The Swizzle Stick Band is an eight-piece Motown/Funk/R&B horn band, playing your favorites from the '60s, '70s, and '80s with some new popular songs mixed in. Our singer, Ms. Vanda Johnson, has a beautiful voice and commanding stage presence that does justice to the great music we play.
Introducing the Band
Vanda Johnson - Lead Vocals Vanda is now "happily retired!" from her day job, and she learned to sing gospel as a child. This (unbelievably!) is her first band. Her thunderous vocals are truly amazing.
Eric Warren - Bass Eric has been playing music since preschool, and his first gig was as a teenager with his Dad's group, The Esquires. Since then, he's been in several bands with styles varying from bluegrass and jazz to rock. An engineer by day and a true music professional by night, Eric's steady hand and accomplished bass skills keep the lower register grooving for SSB.
Ken Berlin - Guitar, Vocals Ken has played guitar for decades and was previously a member of several local bands. His sweet guitar sounds are complemented by great vocals. Don't be surprised to see him take something to a new level or tear off a rocking riff mid-song. He is a seasoned professional, a real team player, and an integral member of the SSB family.
Ken Ertel - Bass Trumpet, Trombone, Harps, Backing Vocals An entrepreneur in the Steel Industry, Ken's love for music is clear. He studied under the University of Akron's own Tucker Jolly in college, is the business manager of SSB, and arranges charts when needed.
Harry Wittbrod - Tenor Sax, Bari Sax Harry, classically trained, can rip it on the tenor or bari sax. A seasoned musician, Harry's primary instrument is the bassoon. Bringing many years of experience and a hard-working and fun attitude, Harry is the true classical musician in the band. Some of our charts are written by Harry as well.
Andy Platz - Trumpet, Sound Andy is the technician and repair guru for SSB. When Andy's not tweaking our sound system or helping one of us set up or fix something, he's also playing his trumpet with the band. After having played with many local bands over the last 30 years, Andy brings high-octane experience and energy to SSB.
Mark Smallwood - Drums, Percussion Always the driving force behind the SSB beat, Mark is a happy-go-lucky seasoned and experienced musician. He brings an ever-present smile and positive vibe to the rhythm section, and we're always encouraging him to show off his excellent singing voice too.
Doug Barber - Keys, Backing Vocals Doug has played in several area bands for many years and is a seasoned professional. Doug is the mild-mannered, but a stealthy funny guy in SSB. Besides "tickling the keys" expertly, he also provides some great backup vocals.
SSB is a high-energy dance party band, so be sure to bring your dancing shoes!