Diablo Symphony. In addition, he teaches horn and freelances actively as an orchestra and chamber ensemble player throughout Northern California. In 2015, he was awarded a Master of Music degree from Sacramento State University. After several seasons as a substitute, he joined the Golden Gate Park Band as a regular member in 2010.
Hall Goff – principal trombone – has been a noisemaker all his life, vocalizing sound effects for toy trucks, guns, cars, and planes throughout his childhood in New Jersey. After two years as an alto in the Madison (Wisconsin) Boy Choir, he gravitated to the trombone at age 12 and began listening to dixieland, beebop, pop vocalists of the day (early 60’s), and all kinds of recorded sound, later being influenced by early Zappa, Chicago Symphony recordings, and Firesign Theater. Realizing the value of serious practice in his 16th year was a landmark experience. Hall attended Oberlin College (BA), and earned a Master’s degree at Yale School of Music, mentored by John Swallow and Otto-Werner Meuller. He has been a member of the S.F. Ballet Orchestra since 1977, and the S.F. Contemporary Music Players since 1979, having had the good fortune to play (to this day) as a freelancer with many bay-area ensembles of all sizes, as well as on various recordings, and behind visiting musical stars of opera, jazz, rock, and pop. After playing as a substitute for many years Hall joined the band as a regular member in the 2009 season.
Brendan Lai-Tong – trombone – is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory (MM) and the University of Miami (BM). He received his formal musical education under Marl Lawrence, principal trombone of the San Francisco Symphony; and Tim Conner and Hugh Harbison of the Florida Philharmonic. Brendan has performed with a wide spectrum of Bay Area music ensembles including the San Francisco Ballet, Opera san Jose, Oakland East Bay Symphony, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and more. Brendan joined GGPB in 2016.
Mike Basta – bass trombonist – became a substitute with GGPB in 2013 and is now a regular. A native of Oakland, he grew up in the Bay Area and graduated from Cal State University, Hayward, with a BA in music. Mike has played with numerous groups in the Bay Area, including the San Francisco Symphony and the Ice Follies. He also performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival, accompanying such notable musicians as John Faddis, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, and the Modern Jazz Quartet. He has also played regularly as principal trombonist for the Fremont Symphony, Cambrian Symphony, South Bay Symphony, Saratoga Symphony, Holy Names College Orchestra, the San Ramon Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the Chabot College Orchestra, and the municipal bands of Hayward, Fremont, and lastly, San Leandro, for which he was also Assistant Director.
Billy Robinson – euphonium – joined the band in the 2003/4 season. He is a well known Bay Area performer , music educator, and instrument collector. He has been on the faculty of Skyline College for over thirty years, and conducts both a concert band and jazz band. He has been a leader of The Bay Bones, a trombone choir, since 1972. A mix of college students and professionals, Bay Bones consists of 32 trombones and a rhythm section. He also performs with the Adrian Davis Band, the Max Borjon Band and the Don Piestrup Band. He has played some of the Bay Area’s most exclusive venues, including the Venetian Room at the Fairmont Hotel, the Curran Theater, and the Golden Gate Theater. He has played with the San Francisco and Oakland symphonies and subbed in the San Francisco Opera.
Henry Niebolt – tuba – who joined the band in 1961, is in his 54th year with the band, and may have performed in more GGPB concerts than any other player in the band’s history. He also performs regularly with the Symphony Parnassus. Hank has also performed with the Marin Symphony, the Ringling Brothers Circus, the Ice Follies, and many other groups. He received a B.A. from San Francisco State, and has done graduate work at S.F. State and the University of San Francisco. He retired after a 32 year career as an elementary school teacher.
Steve Doherty – electric bass – joined GGPB in August 1984. He is also a professional pianist. Steve studied electric bass with guitarist Warren Nunes and studied piano with Gilda Monte. He received a Bachelor of Science, Business Administration, 1981, Cal. State Univ. Hayward. He also free lances with a number of small combos throughout the Bay Area.
Robert Hamaker – percussion – graduated from Cal State Hayward in 1983 with his BA in Music Performance. He teaches private students at his studios in Walnut Creek, House of Woodwinds in San Ramon, and Fiat Music in Pinole. He is on the Faculty at Los Medanos College in Pittsburg where he teaches private students and directs the LMC Percussion Ensemble. He is currently Principal Percussionist for the Vallejo Symphony Orchestra, and is also Principal Percussionist, Personnel, and Stage Manager for the Diablo Symphony Orchestra. He stays active playing with the Pacific Sticks Percussion Ensemble and also plays with many other symphonies, bands, and theater groups around the bay area. He joined the Golden Gate Park Band as a regular member this year.
David Dieni – timpani – has been performing music from classical to jazz and theater for over twenty years. A graduate of the Oberlin and San Francisco Conservatories, he has performed behind the likes of Luciano Pavoratti, Dave Brubeck, Carol Channing and Judy Collins. Recent shows include Evita with Contra Costa Musical Theatre, Jacques Brel at the Marin Theatre Company, Into The Woods at CTA Crossroads Theatre, Ruthless the Musical with the California Cabaret and Insignificant Others, a new musical recently showing at Theatre 39. He has performed with many regional orchestras, including a stint as principle percussionist with the Napa Symphony, associate principle percussionist with the Sacramento Philharmonic and second percussion with the Stockton Symphony. He also plays timpani for the California Pops and can be seen most Sundays during the spring and summer months performing timpani with the Golden Gate Park Band.
Mr. Dieni has recorded for Koch International on the Ursala LeGuin/Eli Armer collaboration, Uses of Music in Uttermost Parts, and is a recipient of a Meet the Composer grant. He has a busy teaching studio, coaches students at the San Francisco School of the Arts and is currently working on a book of drum technique and solos. — website