Director - All Star Jazz Band
Dr. Russ Weil was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. An educator at heart, Russ has been a teacher and administrator with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board since 1969, serving as an elementary and secondary school teacher, a high school department head, and Co-ordinator of Music. As Co-ordinator, Russ was responsible for music education from kindergarten to grade 13 for over 40,000 students. From 2003-2009, he served as an instructor in music education at the Brock University Faculty of Education. In 2001, he received a Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Russ is the Founder and Artistic Director of Hamilton All Star Jazz, a community based organization that boasts 3 Jazz Big Bands for young people ranging in age from 12 to 25. The All Star Jazz Band, which Russ continues to direct, has released 9 CDs with some of Canada’s greatest legends of jazz as guest artists including Rob McConnell, Guido Basso, Pat LaBarbera, Kenny Wheeler, Phil Nimmons and David Braid. Over 1,000 young musicians have been active in this organization since its inception some 30 years ago.
In 2003, Russ was granted an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from McMaster University for his extensive work with young people and the arts. Other awards include the City of Hamilton Arts Award, 2 Paul Harris Fellowships from the Rotary Club of Canada, a Laura Secord Award from the Sertoma Club of Hamilton, a Community Service Award from the Hamilton Spectator, and multiple awards from Mohawk College, the Town of Ancaster, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Lung Association, and the International Association for Jazz Education. Russ has travelled extensively as an adjudicator and clinician for school and music festivals throughout Canada.
Dr. Weil holds a B.A. in music from McMaster University, an M.Ed. in Curriculum Planning from O.I.S.E., University of Toronto, a D.Litt. from McMaster University, and an A.R.C.T. from the Royal Conservatory of Music , University of Toronto, in vocal performance. He is the former lead singer with the Jameson Roberts Blues Band. Dr. Weil is currently theMusic Director with the vocal group Motown: Never Can Say Goodbye.
Director - Rising Star Jazz Band
Allan is a graduate of the University of Toronto Jazz Performance department, where he studied saxophone with Mike Murley and Kirk McDonald. He later earned his Bachelor of Education from OISE/UT and his Honours Specialist in music from the University of Western Ontario. Allan has performed with many of Canada's top jazz musicians including David Braid, Guido Basso, Alex Dean, Pat LaBarbera, and Kenny Wheeler to name a few.
Allan is an alumnus of the Hamilton All Star Jazz Band and was a part of the band's inaugural European tour and performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland as well as the band's performance at the IAJE Conference at New York City. He performed with the alumni ensembles at the organization's 15th, 20th, and 25th anniversary celebrations. Allan has directed the Rising Stars Jazz Band since 2005. During that time, the ensemble has received a Gold standard for their performance at Musicfest Nationals three times.
Allan currently teaches at Hillfield Strathallan College where he is the Instructional Leader for Arts at the Middle School level. He directs the College's Grade 8 Concert Band, Middle School Jazz Band, Grade 9 Jazz Band and Senior School Jazz Band.
Director - Junior Star Jazz Band
Matt is a graduate of the Music Education program at the University of Toronto, and received his Bachelor of Education from the University of Western Ontario. He has studied saxophone with some of Canada's premier performers such as Alex Dean.
Matt is a former member of the Hamilton All Star Jazz band, and accompanied them on their first European tour to the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. He has performed on the same stage as David Braid, Pat LeBarbera, Kenny Wheeler, Guido Basso, and Rob McConnell, to name but a few.
Matt turned his musical focus to education early and began directing jazz bands in 1996 with his own high school's Junior Jazz Band. He has travelled with his band all over Ontario and Canada, and returned to the All Star family in 2001 when he co-directed the Rising Stars.
Matt moved to the Junior All Stars in 2004, and conducted them for two years. Matt has taught in China and Taiwan, and is now back in Canada to educate in his hometown. After a few years in Victoria and London, (Ontario), Matt has been back with the Juniors since 2013, and is looking forward to many more exciting years with the All Star family, and the Hamilton Junior All Star Jazz Band.