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Terry's Kids Staff


Leslie Darwin O'Brien has been directing music programs, summer music workshops, etc. for kids throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. She especially loves working with children and teens. Leslie is the founder of GirlPower, a program devoted to building self-esteem and fostering a sense of community for 6th-12th grade girls. Leslie is also Director of Community Life at Orinda Community Church. Leslie received her B.A. in Communication from Stanford, where she was the Senior Class President, as well as a member of the Cap and Gown Women's Honor Society. After Stanford, Leslie wrote for Time Magazine and PBS. Leslie's devotion & dedication to Kids of all ages has been a significant force behind Terry's Kids. Leslie is also the head of the board at Terry's Kids, she is a true inspiration.


Brian Nova is considered one of the top Jazz Guitarists/Vocalists in the nation, according to a recent poll in Jazz Improv Magazine. Joe Pass said of Nova: 'I feel Brian is one of the finest Jazz Guitarists on the scene!' He has the distinction of being the only guitarist who was mentored by and toured with, the two titans of Jazz guitar: Herb Ellis and Joe Pass. Rock Icon Steve Miller says: 'I've met and known a lot of guitarists in my career, and 'B' is the best guitarist I've ever met.' Nova performs, and records, as a solo artist, with his Trio, Quartet, and his 18-piece Big Band. Brian is on Arturo Sandoval's Grammy® Award-winning CD 'Dear Diz', which garnered a Grammy® and 3 Latin Grammys® in 2013 on Concord Records.


Shelly Berg, according to The All Music Guide, "is one of the finest pianists around in the early 21st century playing modern mainstream jazz."

Shelly Berg is the Dean of the Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, a position he has held since June 2007. In addition to his leadership role as dean, he is the Patricia L. Frost Professor of Music and teaches classical improvisation and private piano students. He previously held the McCoy/Sample professorship of Jazz Studies in the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California where he taught for 16 years. He is a past president of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) and was named 2003 Educator of the Year by the Los Angeles Jazz Society. Shelly has performed, recorded, or arranged for Gloria Estefan, Patti Austin, Bobby McFerrin, Kurt Elling, Michael Feinstein, Renée Fleming, Gregory Porter, Aretha Franklin, Tierney Sutton, Janelle Monáe, Queen Latifa... "Shelly Berg is a great jazz pianist who has a total command of his instrument." His composing and orchestrating for television includes ABC's Fudge, CBS's A League of Their Own, and HBO's Dennis Miller Live.


Terry Miller, Bassist/Producer/Composer/Licensing Director/Clinician/Arranger

Musical Director/Music Instructor, & now, the director of Terry's Kids.

Terry has been playing and performing since the age of 8. Terry first started with his Fathers band in South Dakota, then it was off to Denver, Minneapolis, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, LA, Monterey, etc.

Instruments: 4, 5 + 6 String Upright & Electric Basses, Piano, a bit of Guitar, and a tad of Drums. Education: Instructor at University of Minn., University of Colorado at Boulder, Monterey Peninsula College, Under Director Don Schamber, Instruction in Music theory, ensemble, sight reading, performance, upright and electric Bass instruction, Piano fundamentals, digital recording, producing, licensing. 7 year Yamaha clinician with Manfredo Fest. Former staff instructor at the "Jazz School" Berkeley CA., LASF, etc., Bob Athayde's Summer Jazz Camp, Hill-barn Theater Rock Camp "Foster City", (etc.)

(Click here for Full Bio)


Tom Scott (Sax), is a veteran composer, arranger, producer, musical director, and saxophonist, having earned 3 Grammy Awards and 14 Grammy nominations over four decades. He made his first record as a leader in 1968--at age twenty. The number of solo recordings in his catalog now stands at 33. In addition, he's amassed over 500 credits as guest soloist/arranger for, among others—Barbra Streisand, Quincy Jones, Paul McCartney, Steely Dan, Michael McDonald, the Blues Brothers, Toto, and Aerosmith. In addition, his compositions have been sampled by dozens of recording artists including 2Pac, Madonna, Bruno Mars, Snoop Dog, Massive Attack, Wu-Tang Clan, N.W.A. and The Chemical Brothers. Tom's film & T.V. composing credits include Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Uptown Saturday Night, Stir Crazy, themes for Family Ties, Starsky & Hutch, background scores for Baretta, Cannon, Streets Of San Francisco, & National Geographic Explorer, among many. He served as Musical Director for the Academy Awards, the Emmy Awards, the People's Choice Awards, Comic Relief, the Carol Burnett Show, Joni Mitchell, George Harrison, and the GRP All-Star Big Band, among others--and toured four continents with his quintet.


Bob Athayde, began teaching privately in 1970 and in the public schools in 1976. Since 1986, he has taught full time at Stanley Intermediate School in Lafayette, California. Recognized for his outstanding teaching and musicianship, Mr. Athayde has garnered a number of awards including the California Music Educator's Don Schmeer Outstanding Band Teacher of California Award. Mr. Athayde has been featured as Guest Artist/Clinician/Adjudicator on trumpet and piano at the Cal-State Stanislaus Jazz Festival and has served as an adjudicator in all instrumental music areas for the California Music Educators Association and the University of California at Berkeley Jazz Festival. Bob serves as Director of the Lafayette Summer Music Workshop, and teaches, conducts, and adjudicates for various music festivals around the Bay Area.


Julio Reyes, studied with George Sakellariou and David Tanenbaum at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. By 1986 he continued his conducting studies with maestros Kent Nagano, Richard Buckley and Dr. Dennis DeCoteau, became principal cellist of the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra and had toured with them internationally as both cellist and guitar soloist. He was ultimately appointed Assistant Conductor to its then-Music Director, Kent Nagano. He conducted OSYO in Pops Concerts throughout the Bay Area and was Music Director for Oakland Summer Theatre's productions of The Wiz and Kiss Me Kate.

