Leslie Ann Grove
Trumpet and Flugelhorn & Vocals
The band bug bit Leslie early—and just kept biting. At the age of 3, she began singing in public with her dad’s band, and her youth was not misspent—singing, dancing and playing trumpet in shows for underprivileged kids, at nursing homes, in local talent shows, for fraternal lodges’ installations and on the local TV show for budding entertainers,
Starlit Stairway—all accompanied by her piano-playing dad.
In college, at Gonzaga University, she helped with expenses by joining the Musicians’ Union and a musical group called—strangely enough—The Group. Later, with a degree in music education from Central Washington, she began teaching music in the Highline School District, singing occasionally with trios at the Doubletree Inn, south of Seattle. Back on the east side of the state, teaching music privately (and for a while at Gonzaga Prep), she and her brother, Gordon, formed a 7-piece variety band called Gateway—piano, bass, drums, three women in the
front line playing horns, and everybody sang. Lots of fun!
Leslie joined her actor husband, Tim Behrens, helping to found and nurture CenterStage and Ella’s Supper Club, where she was able to book most of the best jazz players in town, and lucky enough to sit in sometimes. She still plays and sings and subs, here and there. She subbed with Variety Pak for several years, then joined the band as a regular when the death of its esteemed leader, Bruce Davis, left a vacancy. She’s grateful that Bruce’s wish was that his band keep on keepin’ on, and she’s sure glad to help that happen.
Guitar & Vocals
Nick is a local Spokane guy who started playing professionally at age 16. He started with regional dance bands and moved into performing at parties and celebrations. He has played with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre Company, and for many touring Broadway Shows at the Spokane Opera House. Favorite shows include The Lion King, The Man of La Mancha and Annie. Nick was also a regular soloist at Ella’s Supper Club.
Trumpet and Flugelhorn & Vocals
Keith actually played in his first band, the Rhythm Kings, in the 8th grade, which stayed together and played school functions until they finally let Keith graduate from High School. Keith attended UC Santa Barbara and played regularly at campus events in big bands,
combos and brass ensembles.
A big break occurred in the sixties when Keith joined the Stan Kenton Orchestra in Los Angeles. In addition to playing trumpet he was offered the role of playing a unique horn: the mellophonium, a distinct French horn type of instrument which gave the Orchestra the sound Kenton had sought for many years. During the two years Keith toured with the band they recorded two Grammy winning albums, “Kenton’s West Side Story,” and
the “Kenton Christmas Album.”
He also got to play with other great bands and artists in the Los Angeles area, Tony Bennet, Ann Margaret, Oscar Peterson, Johnny Mathis and Count Basie to name just a few, appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and backed artists like Tom Jones, Lou Rawls, Englebert Humperdink….and served in many pit orchestras for touring Broadway musicals.
It was Spokane Expo ’74 which caught the eye and the heart of the LaMotte Family and triggered a move to the Northwest. Keith was a founder of the Spokane Jazz Orchestra in 1975, and still plays, proudly, with them to this day. He also plays with Tuxedo Junction Big Band and he just celebrated his tenth year as an integral part of Variety Pak.
For bookings contact Keith LaMotte at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Keith at 509-496-8657
Bass & Vocals
Kyle grew up multi-instrumentally playing tuba, accordion and piano. He majored in Music at EWU and learned string bass in the college dance band. And that led to his stint as the bassist for the Armand Boatman Trio, a significant piece of Spokane’s musical evolution. Kyle played for 5 years with the Spokane Symphony on both tuba and bass.
He toured and played with many big names: Wayne Newton, Myron Floren, Jimmy Dean, the Righteous Brothers, Ringley Brothers Circus, Disney on Ice shows, and he played a few years with the Billy Tipton Trio, and then the Jim Baker Orchestra. He played bass with Arnie Carruthers and Joe Kloess, local jazz legends.
For 12 years he toured with the Many Sounds of Nine. Kyle helped found both the Moscow Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and the Spokane Jazz Society. After the road, Kyle taught music at Garry Junior High and for 18 years he taught 5th and 6th graders how to play and appreciate good music. He served as president of the Eastern Washington Music Educators’ Association for one year and sat on their board for many more.
Following retirement, Kyle jointed the Variety Pak (aka Dixie Dandies at the time), and has stuck with them ever since. Kyle and wife Sue have been married 54 years (that’s an incredible 250 musician-years) and have a son, daughter and five grandchildren.
Guitar & Vocals
Born and raised in Honolulu Hawaii, Clint took up the guitar rather than the ukulele as he felt he had more fingers than the uke had strings! Traveling around the world while in the Air Force, he worked in many bands, most notably small jazz combos and the rock/jazz group “Thunderbirds” in Northern California. That group worked the San Francisco Bay Area for two years and they served as the primary backup band for singer Bobby Freeman of “Do You Wanna Dance” fame. Later, he played with the “Roadrunners” in central New Mexico and worked continuously for two years with that group. Later, while still in New Mexico, he formed the “Trademarks Showband”, a versatile nine piece rock/show band that toured the Southwest areas of New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and Nevada. After a triumphant 6 week stint in Las Vegas, the group returned home and to the recording studio for their first recording effort.
Once settled in Spokane, Washington, Clint worked in several small groups and in 2002, formed the “Swing Street Quartet”. That group worked numerous small venues and many local senior centers. Their CD “Just Friends” drew positive reviews in its initial release in the greater Spokane area. Clint plays guitar, banjo, ukulele, does vocals and backup vocals.
Tom is a percussionist who specializes in jazz big band and small combo repertoire. Originally from Chicago, he moved to Spokane after he joined the Army National Guard Band and then got transferred to the Air National Guard Band….
with which he served for 34 years!
Tom has played all over with an incredible list of pros including Doc Severinsen, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Della Reese, Jon Hendricks, Gunther Schueller, Nancy King, Dianne Schurr, the Guy Lombardo Orchestra and local legend
Arnie Carruthers, to name just a few.
Marv’s dad was the cause of it all: he formed Albert Richter’s dance band and got his high school kid to join them for weekends at the Rainbow Ballroom. At WSU, Marv was the lead percussionist for the WSU concert and marching bands, all the while majoring in Chemical Engineering! He was bound and determined to have a “day job!” And just to prove you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out how to have two separate lives, he became one! All the while percussing.
By day, engineer, by night, musician, Marv became a Plant Superintendent for Cominco American and at the same time principle percussionist for the Spokane Symphony under Donald Thulean. After those gigs, he created a construction business with his family, and kept touring across the country with the Many Sounds of Nine, from Las Vegas to Detroit, from the Washington Governor’s Ball to the Reno MGM.
Finally settling down, Marv, along with Kyle and Steve Filippini, restarted Variety Pak some 16 years ago, and he has finally decided to semi-retire as both drummer and manager of Variety Pak. But he will remain an important substitute for certain gigs….and we all still call him for advice, inspiration and if we want to
hear a good, long, story!