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2020 Staff!
(more instructors being booked)

Stanton Moore
(Galactic/Charlie Hunter)

Born and raised in New Orleans, Stanton Moore is a dedicated drummer and performer especially connected to the city, its culture and collaborative spirit. Driven and inspired by the thriving music scene of his hometown which includes such greats as Professor Longhair, Doctor John and The Meters, Moore’s name is now mentioned amongst these Big Easy mainstays.

In the early ‘90s, Moore helped found the New Orleans-based essential funk band Galactic. Their first album, 1996’s widely acclaimed Coolin’ Off, led to an intense tour schedule of nearly 200 gigs a year for the next ten years. Building on their fan base by adding an esteemed list of all-star collaborations to the six albums that followed, Galactic continues to amass a worldwide audience via recording and touring globally.

Moore launched his solo career in 1998 aided by eight-string guitar virtuoso Charlie Hunter and saxophonist Skerik (Les Claypool, John Scofield, Roger Waters). The group recorded All Kooked Out! featuring a handful of local New Orleans musicians as well. In the midst of these recording sessions yet another concept was taking shape. Outtakes turned into the first Garage a Trois release, Mysteryfunk (1999). In 2000 the trio, led by Moore behind the drum kit, was joined by percussionist Mike Dillon (Les Claypool, Ani DiFranco) and has since released three more albums – Emphasizer in 2003, Outre Mer in 2005 and Power Patriot in 2009.

Moore extended his solo discography with the release of Flyin’ the Koop (Verve/Blue Thumb) in 2001, and III (Telarc) in 2006. Following the latter Modern Drummer called Moore’s trademark sound “infectious, jazz-meets-Bonham, nouveau second-line.” Recorded at the legendary Preservation Hall in New Orleans, III featured organist Robert Walter (Greyboy Allstars, The Head Hunters) and guitarist Will Bernard (T.J. Kirk, Doctor Lonnie Smith) as the Stanton Moore Trio, with special guests Skerik and trombonist Mark Mullins (Galactic, Bonerama, Harry Connick, Jr., Better Than Ezra). In 2008, Moore looked to continue his scaled back session crew with Walter and Bernard to record Emphasis! (on parenthesis). Says Moore, “When it came time to do another record, I had already known for a while that I wanted to build on the momentum of this band – three musicians who were becoming a unit unto themselves – and I wanted to get a little more adventurous with the music itself.”

In April 2010, Moore released Groove Alchemy. The 12-track set is the culmination of Moore’s multimedia project that also includes an instructional book and DVD of the same name. All three facets of the project are designed to explore the roots of funk drumming by examining the work of pioneers like Jabo Starks, Clyde Stubblefield, and Zigaboo Modeliste – each of whom made their mark at different times throughout the 1960s as the engines driving James Brown’s and the Meters’ legendary rhythm sections – and in turn tracing their influences back to the rhythms coming out of New Orleans in the earlier part of the 20th century. Recorded at Levon Helm’s studio in Woodstock, NY, this project is the follow up to the widely acclaimed Take it to the Street DVD and book that focused specifically on New Orleans drumming styles.

Showing his outstanding versatility, Moore has appeared on Heavy Metal Grammy nominees Corrosion of Conformity’s In the Arms of God, Irma Thomas’ After the Rain (winning a grammy in the process), Robert Walter’s Super Heavy Organ, Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) and Boots Riley’s (the Coup) Street Sweeper Social Club, Will BernarDiane Birch’s Bible Belt, Alec Ounsworth’s (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah) Mo Beauty. He continues to play dates globally with an ever-evolving cast of musicians including John Scofield; Karl Denson; George Porter, Jr., and Leo Nocentelli (of the Meters); Charlie Hunter; Warren Haynes; John Medeski and Chris Wood (of Medeski, Martin and Wood); Donald Harrison Jr.; Dr. Lonnie Smith, Dr. John, Tab Benoit, Robert Walter; the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to name a few.

With a bachelor’s degree in music and business from Loyola University, Moore stays involved in education by constantly giving clinics and teaching master classes and private lessons all over the world. He has been a contributing writer for Drum!, Modern Drummer, and DownBeat magazines here he was featured on the covers of more than six drum publications. In 2005, he launched a signature line of cymbals with Bosphorus Cymbals and a signature drumstick with the Vic Firth stick company. In 2009, Moore developed his own drum company to introduce his signature titanium snare drum that he designed in conjunction with Ronn Dunnett.

