Founder of the Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra. Music educator - Trombone - Rapper / New Millennium Jazz Orchestra. Passionate about Funk - Hip Hop

Aaron King – Trombone / Vocals – Founder

Aaron King – Trombone / Vocals – Founder of the Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra

Aaron King is the founder of the Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra.  King has his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, and his Master of Arts in Wind Conducting from Middle Tennessee State University.  King is a also a long-time member of the New Millennium Jazz Orchestra.  King has performed and recorded with numerous Grammy Award winners and world-renowned musicians.  King has inspired and educated youth from all walks of life throughout the state of Indiana.  King is extremely passionate about writing and performing in the genres of Funk and Hip Hop with the Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra.

Tony Didier – Lead Vocals

Tony Didier – Lead Vocals

Fort Wayne native Tony Didier has been entertaining audiences since a young age. He is most noted in the area arts scene for his success as an award winning actor/singer. Tony spends his days teaching ballroom and Latin dance and competes professionally on the national stage in American Rhythm with his wife, Danel. He has made numerous appearances as a guest vocalist, actor and dancer with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and was the opening performer for Boots Randolph in 2006. He can be seen around town entertaining as a solo acoustic performer, but finds his greatest pleasure fronting the Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra. He is most inspired by artists such as Michael Jackson, Prince, Earth Wind & Fire and Tower of Power.

Miguel Burney, Progressive Metal, Bossa Nova, Jazz Fusion, R&B and Classical music. Some of his musical aspirations are; Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Guthrie Govan, Stan Getz, Marisa Monte, Tom Quayle and John Petrucci (Dream Theater - Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra and teaches guitar lessons.

Miguel Burney – Guitar

Miguel Burney – Guitar

Miguel graduated from South Side high school class of 2015. He picked up guitar April of 2010 and took lessons under Taras Fossett for 3 years. During these years he has earned musical wisdom from mentors such as; his former teacher ( Taras Fossett), Jim Widmer, Frank Acosta, Micah Roddy, Dave Latchaw and Chandler Cashdollar. His musical interests range from Progressive Metal, Bossa Nova, Jazz Fusion, R&B and Classical music. Some of his musical aspirations are; Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Guthrie Govan, Stan Getz, Marisa Monte, Tom Quayle and John Petrucci (Dream Theater). Miguel now plays with the Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra and teaches guitar lessons.

Drake Bates - Bass

Drake Bates – Bass

Drake Bates – Bass

Chris “Drake”  Bates is a young man, always striving to be better at all things, including music of course, but also mentally and spiritually. Compliments are good from others but he remains humble as it is better to let the people speak good about ones self to keep any arrogance away. It seems, he has gained respect amongst band members as a musician/bassist and from respected musicians such as Dave Latchaw. Music to Drake, is like medical drugs. Once in the groove, the clouds aren’t high enough for him. Everything is an influence for music, as he thinks there are notes and beats with everything, such as a washer machine, or ting of a beer bottle. Drake started playing drums at 5, keyboard at 12, and bass at 18, with plans to pick up another instrument soon. So far, this band, because of the originality, has made Drake feel apart of something special that he can make his mark in.”The originality is what’s keeping me with this band”, says Drake.

jamont simmons - drums - fort wayne funk orchestra

Jamont Simmons – Drums

Jamont Simmons – Drums

Jamont Simmons, 27 years old, has been playing percussion for 24 years.  Jamont is the drummer for The Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra.  Jamont recently qualified for the semi-finals of the Guitar Center Drum Battle and is a member of the Battle of the Bands XI Champion Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra.

Dave Latchaw - Keyboards / Piano - Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra

Dave Latchaw – Piano – Keyboards – Vocoder

Dave Latchaw – Piano – Keyboards – Vocoder

I am Dave Latchaw and I play Keyboards, Piano and Vocoder for the Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra. As a musician I spend most of my time as an independent recording artist, performer, music teacher, student, and fan of the fusing of jazz, rock, funk, hip hop, world, and classical music. I have been playing professionally for over 35 years and teaching for over 30 years. I also have a degree in Music Education from Indiana University, and studied Jazz Performance at Berklee School of Music. I studied music education with Indiana band directors Pete Bottomley, Barry Ashton and Donna Sevcovic. I also had the opportunity to study many other aspects of music with Scott Stroman (Director of the London Jazz Orchestra), Bruce Thomas (Chet Baker, Ornette Coleman). In the 1980's I was the keyboardist for the internationally acclaimed melodic-metal hair band from Scotland, "The Heat". "The Heat" received many praises from European rock magazines "Kerrang", "Metal Hammer" and "Raw", and in 1989 recorded for the BBC, Radio 1. I have had the great privilege to have performed with Polish musicians Krzysztof Kralka and Krzysztof Misiak, and the vocal group "Anima" from Belarus. Since 1998 I have released seven solo recordings through "Latch Music" ( Currently unavailable soon to be re-released ) and produce the popular Jazz Fusion internet radio station "Latch Music Radio" @LIVE365. In July 2012 and 2014 I taught and performed at the Rockowe Ogrdki Music Festival in Plock, Poland. Currently, besides freelance solo piano and group work you can catch me leading my own Jazz trio, quartet and playing keyboards for the “2014 Battle of the Bands” winners “Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra”. Check out all of Dave's music activities @ www.latchmusic.com.

Jason Westerman – Trumpet

Jason Westerman – Trumpet – Webmaster

Trumpeter Jason Westerman has been making music for nearly 2 decades. During this time, he has won many awards and has had the pleasure of performing with multiple Grammy award winning and world-renowned musicians including Ernie Watts, Michael Davis, and Dennis DiBlasio. Jason is also a long time member of the New Millenium Jazz Orchestra. He credits his skills to his families' long ties to music, as well as his 2 favorite music instructors, Kevin Drew & Ed King II. Jason is the proud father of daughters Sophie & Chloe, and has been married to his wife Amber since 2010, together since they met in high school in 2003. He loves playing for a crowd and finds his greatest thrill in music playing with the Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra.