Our Ensemble

Founder and Artistic Director, Randy Lee

Mr. Randy Lee is the founder and an often featured woodwind soloist of the Big Time Jazz Orchestra. He teaches at Hermantown Middle School and earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education, with a minor in Jazz Studies, from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Randy holds his Master of Science degree in Education-Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Superior and serves as adjunct faculty at UMD.

As an active saxophone clinician and professional musician, Randy has performed with the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra, the Lake Superior Saxophone Quartet, Twin Ports Wind Ensemble/Orchestra, and the Itasca Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with the Guy Lombardo Orchestra (Al Pierson and the Royal Canadians), the Russ Morgan Orchestra, the Harry James Orchestra, and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. In 2003, Randy performed in a sax ensemble for the World Saxophone Congress. His professional bands and other associations have found him accompanying the Mills Brothers, Wayne Newton, Steve Lippia, the Drifters, Bobby Vinton, Johnny Mathis and Marvin Hamlisch and such jazz notables as Bobby Shew, Rufus Reid, Lee Konitz, Bob Brookmeyer, Paul McKee, Tom Matta, Randy Brecker, Bob Baca, and Rick DellaRatta (Jazz for Peace).

Randy has presented saxophone and jazz clinic sessions at national ASBDA (American School Band Directors’ Association) conventions and has performed with jazz literature groups at Minnesota Music Educators Conventions. He has judged the Iowa High School Jazz Championships, was sax section coach for the Minnesota All-State Band and has worked with all three Duluth-Superior area college jazz bands.  Randy has directed regional high school honor jazz bands and other regional Wisconsin and Minnesota jazz events. He has also served as a Regional Rep for the former IAJE (International Association of Jazz Educators). Mr. Lee was awarded Minnesota Music Educator of the Year in 2017.

Our Orchestra Members

Bob Boman

Bob holds a Bachelor Degree in Music Education, trumpet performance and Minor in Jazz Studies. He performed for four years in the Air Force band program which included playing with the USAFA Falconaires.  Dr. Boman is a primary care internal medicine physician in the VA.

Bradley Bombardier

Brad received his Bachelor of Music in Bassoon and Saxophone performance from UWS and his Master of Music as a woodwind specialist from Bowling Green State University.  He is a bassoonist of the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra and the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra.  Currently, Brad is on the UMD faculty teaching woodwinds and is also a published composer.

Charlie Leibfried

Charlie holds a music degree from UMD and his M.M. Ed from VanderCook College of Music.  He was a band director and administrator for  32 years in Duluth, MN.  He plays trumpet in the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra and the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, and College of St Scholastica Early Music Orchestra.  He was one the first band members of BTJO.

Chet Johnson

Chet holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and a Masters in Education from UMD.  He is currently the fifth, sixth and seventh-grade band director in Hibbing, MN.  As a freelance musician, Chet has performed with Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra, The Guy Lombardo Orchestra, Sentimental Journey, Steve Lippia, and Bobby Vinton.

Cory Coffman

Cory graduated from the University of Wisconsin Superior with a performance degree in percussion. He is actively involved in the music scene around the Twin Ports, whether it’s performing with the DSSO, local musical theater companies, local singer/songwriter, or playing with the with the indie-pop group, “Red Mountain.”

Darin Bergsven

Darin earned his B.A. in Music Education from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Darin performs with Tangier 57, jazz duo Perfectini, the North Shore Big Band, as well as solo guitar at Blacklist Ale, Pizza Luce, and other establishments. When he’s not playing a gig or teaching at the Music Resource Center, he teaches elementary music in the Superior School District.

David Haaversen

David is the Director of Bands at Two Harbors High School.  He is an active trumpet performer in the region with Northland Brass Quintet, BTJO, and Randy Lee Jazz Orchestra. He plays in the Two Harbors City Band as well as local churches and community events.

Derek Bromme

Derek teaches trombone and euphonium at the University of MN Duluth and earned his Masters and Doctorate at Indiana University and the University of Minnesota. He has also toured with musician Lorie Line playing trombone, bass trombone, and tuba.