Deeply affected by Katrina and its aftermath, New Orleans’ native son was quick to lend a hand by spearheaded the Tipitina’s Music Workshop, free Sunday seminars that cater to children and a rotating cast of well-known professionals to promote the preservation of New Orleans music. He also set up the Staletta Fund, a scholarship started by he and his wife Aletta to help cover costs for aspiring students to attend jazz camps, auditions and further their education.

Moore stays active as a spokesperson for the Gulf Restoration Network and is a regular proponent of and player with the Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars. Additionally he serves on the board of directors for the Roots of Music, a free music education and academic mentoring program founded by Derrick Tabb, drummer for Rebirth Brass Band and recent nominee for CNN’s Heroes awards.

Gary Novak
(Alanis Morissette/Chick Corea)

Born and raised in Chicago, Gary Novak was practically born with drum sticks in hand. Coming from parents of great musical talent, it is no wonder that Gary began playing the piano at the tender age of 8.

While most musicians find their musical inspiration outside the home, Novak's influence came from his parents. His mother, Carol Novak, also a pianist, played with her trio at the London House. His father, Larry Novak, the famous Chicago pianist, not only encouraged the career of his son but also put him to work. From the age of 10 to 12, Novak would work with his father's trio in all the Chicago clubs, including Mr. Kelly's, gaining the insight and experience that would lead to several musical milestones obtained at a very young age.

During high school, Novak worked with the jazz clarinet master Buddy Defranco as well as such notables as Joe Williams, Milt Hinton, Kenny Burrell, Barney Kessel and the great Louis Bellson. Novak's blossoming reputation lead to the opportunity to represent Yamaha drums and Zildjian cymbal through endorsements at the age of 17.

At 19 years old, Novak moved to Los Angeles - an important step forward for Novak bringing many opportunities most could only dream of getting. Not only did Los Angeles bring him his first road job with Maynard Ferguson, but it marked a year of great exposure. Novak would come to work with Brandon Fields and record on his latest LP. He worked with such musical greats as Michael McDonald, Natalie Cole, David Sanborn and Anita Baker.

He teamed up with guitarist Lee Ritenour who employed him for his solo tour and the GRP All-Star tour in 1991.

Novak continued to tour throughout ’92, this time with George Benson. Although he had been working for the greater part of his life, he was not about to slow down. At 28, he joined Chick Corea’s newest band. After leaving it, he toured with other great musicians, such as Bob Berg and Allan Holdsworth. In 1998 he joined Canadian pop star Alanis Morissette’s band, recording and touring with her for over a year.

Today, Novak continues to tour the world with major artists while maintaining a busy session career in Los Angeles.

Dennis Moody - Studio Basics Class
(Dave Weckl/Jackson Browne/etc.)

Dennis Moody is a legendary recording/live sound engineer whose career started in the 1980s. He has worked with many of the biggest pop, rock, and jazz icons.

His first job was at Paramount Recording Studios in Hollywood. While employed there, Dennis had the opportunity to work with Prince, Aerosmith, Diana Ross, Iggy Pop, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, Womack and Womack, The Jacksons, Stanley Clark, The Commodores, and more. During his time at Paramount, Dennis was the personal engineer for legendary Motown producer Hal Davis, with whom he worked with for six years.

In the mid 1980's, Dennis became a freelance engineer. During this time, he worked on projects involving Miles Davis, Jackson Browne, Chevy Chase, the Manhatten Transfer, and the Yellowjackects to name just a few. To date, Dennis has been a participant on more than 1,500 records and CDs.

In 1991, Dennis designed, built and successfully operated Sonora Recorders, a professional 24 track recording studio in Los Angeles. Here, Dennis had the chance to work with Mick Taylor, Ron Wood, Mothers Finest, John Mayall, Spencer Davis, Clint Eastwood, Vanity, Chester Thompson (from Genesis), and many more.

In summer of 1996, Dennis was involved in an experimental project sponsored by Lexicon Audio and JBL Co. to mix 5.1 channel surround sound music. This was a big hit at the annual Audio Engineering Society convention in Copenhagen. These sessions were produced by Bobby Owsinski, and were instrumental in developing 5.1 and surround standards.

Dennis was also fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in Europe, where he was hired to do many projects for Artbeat Records in Hamburg. He also did records for The Berlin Blues Brothers, Alicia, Super Mario Brothers, A Punto, The Hamburg Volkstuemliches Chor, and three records for K and P/ BMG artists, "Keimzeit", and more.

After his first stint in Hamburg, Dennis went to Korea on a three month contract to engineer various projects for Bay Productions in Seoul. There he did albums for "Apollo" and "Eye to Eye". He also worked on a project for Korean superstar John Park. For a time, Dennis was constantly traveling between Europe and Los Angeles working on various recording projects. In April of 2000, he returned to Los Angeles on a more permanent basis.

