Drewcilla Holifield plays clarinet and serves as the primary speaker at concerts. She has performed on a local, national, and international level with groups such as the Mississippi Lions All State Band and the Sound of America Honor Band and Choir. She served as the concert master for the Wind Ensemble and VP of Bands at Liberty University. Drew also serves on the Board for the Mat-Su Ski Club. She currently works at an Edward Jones office in downtown Palmer.
Sara is a long-time member of the Mat-Su Concert Band flute section. She has performed throughout the Pacific Northwest and internationally with a wide variety of bands, choirs, symphonies, and honor groups. A librarian specializing in Children’s Literature and Early Childhood Development, Ms. Saxton is a Past President of the Alaska Library Association, a board member with the Mat-Su Imagination Library, and an active member of the American Library Association and the Association for Library Services to Children.
Zaz Hollander plays alto clarinet in the band. She started playing clarinet in 5th grade and received musical instruction at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa. Zaz has performed with the North Idaho College Symphonic Band, Anchorage Community Band and the Anchorage Civic Orchestra. She works as a journalist and lives near Hatcher Pass with two spirited, smart daughters who inspire her every day.
Christy plays saxophone and currently serves on MSCB board of directors as treasurer. She also plays with the United Public Health Service field band. She works as a nurse practitioner with Alaska Native tribal Health Consortium.
Sara Bowen plays the flute and piccolo and is the section leader of the Mat-Su Flute Choir. Sara studied music and creative writing at the College of Idaho, graduating with her bachelor’s degree in 2020. She grew up in Colony High’s marching band and then was the drum major of the College of Idaho Coyote Marching Band. Sara also plays in several local musicals in the Mat-Su. When she’s not playing, Sara can be found either snuggled with her cat and a good book or at the closest coffee shop working on her novel.
Bruce Brown started playing saxophone in 5th grade, and played with the Roseville High School Concert and Jazz Bands in Michigan. In high school, Bruce studied at the Larry Teal Studios in Detroit. Bruce attended Michigan State University, where he played in the Spartan Marching Band, and numerous concert and jazz bands at Michigan State. Bruce went to Northern Michigan University where he earned a master’s degree in English and came to Alaska to teach school in the Lower Kuskokwim School District. He attended the University of New Mexico School of Law, and returned to Alaska to practice law. He joined the Anchorage Community Concert Band upon returning to Alaska, and later joined the Mat-Su College Community Band upon moving to Palmer. He still plays in both bands. Bruce currently works a public defender in Palmer.
Steve is a retired music teacher and with his wife, Marian live in Willow. Since retiring, he has been active as chair of the Willow Trail Committee and as a board member of many non-profits including the Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation and Friends of State Parks, Mat-Su. At home and when not honkin’ on his tuba, Steve is helping young band students and running his sled dogs. He believes community bands are an excellent place for folks to participate in music throughout their lives and is excited about the role the MSCB can have in bringing concert band music to the Valley.
Gene Horner has played trumpet since the 4th grade. He was fortunate to be able to spend his military career in the U.S. Army band system from 1967 to 1969. He set down his horn after the Army, except for a few times playing on church worship teams. Gene joined Mat-Su Concert Band in 2001 and has gratefully enjoyed the experience. He only regrets he didn’t discover community bands 40 years ago.
Rebekah began playing flute at Palmer Junior High in 1979, and though she played various instruments, at Palmer High, Biola University, and churches, flute is the instrument that feels like home. She has been an educator for more than 30 years: first in Southern California and now back home in Alaska. Currently, she is an independent consultant, providing educational technology training to teachers. Rebekah joined the band in 2013 and is thankful for the music culture in the Mat-Su and the opportunity to make music with talented musicians every week.