Biographies - Retro Notes
Alexandra Beltran (Vocals)
Alexandra Beltran is an old soul who began her musical journey at a young age. Her father first noticed her musical abilities when she was 6 years old and placed her in private music lessons. Not long after, Alexandra became the entertaining act at Lilibel's Cafe in San Jose, California. Years later, Alexandra moved to New Mexico and had the privilege of joining the New Mexico All State Choir and District Honor Choir. She won awards for her work in solos and ensembles during these times. She has performed at multiple events/venues, including the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA. In 2019, she was awarded by the "National League of American Pen Women" for her achievements in music.
Alexandra is currently continuing her music education under Jim Bruno, and is the lead vocalist of Retro Notes. To learn more about her, please visit: www.alexandrabeltran.org
WARNING: Now that you have read about Alexandra, we strongly recommend that you do not continue reading the bios. Just go to the contact page and book us: you do want to hear Alexandra at your next function before she makes it big. You do not want to know what kind of band members she puts up with week after week.
Bendik Kleveland (Saxophone, Clarinet and Vocals)
Bendik played clarinet and oboe growing up in Norway, playing in the Oslo youth symphony orchestra. After moving to the US and traveling through New Orleans, he got an idea while watching a band. Although he suspected he would never look as cool as the sax player, he thought that maybe he also would be able to learn to improvise and play Jazz. He studied under Morris Goldstein at South Bay School of Music Arts, under Hal Stein at Stanford University. He went on to play with the Stanford Jazz Orchestra under Fred Berry. He now studies Jazz under Alex Popoff but still keeps a foot in classical music. Alas, he has not given up trying to look cool. He thought wearing a hat and using Grover as a stage name would do it, but it has caused quite the opposite: embarrassment for his kids and confusion about who Grover Kleveland really is. His wife cringes at the thought of what he is going to try next..
Günes Aybay (Drums)
After spending many years playing guitar and piano and trying to form a band, Günes would grow increasingly frustrated that the drummers and singers would flake out just as they were about to hit it big. He silently started practicing drums. One day Bendik noticed the drumset in Günes' living room (guys don't notice much, but after coming by a few times he did see it) and Günes admitted to learning to play drums. He was of course recruited on the spot. By the time he figured out that being a drummer meant carrying all the drum equipment to gigs and assembling and reassembling all the hardware before and after each gig, it was, unfortunately, too late to try becoming a singer. This, all the band members are thankful for and you should be too.
Kimiko Arimoto (Piano)
Kimiko was trained in classical piano before getting into jazz and improvization. Yet, she improvises with themes and colors that mesmerizes the audience - and the band. You might ask how such a nice person would agree to play with the Retro Notes? Well, we sent Alexandra over to ask her politely to join the band, and she said yes!
Some times, in our lives, we all need help, someone to lean on.. Well, we have the following fantastic Retro Ringers on call for times when we have committed to a performance and a band member gets sick or needs to travel out of town, We have so far always performed with a complete band for every performance booked. This is in large part thanks to the following superb professionals who know our tunes, step in on short notice and elevate the band to new heights.
Tony Marriott (Piano and Keytar)
After a gig, audience members sometimes come up to thank the band for a particular song or for bringing back a wonderful memory. Whenever Tony plays with the band we have they always come up and complement him! He has a vast repertoire and keeps impressing us with his variety of improvisation.
Mark Galbadores (Percussion)
Percussionist "drummermarkg" has performed with many local bands since the early 90's. He has shared the stage with an extensive list of talented musicians ranging from Jazz, Blues, Rock, Hip Hop, and popular Dance music. He is actively performing throughout the Bay Area and collaborating with up and coming Artists with music production and recording.
He says that he loves performing with Retro Notes whenever he gets a chance, because it allows him to step away from his main instrument (the drums), and focus on utilizing his percussion skills on congas, bongos, and timbales. Also, he says Retro Notes is such a great band and everyone is so fun to hang out with!
Paul Degen (Saxophones and Flute)
Bendik met Paul at the Hedley Club Open mike jam at de Anza Hotel. He was impressed by Paul's tone and improvisation and asked what band he played in. Paul said that he had just moved up from Los Angeles and was getting started here. Bendik suggested he sit in with Retro Notes until he settled into other bands. Paul accepted and has played on numerous occasions. Even though he is busy teaching music, running his own band and playing in several other bands in the bay area, he still lends Retro Notes a hand when he has a night off.
Mike Hallesy (Bass)
Mike’s musical journey started at the age of 4, when he learned how to play folk music on the Baritone Ukulele from Lil Appel in Upper Nyack, New York. After winning the elementary school talent show at the age of 5 performing ‘Jack Was Every Inch a Sailor’, music was to become part of Mike’s life forever. Since then, Mike has studied classical cello, jazz piano, drums, bass and was selected to be part of the California State Honor Band when he was at Palo Alto High School. Mike’s main instrument of choice these days is the Double bass, although you may sometimes see him performing on a Fender style electric jazz bass. Mike has had the pleasure of performing with many of the San Francisco bay area’s great jazz artists, including Larry Vuckovich, Noel Jewkes, Jackie Ryan, Kay Kostopoulos, Celia Malheiros, Modesto Briseno, Jim Bruno, De Anza College Daddios big band, Full Spectrum big band, Touch of Brass big band, George Glover and Nita Hamilton, Achyutan and Barbara Hunter, the Retro Notes, and many others.
Rick Gray (Bass)
Rick started his musical career at an early age, playing in bands in the Flint Michigan local area. He started out pursuing broadcasting as a career, but music was his passion. When the Beatles first came on the scene, people told him, "You would do well in music: you look like Paul McCartney!" Like Paul McCartney, Rick has traveled across the United States playing in bands for a number of years. Unlike Paul, Rick plays a variety of instruments. When we saw him play a gig, we were not sure whether we should hire Rick the Vibraphonist, the Guitarist, the Pianist or the Bass player, as he was juggling instruments all the night!