Meet our wonderful and dedicated Musicians:

Urban League of Portland Annual Banquet 2010

The Minidoka Swing Band members come from all over the Portland Metropolitan Area: Portland, Milwaukie, Vancouver, Beaverton, Hillsboro and Wilsonville. They volunteer their time and skills to this worthy cause of educating the public about WWII Japanese American Internment and showcasing their great musical talent.

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MUSICIANS:

Larry Nobori, Band Director, Lead Alto Sax and Clarinet - Larry is our valued band director & music coordinator - Residence: Milwaukie, OR

BIO: INTERNMENT YEARS:
Larry Nobori was born in Sacramento, California in 1942. His mother's side of the family was from Florin, a small town (mainly a Japanese community) outside of Sacramento.  They owned a small farm and grew strawberries.  His father's side of the family owned a grocery store in Oakland, California.  Nobori’s family was first sent to the Tanforan Race Track stables and then was later interned in Jerome, Arkansas. The Noboris were one of the first families to leave the camp. Larry’s dad was in his early 30s and was able to get a job in Cleveland, Ohio. The family moved back to Oakland when Nobori was about four-years-old, and his dad purchased and opened his first grocery store. He had a motto, "Let George Do It", and he was well liked by his customers and just about anybody he met. Nobori doesn’t recall having to deal with hostility or blatant racism. His dad worked hard, and the family enjoyed a normal, middle-class life.

EDUCATION AND TEACHING CAREER

Larry Nobori graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 1971. He taught in Berkeley, California from 1971-1978. Nobori was fortunate to be part of the Berkeley Jazz Project, created by Phil Hardymon and Herb Wong. The Duke Ellington Orchestra kicked it off in 1968. Nobori privately taught Joshua Redmond when he was at Longfellow Intermediate School as well as jazz pianist, Benny Green, also a student at Longfellow.  There were many great jazz artists from Berkeley at that time, and many went on to have successful careers in jazz and other forms of music. Phil Hardymon died in 1982.

In 1978, Nobori moved his family to Portland, Oregon. He taught high school and middle school. It wasn't until 1985, when Nobori began teaching at Fernwood Middle School, that he was able to continue his interest in jazz education. Nobori was on the state board of the International Association of Jazz Educators as their secretary and vice-president from 1990-1994, and during that time, he helped organize the “All State Jazz Band” along with his other responsibilities. Nobori had successful teaching programs with a lot of talented students. Nobori retired in 2001.

MUSICIAN:

Nobori has continued to play music and teach throughout the years. He changed from classical performance to jazz when he moved in 1978. Portland has a rich jazz community, and he was able to play in the Ron Steen and Mel Brown jam sessions which are still going on today. Some of the highlights of Nobori’s playing inluded:  The premiere of jazz pianist/composer Gordon Lee's piece, "Jazz Sonata For Clarinet And Piano" in Dec. 1998; West Coast Jazz Ensemble, a jazz quartet, featuring his good friend Rick Homer in 1999; Production of the CD, "Sail Away", with the WCJE  www.cdbaby.com/wcje. Nobori is currently promoting Cafe Jazz (www.myspace.com.cafenuages) and Sentimental Journey featuring the jazz and poetry of former Oregon Poet Laureate Lawson Inada and vocalist Nola Bogle.  Lawson tells the story of interment through music and poetry.
 
Nobori has been conductor and music coordinator of the Minidoka Swing Band since its inception in 2007 by founder and creator Roberta (Robbie) Tsuboi. The band was featured in the Wall Street Journal (March 28, 2010), Seattle’s King TV5’s “Evening Magazine,” and the Pacific Citizen Magazine
 
Nobori feels very fortunate to be the director of the Minidoka Swing Band. Tsuboi, who created the band for a 2008 pilgrimage to the Minidoka Internment Camp, wanted a youth band of mainly young Asian American students. Her vision was to involve youth with the internment issue, and to have them dance to and perform swing music. It was a total success! The swing band connects us to the time when all internees needed something to uplift them and help them feel typically American.  So the Minidoka Swing Band continues to play the music of The Harmonaires, a Seattle-based band formally known as the Mikados of Swing, as a tribute to Minidoka and all the internees who suffered a great loss during those difficult years.

