Band Member Bios

Dennis Elmer (Drums and Percussion)

Dennis Elmer has been playing drums and vibes professionally for thirty-five years. Other current musical activities include the groups Big Yellow Taxi, the Reverb Brothers and Church musician. BA in music performance from Marylhurst College

Matthew Rotchford (Bassist - Electric and Acoustic Basses, Vocals)

Matthew Rotchford has been playing professionally for thirty years.  At home on both the electric bass and acoustic basses, Matthew has performed with a variety of artists and has recorded numerous albums with St. James's Gate, Hank Cramer, Jeremy Wilson, Bahttsi and many others.  He currently performs a variety of styles with StJG, Bahttsi, the Tiki Men and Jameson Wandling.  Matthew received his BA in Music from Eastern Washington University.  His detailed bio and other gig information can be found here on his website www.bassface67.com

Matt at the Celtic Fest

 

Griff Bear (Fiddle, Mandolin and Vocals)

Griff Bear started playing his grandad’s violin at age 10 and played symphonic and chamber music through high school, undergraduate and graduate music programs.  He started to study jazz at Youngstown State University and continued at the University of Virginia.  While living in Virginia, he also started playing Old Time and Bluegrass music, as well as folk, rock, and pop music, rounding out a thorough grounding in what we now call “Americana.”  Through these years he also cultivated an interest in the physics of sound, early MIDI, and digital music technology.  

In 1993 Griff Bear moved to Portland, Oregon and soon joined an “Irish Pub” band, a Gypsy/Flamenco based group, and founded an eclectic original band to play the new music he was writing as he learned to play Guitar and Mandolin.  Since then, he has also been part of Bluegrass, Blues, Swing Jazz, and Original Italian Rock groups AND MORE!  A partial list of Pacific NW groups Griff Bear has been part of includes: Cul An Ti, Goombahttsi, Zeile, Vancouver Symphony, Rose City Chamber Orchestra, St. James’s Gate, The Powerhouse Duo, Whistlin Rufus, Wanderlust Circus Orchestra, Evening Star Orchestra, and Mbrascatu.

Meanwhile, Griff Bear has spent some time in school, earning a Bachelor of Music (B.M.) and almost a Master of Music (M.M.) in Violin Performance, and a Law Degree (J.D.); as well as working in and managing shelters for homeless and runaway youth for more than a decade and (currently) working as an audio engineer with a young Oregon tech company developing cutting edge wireless audio products.  He is also adoring husband to a brilliant wife and proud papa to two very cool kids.  

Griff Bear is a lifelong fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers; and is highly averse to hurrying, multi-tasking or dismissing anyone.  But mostly, though, Griff Bear believes that Music is Magic and wants to spread it wild and wide.

 

 

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