GARY SHAVER ("Blade" - Band Leader, Alto Sax, Clarinet, Flute, Vocals, Keyboard) -A proud native Virginian, Gary has been leading bands for over 30 years, including the 17th Street Band, Razor's Edge, and SPECTRUM. He earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he performed in Jazz Orchestra I. That group received a DOWNBEAT Jazz Magazine Student Recording Award for its album “The Tattooed Bride”. The title cut, a Duke Ellington masterpiece, was performed by VCU at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival. Gary received an Outstanding Soloist Award from the festival judges for his clarinet performance featured in “Bride”!
Gary spent five years with the Sinatra-styled “Jack Diamond and Friends”, and has backed up visiting musical legends such as Sarah Vaughn, The Shirelles, The Four Tops, The Drifters, and Archie Bell. After winning the grand prize twice from the Virginia Organization of Composers and Lyricists (VOCAL) songwriting contest, he joined the group and served two terms as president. Gary is the primary music arranger for SPECTRUM and composed all the songs on the band’s debut album “Play the Game”.
In 2009, Gary was asked to assume musical directorship duties for the long-time Richmond big band The Continentals, in which he plays sax and clarinet. This 17-piece outfit is well loved by metro area swing music fans and presents several public concerts each year.
Gary is a life member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America and is chairman of the Richmond, VA area alumni group. Hail Sinfonia! He returned to public education in recent years and is presently employed by Chesterfield County Schools.
ALLEN COLE, JR (Tenor & Soprano saxes, Clarinet, Flute) - Allen is a Richmond native who attended VCU and participated in its Jazz Orchestra I with a number of other Spectrum members. He began his career as a house musician at the Tides Inn with the Ginni Carr Quartet, and was a long-time member of Uptown, Jack Diamond & Friends, and now Spectrum. Freelance work has included the Richmond Symphony, the Continentals, Dixieland Strutters, Baby Huey & the Babysitters, and numerous theatre pit orchestras for the Haymarket, Swift Creek Mill, Theatre IV and Theatre Virginia. Vinyl credits include recordings with M.P. Cronin, Jim Westlyn and Steve Bassett. In 1999, he toured the US and Europe with the Musical "Blackbirds of Broadway", and is on the teaching staffs of Jacobs Music and Boykin's Music.
LOUIS MILLHOUSE (Trumpet) - Louie is a native of Virginia Beach. As a young child, he had the opportunity to hear a variety of musical styles in his home, from big band music to Motown, depending on whether his siblings or parents got to the family’s stereo first. He moved to the Richmond area in 1974 and played trumpet in the Thomas Dale High School band where he befriended a young clarinetist named Gary Shaver, the future leader of Spectrum. He majored in music education at VCU, during which time he played in several Richmond-area bands including Paradox and Uptown. Louie taught band in Spotsylvania County for 11 years while earning a masters degree and doctorate in Educational Administration. He is currently an administrator in the Chesterfield County Public Schools. He has two children, Nancy and David, both of whom are very talented and active young musicians.
TOM ANDERSON (Trombone) - Tom did a 10-year stint in Spectrum from 1990 until 2000. He rejoined the group in 2010. After graduating with a music education degree from VCU, Tom embarked on a career playing in Richmond nightspots with well-known groups such as Fingal’s Cave and Willie T and Chess. As a professional sideman, he has performed in concert with The Richmond Symphony, Sarah Vaughn, The Temptations/Four Tops Review, The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, The Les Elgart Orchestra, Holiday on Ice, and The Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus.
A public school music teacher for over 34 years, Tom was named Henrico County Music Educator of the year in 2004. Now retired, he stays busy teaching brass lessons, performing, and composing original music, including writing special arrangements for Spectrum.
MARILYN MILLER (Vocals) - Marilyn Brown is a native of the City of Virginia Beach, but now calls Richmond home, where she lives with her husband, Stephen, and daughter, Claire. Her performing experience includes many years as a singer and dancer in a multitude of shows at Kings Dominion. She has sung with several bands in the Richmond area, but has been with Spectrum for fifteen years, by far the longest stint of any female vocalist in the band’s history (something she is quite proud of!) After graduating from Mary Washington College (it was not a University then!), she served as the Assistant Director and Choreographer for the MWC Show Choir for ten years. Marilyn has a B.A. and M.S.W. from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has an intense day job and counts herself so fortunate to be able to sing with such a talented group of musicians.
GARY BARBER HALLIDAY (KEYBOARDS) - When he first climbed aboard the Spectrum stage in 1991, he was known as Gary Barber. But after marrying the beautiful Winifred, Gary was persuaded to change his surname. Ah…the things we do for love!
As his formerly named self, Gary was at the VCU School of Music, studying alongside many in the current Spectrum lineup. He also gave the bandleader a hand, playing piano accompaniment for a senior recital billed as "Gary Shaver and Gary Barber"!