Greg Kehl Moore

Dr. Moore is an assistant professor of music at UWS. Greg received his Masters of Music from the University of Cincinnati and his Doctor of Music Arts from the University of Texas. He is active as both a performer and composer. His compositions have been performed by the Duluth Superior Symphony, University of Texas Jazz Orchestra, Cincinnati Jazz Ensemble, and the World Saxophone Symposium.

Joe Kasparek

Joe holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Eau Claire, WI and a Masters of Education from UWS.  He is the Director of Bands at Superior High School.  He is an active performer in the Twin Ports area with the BTJO, Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, Big Woods Big Band, and the Twin Ports Wind Orchestra.

John Cox

John is a superintendent at Verso Paper in Duluth. In his spare time, he enjoys playing bass in many musical productions at the Duluth Playhouse, St Scholastica, Renegade and the Playground, as well as the lead trombone in the North Shore Big Band. When not performing, he is fishing on Island Lake with his faithful dog, Forte.

Jon Dallas

John teaches English at Hibbing Community College and played with Urbie Green, Dizzy Gillespie, The Four Tops, The Temptations, and the big bands of Harry James and Jimmy Dorsey. In NY, he was a featured soloist with the All-Star Big Band for many years and was the trombonist for the Lakeside Brass Quintet.

Kurt Hegle

Kurt Hegle is a 1994 graduate of the University of Minnesota at Duluth. He has performed with many artists and groups over the years. After 22 years in bowling management, Kurt has become a private business owner. With 30+ years (and continuing) of playing his trombones, any "extra" time is spent enjoying life with family.

Randy Lee

Randy received his Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education with a minor in Jazz Studies from the UMD and a Master in Education-Instruction from the UWS.  He teaches instrumental music Hermantown MN, Artistic Director of Big Time Jazz Orchestra  and is a frequent adjunct staff at UMD.

Rich Mowers

Rich holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from UWS and teaches instrumental music in Esko, MN.  Rich was chosen as the “Distinguished Young Band Director of the Year,” for 1999 by the state chapter of the American School Band Directors’ Association.  Rich is also a freelance musician in a variety of groups in the Twin Ports.

Ryan Frane

Ryan is the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth where he oversees the Jazz Studies program. Ryan also coordinates the annual Head of the Lakes Jazz Festival at UMD drawing internationally known artists and high schools bands from throughout the state. He plays piano for BTJO as well as other musical groups in the Twin Ports.

Sondra Mowers

Sondra holds a Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees in Flute Performance and Education from UMD with Training in Conducting and Jazz emphases from the Eastman School Music.  She is currently band director at Superior Middle School in Superior, WI.  Sondra performs in several Twin Ports groups such as the Twin Ports Wind Orchestra, the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, and the North Wind Flute Choir.

Tim Stratioti

Tim attended UMD and UWS completing his studies in 1984. As the outstanding trombonist at the 1984 Eau Claire Jazz Festival, Tim was awarded a summer scholarship to Eastman School of Music. He has also been featured with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra and worked as adjunct faculty at UMD, UWS and the College of St Scholastica. Tim is currently a freelance musician, adjudicator, and educator and was one of the original BTJO band members.

Vincent Osborn

Vince earned a BA in Behavioral Arts and Sciences and a BA in Music from the College of St. Scholastica. He was also a member of the US Air Force Band at Offutt AFB, Nebraska. He is presently bassist of the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, and the Center for Early Music Orchestra at the College of St Scholastica.

The Board

The Big Time Jazz Orchestra is a 501(c)(3) organization composed of community members who give their time and talents to help further the mission of BTJO.  The board meets a minimum of four times a year with the addition of sub-committees that develop educational and performance experiences for the area.  At the present time, the board is composed of the following community members: Brad Bombardier, Peter Brown, Catherine Caine, Tina Farrel, Ryan Frane, Dick Heim, Randy Lee (Artistic Director), Connie Moeller, Greg Kehl Moore, Cheryl Wasmund, and Matt Wasmund.