Who We Are

Who We Are

Our Faculty

Click on any faculty member name below to view their profile.

Our Faculty

Fred Capitelli

fredcapFred Capitelli is vice president of CCJS and a very active saxophonist. In addition to coordinating Jams for CCJS, he leads the INGROOV Big Band, is lead sax player with the Charlotte County Big Band and performs with the Top Hats and the Jerry White Band. A native of “Little Italy” in New York City, he studied at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Art, served 2nd Infantry in Korea and later became musical director for GI Variety Show touring Okinawa, Japan and Korea. Fred later performed in the Bob Newhart Show. Greatest ambition: “To play music at my 100th Birthday Party!”

Chris Farnum

Chris Farnum is a native of Goshen, NY (a suburb of NYC) and attended the Ontario College of Percussion in Toronto, Canada. He has performed steadily as a drummer in several bands since moving to Florida in 1995. His professional experience includes five years with the Versitones, seven years with the Cool Cats, over ten years with the Top Hats and over ten years with Ingroov.

Ed Toscano

edtoscanoEd Toscano, is a trumpet instructor and singer that specializes in Frank Sinatra. Coming from New York City, where he was the owner and operator of hair salons. Ed is the former director of the choir at Unity Church Port Charlotte. He is active in the Charlotte County Big Band, Ingroov Big Band and a member of the trio that sings at Saturday Nite Alive.Jennifer Schemeiser, is an instructor in trombone and other brass instruments. Jennifer is a Music Education graduate from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. Jennifer performed professionally and taught private lessons before returning to Kent State University for her Masters in Tenor/Alto Trombone as a performing artist. Jennifer married Peter Schmeiser and moved back to Florida. Jennifer has been an instructor in brass lessons and brass techniques to university music majors. She has been the principle trombonist with the Imperial Symphony Orchestra and performed with the Sigmund Romberg Orchestra. She has also performed with Anne Murray, Bobby Vinton, and the Sarasota Opera. Jennifer presently is a member of the North Port Concert Band, the Charlotte County Big Band, Ingroov, the Tamiami Brass Quintet and the North Port Orchestra. Jennifer and husband Peter love their home in North Port and share it with their two cats.

Phil Polson

Bio coming soon.

John Johnson – Headmaster

jjohnsonJohn Johnson is a CCJS Director serving committees on Communications, Scholarship & Education, Jazz Jams, and Long Range Planning. For 42 years he taught high school bands in Illinois and California, retiring in 2004. In 2006 he founded the Charlotte County Big Band and for five years directed the Charlotte County Concert Band. Presently he plays string bass in the INGROOV Big Band and in the North Port Symphony. John also plays tuba in the North Port Concert Band and in The Stein Swingers German Band.

Mike Parmelee

Mike Parmelee has been a member of CCJS since its founding in 1990 and has served as talent coordinator ever since, being responsible for securing bands for our concerts. Mike teaches music privately and performs on saxophone and piano with a variety of groups around south Florida. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he majored in music at Florida State and North Texas State University. After college he performed with touring big bands under direction of Les Elgart and Buddy Morrow before settling down in Virginia. During the 1980s Mike worked as staff musician at several resort hotels including the Greenbriar in West Virginia, the Homestead in Virginia and the Naples Ritz-Carlton. He moved to Florida permanently in 1989.

Stephen Hudson

Bio coming soon.

Shawn Marren

Bio coming soon.

Bobby Ryan

Bio coming soon.

Our Board of Directors

Aaron Lucas

Click on any board of director member name below to view their profile.

Board of Directors

Buz Terry (Ennis Bisbano, PhD) – Chairman

buzzBuz Terry (Ennis Bisbano, PH.D) serves as Chairman Of the Board of Directors of Hope Academy. He is Superintendent of School Emeritus of the Bristol, R.I. Public Schools, having retired in 1987. An accomplished trumpet player since age 9, he has performed with dozens of bands and artists from the music field i.e. Sarah Vaughan, Billie Eckstein, Della Reese, Carmen Mc Rae, Al Martino, Johnny Nash, Jerry Vale, Frankie Lane, Al Martino, the Four Lads, the Maguire Sisters, Rodney Dangerfield, Gerry Mulligan, Buddy Rich, George Shearing, Terry Gibbs and so many more. He led the Buz Terry Orchestra, a prominent New England band from the mid 1950’s to the mid 1970’s. He presently performs with the Ingroov Big Band and the Charlotte County Big Band as well as his own Jazz Quartet.

