Class Act II Big Band 




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The Sax Section-


Patrick Wilson -1st Tenor Sax



Patrick is a 2000 graduate of Western Illinois University where he studied saxophone with professor John Vana. While there, he studied jazz styles and pedagogy under the late Dale Hopper and jazz improvisation with Dr. John Murphy.

Marylin Younger-1st Alto


 Marilyn attended Mendota, IL High school, and the University of Illinois. She has been teaching saxophone privately for 15 years. She is married to Ray Younger. Marilyn drove the combine during the past 10 yrs of harvest. She and Ray have 2 sons, John who lives near Chicago- who is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and DeVry, And James , who is an IL Wesleyan graduate in music ED and is currently teaching at Amboy Jr. High. James and his wife live on the same farm as Marilyn and Ray- Which makes 5 generations of Marilyn's family who have lived on this site. Marilyn plays in 2 other bands as well as Class Act II. She enjoys music, her dog, genealogy and comical TV Shows.



Ray Youger - 2nd Alto


Ray Youger attended Avola Jr. High & High school and enjoyed band and chorus. Later he would go on to study with Harold Scott at the University of Illinois with a BS & MA in music. He also studied with Willis Coggins at the University Bands and Marching Bands, directed by Mark Hinsley and Everott Kissinger. 


Ray is currently playing in The Jonnie Kaye Orchestra, Shannanigans Big band, St. John's Mendota "Raise the Praise" and, of course, Class Act II Big Band.

Cathy James - Bari Sax

Cathy started playing clarinet in 5th grade.  She picked up the tenor sax in high school to join the Stage Band.  Cathy is Band Manager and solo clarinetist in the Dixon Municipal Band.  She is celebrating her 31st year in that group as of the 2006 season. 

 Cathy is also solo chair clarinet in the Sterling Municipal Band and has performed with this band for eighteen years.  Cathy, with her husband, Jon, started the Rock River Jazz Band and Ain’t Misbehavin Combo.  Both of these groups perform in and around the Rock River Valley .

Other musical opportunities Cathy has performed in include the Sauk Valley Community College Concert and Jazz Bands, pit orchestras for local musicals (Cathy recently performed in the Smokey Joe’s Café musical produced by the Sauk Valley Productions Theatre Group at the Historic Dixon Theatre), and solos for weddings.

If the above musical history is not enough, Cathy works full time as a registered nurse at the Sterling-Rock Falls Clinic in Sterling .  She lives in Sterling with Jon, 2 cats (Vinny and Louie), a guinea pig, a parrot, and an aquarium full of fish.  

The Trumpet Section -


Mark Roller - Trumpet


Mark Roller began his musical career at the age of 11 playing trumpet. From there he played through grade school and garnered many awards in solo & ensemble festivals. His first major experience was playing in the "Sounds of Christmas" in an Orlando area church. Through his college years he played in all the major ensembles including Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Pep Band, Marching Band, and Orchestra. Also during this time he spent holidays at Walt Disney World as a Student Musician for 8 years. After receiving his Bachelor of Music Education from Stetson University, he moved up north to the Chicagoland area to get a Master of Music in Jazz Studies from Northern Illinois University. While at Northern, Mark learned from the great educator and Jazz Director Ron Carter where he learned how to "Swing". Mark is featured on YouTube, played Trumpet on Veggie Tales' "Lyle the Kindly Viking", has traveled Europe, and played with some of the biggest names in the Jazz world including Jimmy Heath, Wynton Marsalis, and David Steinmeyer to name a few. 

Dave Johnson- 2nd Trumpet


Dave is a retired band/choir director of 34 yrs. 

He teaches privately and plays professionally in the northern Ill. area. 

Dave is also the band's arranger.  He lives in the Byron area.


Milt Olson - 3rd Trumpet


Milt began playing the cornet in 5th grade at Compton , IL , Besides the Class Act Big Band, he plays in the Illinois Valley Symphony, The DeKalb Municipal Band and The Illinois Valley Area Groups. Milt Holds a B.A. in art form Luther College , and is self employed in the sign business. He lives in Mendota IL with Becky, his wife, and has 3 children and 7 grandchildren.


John Armstrong - Trumpet

Trombone Section -

Ron Makeever -2nd Trombonist


Ron began playing the trombone at the age of eight while a student at Ottawa Public Schools in Ottawa, IL. He studied with his grandfather during this time, after which he attended Illinois State University, graduating with a Music Education degree. In addition to playing with Class Act II, Ron also performs with several other musical ensembles in the Illinois Valley Area. In Ron's own words: "Music is the ultimate activity which can simultaneously be created, performed, shared, and enjoyed by all people of all ages."


Tom Slothower- Trombone/Vocalist


Tom devoted full-time to music after retiring from teaching. He taught himself how to play trombone and earned a chair in Class Act II Band.  Tom also sings some male vocals with the Band. He also plays drums and sings with a trio.

Tom started playing drums at the age of 8. By the time he was 14, he played drums for 3 years with a 7-piece dance band called “The Stardusters”. He enlisted in the Air Force to be a Cryptographer by day and a musician by night with The Blue Dons, a 4-piece group which emulated the Shearing Sound. Tom was head drummer in the USAF band while stationed in Tokyo , Japan . After the Korean War, Tom studied voice at Illinois Wesleyan, changed maJors and graduated with a Master' s Degree from Northern Illinois University .  Tom's day job was education but he never stopped singing.  He sang the leading role in The Pajama Game, sang the bass baritone roles in Handel's Messiah 3 times and has sung hundreds of times in religious and social events, including singing with the Sterllng, IL Municipal Band.

David Dahl- Bass Trombonist

David has has been playing the trombone for over 40 years beginning in the Waukegan Grade School Band under the direction of Bernie Steiner.  David graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy for High School.  Dave Sporny was his instructor.  

At the university level, Mr. Dahl had two instructors- Frank Crissafulli and Ed Kleinhammer, both from the Chicago Symphony.  David's additional formal music education was at Northwestern University.  He transferred into a business undergraduate education which was completed at Roosevelt University, Chicago.  David has played classical music for most of his life and with jazz music ensembles at Interlochen, Northwestern, and now Class Act Big Band II.   David enjoys playing in the Class Act II Big Band (Amboy, Illinois) starting out on the second part and moving to the Bass Trombone position in the Fall of 2005.  


Vocalists -

Angie Harrison- Vocalist

Angie is new to the band in 2006.  Before that she was very involved in musical theatre in the Sauk Valley region. She has performed in productions in Sterling , Byron, Dixon and Timberlake Playhouse.  She has been the alto soloist for Handel’s Messiah and is a performer in Seeing Stars each year, a fundraiser for Lutheran Social Services.  Angie has a Bachelors in Business Administration from Mount St Clare College in Clinton , IA. and is currently a Realtor® for Mel Foster Co in Sterling IL .  She is married and has two boys.

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