Gateway City Big Band

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Gene FribisKEVIN SCHRIEWER
Piano

Piano/keyboard player Kevin Schriewer (pronounced Shreever) was born and reared in the German community of Hermann, Missouri. He began classical piano lessons at age five and branched out from there playing trumpet in the high school band. He also sang and tap danced in the school musical productions.

Performing was a big part of his younger years. As early as age 13 he was playing with the Moonlight Serenaders of Foristell, Missouri, followed by the B. A. Wagner Band and the Sonny Leftholtz Band. Though these bands were generally dance bands, young Kevin enjoyed playing rock and roll also.

Kevin went to St. Louis University on a golf scholarship. Before he graduated the program was cut and he went to work for Chrysler. After two years he enrolled in the Rolla School of Mines (now Missouri University of Science and Technology) and acquired a Master's degree in Ceramic Engineering.

After high school, Kevin "kind of quit music." He married Debbie and they had two daughters. He traveled worldwide with his job and has lived in Texas, Ohio and Taiwan.

In 1997 Kevin began subbing for dance bands in the St. Louis area, including the Gateway City Big Band. By November, 2001 he had become a full time member of the GCBB.

Kevin loves to play jazz and considers Art Tatum one of his favorite jazz pianists. Although he has played and performed most of his life, he feels he is still learning. "You have to train your ear to play jazz," he explained. His dedication and sense of humor have been enjoyed by the entire band.  He may be still learning but he's having a good time in the process.


John ChrumaJOHN CHRUMA
Guitar

As is often the case with the Gateway City Big Band, John Chruma became a member through the attention of a current band member. Kevin Schriewer, piano, invited him to rehearsals to play bass as a substitute. Also, he was encouraged to play guitar in order to learn the book and increase his playing time. He took over as section leader of the rhythm section in 2016.

John’s father had started teaching him guitar when he was ten years old. He played during high school at Francis Howell and in the jazz band at Truman State. His greatest influence was Freddie Green, guitarist with Count Basie.

John plays bass with the St. Charles and O’Fallon city bands. Playing guitar with the GCBB has presented a challenge for him because it had been several years since he played on a regular basis. He says the bass is more of a leadership role and the guitar is more of a supportive instrument. He enjoys the “voicing that complements the piano and acts as the tenor to the bass”.

John grew up in New Melle, St. Charles County. After achieving a Bachelor’s Degree at Truman State, he went to Central Missouri for a Master’s in Mass Communications. He is the Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, for CM Systems, supplying software to construction companies for accounting and costing. In his spare time when he isn’t playing with daughters Abbie and Amelia, he enjoys wood-working. He builds furniture and actually built the bed he sleeps in.


Mike Bruce MIKE BRUCE
Bass

Our bass player and former rhythm section leader, Mike Bruce, joined Gateway in 1992. Over his over 45-year career, he has had a variety of musical experiences from being the "token white" in an all-black group at the age of 16 called "Kato and the Hornets" to playing in a bagpipe band.

After playing with a number of local groups while in high school, Mike joined the Army. When his tour of duty was over, he went to college studying the new, burgeoning field of computers. But by the mid-1970's, music called to him again and he went on the road with a show band. Following that experience he returned to school to get his degree in electrical engineering.

As a working musician, Mike has played with the touring bands of Jimmy Dorsey, Dick Jurgens and Sammy Kaye. He has also performed with the vocal groups the Ink Spots and the Four Aces. Other musical experiences include playing country music, bluegrass and Greek music.

Mike was playing in Illinois when he met drummer and former Gateway musician Jack Tartar, who invited him to play with the Gateway City Big Band in 1992. Mike really likes the band and its structure and discipline. The other musical groups that he played with did not require the extensive reading that Gateway needs.

Mike's music has a depth that only years of varied experiences can bring.  The band truly appreciates his skill and rock steady time.  Mike lives with his wife Mary Ellen in South St. Louis.


Kevin WalshKEVIN WALSH
Drums

Kevin joined us on the drums in 2004. He was reared in Spanish Lake, graduated from Hazelwood East High School and went to Southeast Missouri State in Cape Girardeau, MO, for his Bachelor's Degree. After teaching in St. Genevieve, MO for a year, he went back to North County and worked for the Riverview Gardens and Ritenour school districts. With his eyes on the future, Kevin achieved a Master's Degree in School Administration at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

He retired from teaching in June, 2015. These days you might hear him playing drums in the pit orchestra of a local community theatre musical or see him volunteering at the Humane Society as a dog walker. He also enjoys traveling to the Des Moines, IA area to hear his son continue the music tradition as a bass player in area jazz bands.

Kevin has recently joined Gateway’s Board of Directors and we look forward to him keeping the beat for us for years to come!


Read about the other band members

Music Director  The Vocalists   Sax Section  Trumpet Section  Trombone Section  Rhythm Section  Retired Band Members