George Shinbo, (deceased, 4/16/2017) 2nd Alto Sax & vocalist - Residence: Portland, OR

Bio: George was born and raised in Seattle, WA and is a graduate of Seattle University and the University of Washington. He was elected to the Seattle DCD office and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. George was also COP chair of the massive Bus Tunnel project in Seattle that is now being revamped.

George was only sixteen-years-old when he had his first hit recording and has recorded with many other hit stars. George played and recorded with such luminaries as Buddy Catlett, Howard Roberts, Brian Nova, Isaac Hays, The Temptations, the Steve Miller Band, George Clinton and P-Funk, Maceo Parker, Pearl Jam, Tragically Hip, Fats Domino, Chet Baker, George Cables, Ron Carter, Freddie Hubbard, Gary Peacock, and spent two years with Slim Gaillard. George sang with his own quartet on the Hilton Hotel Circuit for five years and was part of the famous jazz club, Parnells, in the 1980s. George has recorded over twelve CDs that were Gold or Platinum with various groups. He produced CDs of Brian Nova. George is known as a Pioneer of Funk and Soul Music in the Northwest. He was in a story in the Seattle paper and will be recognized in the EMP Museum.

George’s family is in the museum in Seattle as pioneers of the city. While in Seattle, George was a designer of the China and the King Tut exhibits.  George co-owned the Under The Rail Rock Club in Seattle and was an advertising executive who sold
three companies to Viacom and Clear Channel. 

At present, George is on the board of IAMCLINIC, a company in New Jersey that works for the disabled, and works for TRIWEST PROPERITES in Lake Oswego, Oregon. George has been a member of the Minidoka Swing Band since the summer of 2010 and loves playing with the group.   


Elaine Yuzuriha, Tenor/Bari Sax - Residence: Vancouver, WA

Bio: Elaine Nishikawa grew up on a farm in Dixon, California.  From a young age, she knew her parents and grandparents all went to "camp" during the war, her father's side to Gila River then to Tule Lake, and her mother's side to Tule Lake.  Naively, she thought it was like summer camp, for her parents never really talked about it. As a freshman in high school, she had an assignment to write an essay about a parent's high school years, and this is when she discovered her father spent all four of his high school years behind barbed wire imprisoned by the U.S. government in internment camps - his only crime to be born to Japanese parents. It was an eye-opening discovery. The same U.S. government later drafted him into the army where he served 18 months, 15 months on the front lines in Korea as an interrogator until the armistice. 

Her mother loved music and played the violin, so Elaine and her siblings grew up playing piano and band instruments. Elaine played tenor and baritone sax from elementary school and continued to play bari sax in the Stanford University Wind Ensemble. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in medical microbiology, married Todd Yuzuriha, and moved to Portland, Oregon. She research assisted at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center until becoming a homemaker, raising her three children full time. She also played organ and taught Dharma School at Oregon Buddhist Temple.

Elaine started to play saxophone again in 2007 after her first child, Jill, entered Stanford University, and saw the ad in the JACL newsletter announcing auditions for a youth band being formed for the Minidoka pilgrimage. She and her husband contacted Robbie Tsuboi and became original band members. Their son, Ken, who played euphonium, learned slide trombone so he could play with the band until he entered Stanford University in 2008. Their daughter, Joy, currently plays in the band.

Elaine truly believes in the mission of the band to educate and raise awareness that civil liberties were illegally stolen from thousands of Americans due to war hysteria and prejudice, and hopes this unfortunate chapter in history never repeats itself. 


  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Joy Yuzuriha, 2nd Tenor Sax - Residence: Vancouver, WA

Bio:
Youngest member of ther Minidoka Swing Band at the age of 13 (2011).  At 16 yrs old Joy was the 2014-15 Washington State Regional Solo champion on clarinet. Joy is now a student at Stanford University and plays with us when she is home.