Entering his 20s, Julio began a second career as instructor of cello, classical guitar, bass and music theory, teaching at both Meadowood Music Camp and El Cerrito High School, the latter at which he was appointed String Specialist and Orchestra Conductor. In 2009, he conducted the American opera, Fay Yen Fah, with L'Orquesta D'Solis, the official orchestra for Prince Albert II of Monaco and soloists from the United States in the Monte Carlo Opera House. Julio is also a board member of the Young Musicians Program, formerly the Summer Music Program at U.C. Berkeley.


Gary Novak, was born and raised in Chicago, Gary Novak was practically born with drum sticks in hand. Coming from parents of great musical talent, Gary began playing the piano at the age of 8. Novak's influence came from his parents. His mother, Carol Novak, also a pianist, played with her trio at the London House. His father, Larry Novak, the famous Chicago pianist, not only encouraged the career of his son but also put him to work. From the age of 10 to 12, Gary would work with his father's trio in all the Chicago clubs. During high school, Novak worked with the jazz clarinet master Buddy Defranco as well as such notables as Joe Williams, Milt Hinton, Kenny Burrell, Barney Kessel and the great Louis Bellson. Novak's blossoming reputation lead to the opportunity to represent Yamaha drums and Zildjian cymbal through endorsements at the age of 17.

At 19 Gary moved to Los Angeles, there he began working with Maynard Ferguson, Michael McDonald, Natalie Cole, David Sanborn and Anita Baker, guitarist Lee Ritenour and George Benson.

At 28, he joined Chick Corea's newest band. After which he toured with Bob Berg and Allan Holdsworth. Gary is also an accomplished clinician and top educator, it's great to have Gary on our team.


Laurence Hobgood, is a renowned pianist, composer, and arranger. The Chicago native is best known for his collaboration with vocalist Kurt Elling. As a multiple Grammy nominee and 2010 Grammy winner, Laurence Hobgood has enjoyed a multi-faceted and dynamic career. Musical director for Elling since 1995, he's played on, composed/arranged for and co-produced all of Elling's CDs (6 for Blue Note and 3 for Concord), each Grammy-nominated. 2009's "Dedicated To You: Kurt Elling Sings The Music Of Coltrane and Hartman", recorded live at Lincoln Center, won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Vocal Jazz Record.

He has played and/or recorded with Larry Coryell, Lee Konitz, John Pattitucci, Jon Hendricks, Regina Carter, Stefon Harris, Richard Galliano, Christian McBride, Terreon Gully, Terrence Blanchard, Bob Sheppard, Ernie Watts, Marc Johnson, Joe Lovano, Benny Maupin, Paul Wertico, Bobby Watson, Clark Terry, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Anat Cohen, Bob Mintzer, Mark Murphy, Von Freeman, Peter Erskine, Paul McCandless, Gary Burton, and Eddie Daniels, to name a few.


Brett Strader,

Brett Strader is the head of Music Ministries at the Lafayette Orinda Presbyterian Church, where he leads the 80-voice Choir and Orchestra. Brett has been music director for several congregations, notably the Crystal Cathedral and the Hour of Power where he performed on international television with such diverse artists as Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Twila Paris, David Foster, and Sir James Galway.

He is currently Musical Director of the Sun Valley Opera (Idaho) and Artistic Director for The Sing For America Foundation in San Francisco. He has conducted throughout Europe and North America and in 2009 made his Oceanic debut with the Sydney Lyric Orchestra. He is a frequent guest conductor for Lamplighters Musical Theater.

A lifelong pianist, Mr. Strader maintains an active career as a coach-accompanist, specializing in both chamber and vocal music. He has taught at Cal State Fullerton, American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco State, and Biola University. Brett plays nuevotango in the group Bay Area ensemble Montango. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Biola University and a Master of Music in Conducting from San Francisco State University.


John Finger, San Francisco Bay Area artist John Finger grew up in the Diablo Valley east of San Francisco and graduated from the California College of the Arts in 1977. Since then John has been drawing and painting in both the commercial art world and the fine art world.

As a painter, John is best known for his watercolors, however much of his painting is done in oil now. He has traveled extensively around the world visiting art centers and collections, drawing from the works of the masters at these sites, and sketching and painting areas of interest and natural beauty. Much of his art is landscapes and people though subject matter of all sorts interest and inspire him.

Although he does a lot of studio painting John sees his art as a way of being engaged with people and places and finds that drawing and painting on location as a way of being involved in the life going on around him.

John has taught painting and drawing classes and workshops at regional art centers in California. He also has taught design and illustration at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill and at The Academy of Art College in San Francisco. He was president of the California Watercolor Association and was on the board of the San Francisco Society of Illustrators. John has for many years been part of The US Air Force Art Program. On one Air Force art assignment, he was sent to Oklahoma and flew in the subject of his painting — a T-38 jet.

John shows at galleries in Northern California. His website is at


Abel Alejandro Garica Valdes, is Terry's Kids US/CUBA Emissary & Guide in Havana.

Abel holds a Bachelor of English Literature & Language degree, a Master's degree in Tourism Management plus a a Doctorate of Quality Assurance from the University of Havana.

He is also the principal Technical Advisor at the University of Loja in Ecuador — The list goes on.

Abel keeps Terry's Kids connected with the children at ENA, ISA, Clave de Sol and La Colmenita, the four Children's Musical troupes we help support in Havana.

Abel, and his wonderful wife Ida, are in charge of donations, events for the Kids, clinics for the Kids, lessons, etc. We would not be able to function in Cuba without his help, we are so lucky to have him on our staff.

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