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Grace has been singing for audiences (even if it was just her own family in the living room) since 1st grade. She performed in a competitive vocal jazz group and in musical theater productions throughout high school and college. Her favorite role was the White Witch from Narnia because it allowed her to express her inner Bee-otch. Grace has been performing in rock bands for the past 13 years and made a CD, "Endgame," with an original hard-rock band called FOIL in the late nineties. ESSEX was the one that stuck, though, and has been her musical home for over 6 years, making her the longest-standing member of the current group. Her claim to fame in the group is her ability to imitate the various artists and genres that ESSEX performs from Joan Jett to Will I Am with the fidelity that you would expect from a tribute performer.

Barbara began performing at the age of 7 in her hometown of Pittsburgh, Pa. Sheís been onstage since performing in traveling choirs and musicals throughout high school in Southern California. Barbaraís favorite memory was playing Princess Winifred the Woebegone in Once Upon a Mattress, a role originally played by Carol Burnett on Broadway. Barbara moved to Northern California in 1997 to attend college. She currently holds a Masterís Degree in Social Work and hopes to begin a Ph.D. program within the next several years. Barbara has a love of jazz and soulful ballads but will sing just about anything if the mood strikes. She's had the opportunity to "try on" many other bands but feels sheís found a band family with ESSEX. Barbara cites the bandís friendships offstage and their individual talent as the basis for ESSEXís cohesiveness onstage.

Aaron was born a long time ago in a place far, far away... called Kansa City, Mo.  But he moved to Southern California as soon as he was able.  He grew up singing Cameo, Earth Wind and Fire and Prince because he innately knew that it takes a real man to sing like a woman.  He studied at music Theory and Education at Azusa Pacific University.  Aaron has played keyboards and bass and sung in various bands, churches, arenas and studios across the US, The Bahamas, Mexico and Japan. He loves virtually every genre of music but home is a genre he likes to call Rockspeljazzenbee. (His own brand of Rock, Gospel, Jazz and R&B.) His five favorite male vocalists are Fred Hammond, BeBe and Marvin Winans, Richard Page and Michael McDonald. Aaron claims there are only three songs: Fast, slow and medium...the rest is all arrangement.

Don has been playing guitar for nearly 25 years working as a steady musician for the last 15. After hearing the likes of Hendrix, Zeppelin, AC/DC, and Pink Floyd he knew right away that the guitar and music would play a very important roll in his life. He gained his performance experience playing on the cover band circuits in the South Bay Area and gained studio and recording experience by writing and recording a full length album entitled, Better Late Than Never. He is just as happy jamming with people and having inspired creativity as well as playing those good olí cover tunes that seem to hold time for some people. Having played with many musicians Don feels fortunate to be playing with such wonderful people and talent that make up ESSEX.

 

Krista was born and raised in the small town of Sonora, CA. She began
playing piano when she was 8 years old, and has been performing in
various bands of all genres since the age of 15. In high school, she
played piano for jazz band and jazz choir, and also served as drum
major for the marching band. During the past five years, she has been
a regular performer with the Columbia College "Kicks" Big Band, rock
and soul band Chains Required, jazz quintet Rod Harris & Company, and
also as a solo singer/songwriter. Krista is a recent
graduate of Sacramento State University, where she completed her B.M.
in Jazz Studies, and is currently working toward her M.M. in Jazz
Studies at CSUS.

 

John Gonzales is the newest addition to Essex. Originally from Wyoming, he moved to California in 1988 to pursue a career in music. His father was a professional musician for many years so John grew up around music. John started playing in his dadís Mexican/county rock/50ís rock band when he was 12. In school he played in the jazz band and received Outstanding Drum Solo awards at the Wyoming Jazz Festival 1985-1987 and graduated with the prestigious Louis B. Armstrong Jazz Memorial award.

 

Honorable Mention
Bill  Bill
Our Sound & Lighting Wizard/Bartender/Comic Relief
We don't leave home without him!
  Stu
Our super duper fill-in keyboard player. One of the best around!
 mitch

Mitch
Past member
Percussionist extraordinaire
Mitch still graces us with his presence behind the kit every once in a while.   

 

ESSEX 2017