Big Band Jazz Comes to Camp Verde for Almost New Year’s Eve

The Phillip England Center for the Performing Arts Foundation has announced that the annual Almost New Years’ Eve Big Band Jazz Concert will take place on Saturday, December 28 at 7:00 pm at the Phillip England Center for the Performing Arts in Camp Verde.

Back by popular demand after their performance during the Valentine’s Day Concert will be the Uptown Big Band. The Uptown Big Band is a 14-piece vintage jazz orchestra that plays standards from the WWII Era, swing music from around the world and music from the Roaring 20s to the present day. Two talented vocalists help the band lights up the evening with rhythm and pizzazz. The band musical influences include Michael Buble, Ella Fitzgerald, Natalie Cole, Diana Krall, Harry Connick, Jr., Frank Sinatra and Norah Jones. The Uptown Big Band has played at the Wrigley Mansion, the Arizona Biltmore, the Scottsdale Fairmont Princess, the Phoenix Ritz Carlton, Phoenix and Scottsdale Hyatt Regency, Tucson’s La Paloma and the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort. The band has many very talented musician including Mike Vax on trumpet, Steve McAllister on trombone, and KJZZ radio host and saxophonist Lloyd Whitty

Mike Vax is a Summit Records recording artist. He has played lead and solo trumpet with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, the Clark Terry Big Bad Band, and the U.S. Navy Show Band. Mike has also performed and/or recorded with such greats as Art Pepper, Gene Krupa, Cab Calloway, Louie Bellson, Joe Williams, the Four Freshmen, The Glenn Miller, Harry James, and Jimmy Dorsey Orchestras. He has appeared as guest lead trumpet and soloist with symphony pops orchestras around the United States, and in Europe, as well as the All-American Collegiate Orchestra at Disneyworld. He has toured extensively in Europe, Scandinavia, South America and Japan. As a recording musician, he has performed on more than 75 albums, including 20 under his own name.

Steve McAllister on trombone began his musical training at age three on an alto trombone. Training came from Bob McAllister, his father and veteran trombonist in the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra. Mr. McAllister is a second generation music educator from kinder through university level music education courses at Arizona State University and Mesa Community College. As a professional trombonist, Mr. McAllister has performed music throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, and South America. Mr. McAllister is in demand as a professional trombonist and has performed with groups including the “Phoenix Symphony Orchestra” to the world famous “Harry James Orchestra” – and has backed up singers such as Reba McEntire, Jackie Evancho, Michael Buble, and Clay Aiken – to name only a few.

Lloyd Whitty

Freelance saxophonist Lloyd Whitty stops by radio station KJZZ (Phoenix) for the K-Jazz program to talk about sax and big bands and to play some of his favorites. In 2007, Musician 3rd Class Lloyd Whitty played the saxophone during a joint concert with the Malaysian Navy at the closing ceremony for the Malaysian phase of exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), an annual series of bilateral maritime training exercises between the United States and six Southeast Asia nations designed to build relationships and enhance the operational readiness of the participating forces.

Lead vocalists will be Joy and Quin Gardner. Joy was born and raised in Gainesville, Florida. She received a scholarship in the Music Dance Theater Program at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah. Following graduation, Joy was asked to join the Music faculty at BYU, teaching contemporary musical theater singing. She has also taught in the Musical Theater Department at the University of Florida, and Mesa Community College, and as the Drama Director at Heritage Academy High School. Joy was signed as a lead singer for Holland America Cruise Lines. Joy is accompanied by husband Quin. Quin grew up in Mesa, Arizona. He later earned Bachelor and Master degrees at Brigham Young University, followed by a Doctorate in Medical Dentistry degree from the University of Florida.

The Phillip England Center for the Performing Arts Foundation is a nonprofit performing arts organization. Its mission is to support the Phillip England Center for the Performing Arts in presenting a rich array of culturally diverse arts programming for the Town of Camp Verde and North Central Arizona in order to educate, enlighten, enrich and entertain students, residents and patrons of all ages, while providing leadership and support to advance cultural/performing arts and nourish appreciation for various art forms in the community. For additional information on the Foundation and to purchase tickets, visit their website at or by email at