While going for a Master's degree in piano, Gary took a programming class and was immediately hooked into a career as a software developer. Soon after the PC was born, he teamed up with some VCU music faculty and had a 20 year run developing two successful commercial programs, "MusicPrinter Plus", one of the first musical score editors, and "Music Lab", a music skills trainer.
Along with the computing career, Gary remained active in the local music scenes of both Richmond and Phoenix, AZ., where he lived during the late 1990's. Upon returning to Virginia, he rejoined Spectrum for a brief stint in 1999 and again from 2001-2003, then took a break to start a family. As of October 2007, he's back in familiar territory, holding down Spectrum's piano chair.
Gary's day job (which he has been advised to not quit) is at his alma mater, VCU, where he writes web applications that are used by faculty and students throughout the university.
Cliff Burnett (Guitar) - After living in California, France & several other places where his Air Force father was stationed, Cliff arrived in Washington, D.C. just in time to experience the “British Invasion”. He attended live concerts by The Animals, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds and The Who, and was also in the crowd for the Beatles big show at RFK Stadium in 1964!
After making All State Band as a high school trumpeter, Cliff played in horn sections with The Gents & The Spaniels, (remember their hit song “Goodnight, Sweetheart”?) doing shows in D.C., Philadelphia and NYC. After playing with future Sea Level guitarist, Jimmy Nalls in the D.C. band Penny Arcade, Cliff switched over to electric guitar and took his talents up to the Jersey Shore in the summer of 1971. He moved to Richmond in 1972 and hit the road with several area bands. After travelling, he played with well-known Richmond groups Crimson, First Class and Frisco. In 1980, he and vocalist Ben Greenbaum formed Baby Huey & the Babysitters, a very popular and successful R&B band. Cliff played guitar and sang with Baby Huey for close to 10 years.
After a sabbatical from the "business" to raise his daughter, he hooked up with Spectrum in 2010. Cliff enjoys blending his rock AND soul talents with the band! You may catch him “sitting in” with any number of local acts on his off nights. He has been called "the soul" of Shady Grove UMC because of his years of working with their music ministries. Cliff says that he's having more fun than ever making music these days!
DAN WHEELER (Bass) - Dan has been holding down the bottom end of Spectrum's sound since late 1999. He began his musical career at age 6, studying classical and pop piano for 9 years before he discovered the magic of the electric bass in mid-adolescence. His first love is classic and progressive rock. Dan was heavily influenced by the top bands of the late 60's / early 70's, such as Grand Funk Railroad, Deep Purple, Cream, Jethro Tull, The Who, The Beatles, Yes, and all the great bass players that populated those bands and others like them. Over the years Dan has played in numerous bands, worship teams, and variety show orchestras, performing many different kinds of music. Spectrum has challenged him to expand his horizons dramatically, as he lacked exposure to jazz, aside from some 70's Fusion albums. He now considers himself a rock player with jazz sensibilities, which is a good fit for this band. Spectrum can swing AND rock with confidence and authenticity.
Dan married the love of his life, Kim, on March 30, 2014. He has two daughters, Jessi and Lindsey by his first marriage, a stepson, John, one grandson, Levi, and three very spoiled cats - Murphy, Zippy, and Shadow. In addition to music, his other loves are things that make lots of noise and smoke: trains, rockets, guns, and the like! Other influences that have forever warped his personality include Monty Python, Mad Magazine, Richard Pryor, and Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.
Forrest Young (Drums) - A talented artist as well as a musician, Forrest started playing drums at age 13. His first performance was in a junior high talent show with a band that covered the Led Zeppelin rock classic “Stairway to Heaven”! Over the years he has performed with more groups than you can shake a (drum) stick at! Forrest has held a particular interest in drumming for live movement, accompanying The Richmond Ballet, The Modern Dance Department at Virginia Commonwealth University and Theatre Virginia.
While studying jazz performance at VCU, Forrest became known as “The Emergency Drummer” and has stepped in to the drum chair for such diverse groups as First Impressions, The Butterbean Jazz Quartet, The D.J. Williams Projekt, Beast Wellington, The Central Virginia Jazz Orchestra, and the John Winn-tet, just to name a few!
He officially joined Spectrum in 2002, finding a kindred spirit with its members. After relocating to Lynchburg and then Northern Virginia for a time, Forrest returned to Spectrum in April 2011, and is happy to be reunited with his friends once again! You can read more about Forrest by visiting: www.TheEmergencyDrummer.com.
John Ellis (Sound) - John Ellis is a performer and songwriter in the Richmond, Virginia area. In addition to being a guitarist he is also a videographer and photographer. John studied music in middle school and high school. Between school lessons and his personal time, he has played guitar, trumpet, french horn, percussion and bass guitar. He continues to write and record when he's not running sound for Spectrum.