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2021 Staff

Please check back after January 1, 2021, to learn about our staff for the 2021 Drum Fantasy Camp!
More Information

   
   
The Band
 
Janek Gwizdala
Bass

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, Jojo Mayer, 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!
 
Stu Mindeman
Keys

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 Dave Weckl, Tom Kennedy, 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.