Gerald Wilkins

geraldGerald Wilkins is President of CCJS, having formerly served for six years as Chairman of the Scholarships Committee. An avid jazz enthusiast, he formerly played trumpet (began in 4th grade at Rossville, Indiana…still has that original trumpet from the 1930s though it’s “retired” because Gerald’s lip “gave out”). While at Purdue University he joined the Men’s Varsity Glee Club singing 1st Tenor; performed on the Ed Sullivan Show and internationally with Bob Hope. He began his career in trade publishing, later conducted marketing management & sales training seminars across the U.S. before moving his family to Florida where he launched a financial services business, then expanded into real estate marketing in which he is active, along with marketing health and wellness products.

Fred Capitelli

fredcapFred Capitelli is vice president of CCJS and a very active saxophonist. In addition to coordinating Jams for CCJS, he leads the INGROOV Big Band, is lead sax player with the Charlotte County Big Band and performs with the Top Hats and the Jerry White Band. A native of “Little Italy” in New York City, he studied at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Art, served 2nd Infantry in Korea and later became musical director for GI Variety Show touring Okinawa, Japan and Korea. Fred later performed in the Bob Newhart Show. Greatest ambition: “To play music at my 100th Birthday Party!”

Lynda Platt

A native of Kentucky, Lynda has moved to or traveled in 45 states and 23 foreign countries. Move #40 to Punta Gorda is the last! Lynda is a graduate of Bethany College (WV) with a degree in Elementary Education. In addition to teaching, her professional career includes experience in business administration, commercial banking, retail, events production and radio broadcast. While living in Cleveland, Ohio, she served as Director of Kidsacks which made and distributed over 6,000 sleeping bags to homeless children. Other non-profit associations include board positions with The Lydia Project, Relay for Life, Celebration of Character, Cedar Creek Ladies’ Club, Aiken Women’s Heart Board and founding member of the Aiken Jazz Society (Aiken, SC). She also served as publicist, photographer, wardrobe coordinator and house manager for South Boundary, a men’s a cappella chorus in which her husband sang. Since taking up residence in Florida, Lynda has also been elected to the board of the Hope Academy of Music. She is thrilled to serve with the Charlotte County Jazz Society in helping to promote this music genre throughout the community.

James Howarth

Born in Rochester, N.Y., Jim graduated from West High School in 1956. At the age of 17 he joined the U.S Army reserves and served for 10 years. Jim worked for his father’s Building Company as equipment operator and office assistant until the Company opened a party house and Golf course west of Rochester N.Y. He managed the party house for 8 years. Jim was appointed building inspector and tax assessor at 29 years old, and served the town of Ogden, N.Y. for 10 years. During that time he was elected President and appointed Executive Secretary for the N.Y. State Assessors Association, serving 10 years. He was hired as General Manager for Earthborn Builders, eventually owning the company along with Howarth Builders, a sister company. Jim developed lots and built homes for 20 years. Small commercial construction and Condo projects were part of the companies’ activities. Jim has lived in Punta Gorda for 14 years, is retired and enjoying Florida and activities like the Charlotte County Jazz Society. He is on the board of directors for Hope Academy of Music, and also serves as a director on committees for the Charlotte County Jazz Society.

Charlotte Quinn

Bio coming soon.

John Johnson (Secretary)

John Johnson is a CCJS Director serving on the Scholarships and Long Range Planning committees. John is also responsible for handling the CCJS FaceBook page, and for maintaining contact with our website and webmaster Jeff Powers. For 42 years he taught high school bands in Illinois and California, retiring in 2004. In 2006 he founded the Charlotte County Big Band and for five years directed the Charlotte County Concert Band. Presently he plays string bass in the INGROOV Big Band and in the North Port Symphony. John also plays tuba in the North Port Concert Band and The Stein Swingers German Band.

Honorary Directors

Honorary Directors

Ramon Gill, MD

Doctor of neurology.

Ellen Harvey

ellenCurriculum Specialist for Fine Arts, World Languages, Health and PE Charlotte County Public Schools

I have been teaching since 1989 with 22 years in Charlotte County. My educational background includes a BFA in painting and a Masters in Art Education. I have taught all levels of students from Kindergarten through college and believe in educating the whole child.

My current job as Curriculum Specialist for several content areas is especially satisfying. I work with 20 schools and the community. I coordinate professional development, write grants, develop programs and work with teachers to fulfill their needs.

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