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The Rogers jazz society (RJS) is a collaboration of local musicians,
who share the passion for music and entertainment. Formed in 2005, the
jazz group consists of a steady rhythm section (Tomek Siwiec - gtr, Roby
Pantall - gtr, Ron Pennington - bass and Chris Strom - dr) and other
instruments as needed.
One of the main goals of Rogers Jazz Society is to create environment
of collaboration among local jazz enthusiasts - both professional and
aspiring musicians, composers, producers, collectors, journalists and
other individuals. We encourage everyone to actively participate in the
support and proliferation of jazz music, which became an icon of the
We are not an exclusive organization and everyone who shares the
passion for this art is welcome to join and participate in our events
and activities. One of the areas of impact we try to emphasize is the
educational platform. Some of us already are leaders in educational
programs at local schools, such as Northwest Arkansas academy of fine
arts. We give private lessons to individuals on various instruments and
styles. We're in the process of developing relationship with the local
NWA community college, which we hope will eventually spearhead a
full-fledged jazz program. We are looking to bring to the area
accomplished, regional jazz musicians and educators for clinics, jam
sessions and small concerts, but it will not be possible without your
support. So if you'd like to find out more about our programs, or how
you could get involved and volunteer, please contact Tomek, or sign up
for the e-newsletter in our community section.
About the Musicians:
Tomek Siwiec – guitar. Originally from Poland, Tomek's musical
education began under the eye of internationally accomplished jazz
musician - Artur Lesicki of Funky Groove. Tomek's "old country" music
projects included a pop-rock band Miriam, which quickly earned
reputation among Wroclaw's college scene and local radio broadcasting.
After relocating to the US, Tomek played several years on the local
blues scene with the Crawdads traveling throughout the NWA region. After
getting exposed to Fayetteville's jazz scene through several jam
sessions, he began studying under Jon Barrios, Ryan Fourt and completed
Jamey Aebersold's jazz program in Louisville, KY. These relationships
quickly allowed him to immerse in the jazz culture, and promote a local
scene in Rogers. A banker during the day, Tomek regularly plays with
members of the RJS and local music scene, while his deeply rooted blues
influences of Kenny Burrell, grant green and Wes Montgomery resonate in
slick lines and chord voicings.
Roby Pantall – guitar. Also a professional musician since a young
age, Roby grew up in New Delhi, India and Washington D.C. He has played
with several professional bands including Mac Bogert band, Rockoholics,
and has been active in the studio for his guitar services. He has
played with church bands for many years and considers this “the best
band” one can play in. Roby received a degree in music from Berklee
College of music in Boston, Mass. His musical styles range from ragas
to reggae to rock n roll. Jazz has always been a favorite musical style
and recently he has been playing with jazz groups in the NWA area.
Roby’s jazz influences have been Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell.
Chris Strom – drums. Chris and his amazingly diverse percussion
talents add an entirely new dimension to our ensemble. He brings with
him a musical pedigree so extensive, that it would require an entire
page just to list all of
his accomplishments! Chris graduated in 1976
with a degree in instrumental music performance from the prestigious
Berklee School of Music in Boston, and he has mastered the entire
spectrum of musical genres. He has played and recorded with groups from
all across the country, performing everything from jazz to rock to even
Jewish Klezmer. Unlike the rest of us, he is fortunate enough not to
have a 9-to-5 job, but maintains an extremely active performance
schedule, performing with several different groups from across Northwest
Arkansas (including 1 Up Mushrooms, a video game music cover band), and
also keeps a full lesson schedule, providing instruction to both
individuals and school groups.
FELICIA HAMILTON – vocals. Felicia began her formal musical training
at age 6, singing and playing the piano. Felicia has been accompanying
and directing school, church and conference choirs for over 20 years.
She has won numerous vocal competitions, performed coast to coast and
most recently performed in china. Her exceptional vocal talent has been
recognized by various Grammy & Tony award winners. Locally, Felicia
makes appearances with the fabulous Rogers Jazz Society. Hailed as a
smooth, sultry songstress, Felicia is inspired by Diana Krall, Anita
Baker and Natalie Cole!!
Ron Pennington – Bass. A professional musician from the age of 14,
Ron grew up in Springdale Arkansas. After high school playing the
mandolin, guitar and bass, Ron worked with various bands that brought
him to all parts of the country. Living currently in Bella Vista,
Arkansas, he has a resume that is extensive. His former employers
include Larry Sparks, Paul Adkins, Bob Paisley, Lynn Morris, Gary
Ferguson and the Bluegrass Cardinals. He has performed at such
noteworthy venues as the Lone Star Café in New York City and the Kennedy
Center in Washington D.C. he remains high on the lists of many national
acts as the one to call when in need of a stand-in musician. As jazz
bass player, one of Ron’s influences is Ron Carter.