Dennis built his current LA studio in 2001. It has since delevoped from a small Digi01 "work station" studio into a full blown ProTools HD band tracking and mixing studio that can accomodate live tracking sessions as well as edit, mix, and mastering sessions. Dennis also helped design and built legendary drummer Dave Weckl's home studio.

Today, Dennis continues to engineer recordings and live concerts for large and small acts all over the world.

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More Information

The Band
Janek Gwizdala

Janek Gwizdala is one of the most in-demand bass players on the planet. A Berklee alum, Janek regularly tours with Pat Metheny, Mike Stern, Wayne Krantz, Marcus Miller, and many more.

He's an accomplished teacher and will join Vinny Valentino in teaching the optional Groove Class. You can choose that during the registration process!

Welcome Janek!
Stu Mindeman

Stuart Mindeman is a versatile pianist/keyboardistskilled in various styles of music including Jazz, Pop, R&B, Classical, Salsa/Latin music, Gospel, and more.

He has shared the stage with such names as Fareed Haque, Gloria Estefan, Rodney Whitaker, Claudio Roditi, John Clayton, El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, and many others. He is also active in Chicago’s Theater community, musically directing for The Second City, among others.

In addition to performing, Stuart maintains a private studio, and is on faculty at the Chicago Academy for the Arts. We're grateful to have this amazing talent at our concerts and jams!
Chrissi Poland
Vocals, Keyboards

Chrissi Poland has been the heart and soul of Drum Fantasy Camp since it started in 2007!

A graduate of Berklee with a four-octave range, Chrissi is the energetic leader of our Jam Nights and opening concerts. A composer and recording artist in her own right, Chrissi has toured/recorded with artists including Moby, Bette Midler, Scissor Sisters and Sam Moore. She is also well known for her "Higher Ground" session with Dave Weckl and Chris Coleman. Chrissi has definitely earned the respect of the drumming community.

Chrissi is a true pro who challenges Drum Fantasy Camp attendees to play with confidence, passion, and solid musical sensibilities!
Vinny Valentino
Music Director
Guitar, Vocals

Vinny Valentino is a world-class guitarist and educator. He is best-known for his work with the legendary George Benson and Steve Smith's fusion band Vital Information.

Vinny is a "musician's musician." He plays "in the pocket" and chooses his notes carefully. He's a writer, arranger, and performer of the highest order. He is also a great teacher - helping drummers understand how to be more musical. Vinny has conducted music workshops all over the world.

Vinny's company, "Play Along Jazz," produces play along tracks for musicians of every background and playing level.

At Drum Fantasy Camp, Vinny pulls together all the music for our concerts and Jam Nights. He's the musical vision of the camp and holds everything together during the concerts and jams. He also runs our Groove Class! You can learn a lot from Vinny.
The Staff
Steven Orkin
Owner / Camp Director

Steven Orkin is the owner and director of Drum Fantasy Camp. He also runs Orkin Marketing Consultants, a music marketing firm in Los Angeles, California.

Steven spent ten years in corporate marketing and the ad agency world before starting his firm. He now manages marketing communications for Dave Weckl, Steve Smith, Simon Phillilps, Mike Stern, and others.

Steven started Drum Fantasy Camp in 2007 and also runs periodic drumming classes at Music Annex LA and Music Annex NYC. He's completely accessible at Drum Fantasy Camp and enjoys discussing the biz with attendees. He also enjoys staying in touch with attendees and hearing about their progress after the camp!
Stewart Jean
Program Chair / Drums at Musicians Institute

Attendees and parents of DFC will have the unique opportunity to learn about the music school world and music industry from Stewart Jean.

As Program Chair for Drums at MI, Stewart steers the program down a path of success. Authoring and co-authoring contemporary curriculum, developing innovative teaching methods and consistently providing a nurturing learning environment are some of the highlights Stewart has brought to Musicians Institute.

Stewart also maintains a steady drumming career Stewart. He has performed or recorded with Jackson Browne, Danny Wilde, Macy Gray, Raul Midon, Bruce Kulick, Don Felder, Jimmy Buffett, Betty Wright, Sam Moore, Preston Smith, Bo Diddley, Christian Zallies, Diego Bertie and Pedro Suarez Vertiz.

Stewart received a Bachelors Degree in Music from the University of Miami as a graduate of the Studio Music and Jazz Program. While in Miami Stewart also served as Jazz coordinator for the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.