Mike Strassmaier, Tenor sax - Residence: Beaverton, OR

Bio: A retired Air Force veteran, Mike loves playing music with his tenor sax and being a member of the Minidoka Swing Band.  He is one of our most dedicated members, along with his wife, Yasuyo Kamio Strassmaier.

Todd Yuzuriha, Lead Trumpet - Residence: Vancouver, WA

Bio: Todd began playing trumpet at age eight while growing up in Portland, Oregon. He was a member of Oregon's All-State Band (1975), McDonald's All-American High School Band (1977-78), and Stanford University's Wind Ensemble.

He is an original member of the Minidoka Swing Band which began practicing in September 2007. The band holds special meaning to him since both his parents and all four of his grandparents were interned during World War II (father at Minidoka and mother at Heart Mountain). 

Todd holds a B.S. in engineering from Stanford, an M.S. in engineering from U.C. Berkeley, and an M.B.A. from the University of Portland. He retired as vice-president of engineering for Logitech and was formerly a senior director at Sharp and an engineering manager at Tektronix.

Currently, Todd is a member of the Board of Directors for Evergreen Public Schools in Vancouver, Washington and on the Board of Trustees for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District.


Rick Homer, (former member) 2nd Trumpet - Residence: Portland, OR

Bio:  Rick Homer, 2nd trumpeter with the band, came from a musical background. His father was a music arranger and song writer during the big band era, so Rick  grew up around the bands and the songs that make up the bulk of the band's book. He has played trumpet for over 50 years, in every setting imaginable, primarily in the jazz idiom. He enjoys his association with both the band and the Japanese community, and looks forward to playing for another 50 years.

All Kato, 2nd Trumpet -  Residence: Portland, OR
Bio:   Al grew up in Portland and Happy Valley and graduated from from Clackamas H.S. and Oregon College of Education.  He is been an educator and has taught music at Jesuit H.S. in Portland Oregon and has been very involved in music programs throughout his life.  He is also currently the Artistic Director of the One More Time Around Band, http://www.omtaamb.org/30th-anniversary-1/.  



Karl Baxter , 3rd Trumpet -  Residence: Hillsboro, OR

Bio:  Karl started playing cornet in the 5th grade and continued through junior high. He then played four years of French horn in concert band at Umatilla High School in Umatilla, Oregon while also playing four years of cornet in high school pep band and stage band and four years percussion (snare and tom tom) in marching band. During his high school years, Karl also played mellophone with the Pendleton Rangers Drum & Bugle Corp. Karl graduated from Blue Mountain Community College with a degree in aviation technology. He received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force. Upon returning home from the service, Karl played one year with the Pendleton Community Orchestra. Karl worked 34 years as a customer data technician and retired from Qwest Communications. He then joined the Minidoka Swing Band in early 2009 where he plays the trumpet and really enjoys being a part of this historic band.

Terry Baxter, 4th Trumpet - Residence: Wilsonville, OR

Bio:  Terry started playing cornet in grade school and continued for eight years during junior high and high school.  He also participated for four years in stage, pep, and marching bands. Terry currently lives with his family in Wilsonville and works at a local software company. He has always had a love of music and is now sharing his talent, playing trumpet with the Minidoka Swing Band since the Fall of 2009.

Doug Hamilton, 3rd Trombone - Residence: Vancouver, WA

Bio: Doug plays in several bands and we are pleased to have him as a member of the Minidoka Swing Band.
 

Irv Peterson, 2nd Trombone - Portland, OR

Bio: A great musician for many years! Plays trumpet and trombone, composes music and has a very musical family including our MSB vocalist, Jo Peterson and son, MSB percussionist, Eric Peterson.

Morgan Dickerson, 4th Trombone - Portland, OR

Bio:  Morgan also plays in several bands and we are pleased to have him as a member of the Minidoka Swing Band.

Eric Olson, 1st and Bass/4th Trombone, Portland, OR

Bio:  Eric Olson is a retired elementary school teacher who plays trombone and tuba in a number of jazz bands and classical orchestras in the Portland area. He learned the brass instruments in school bands and is a graduate of Portland State University. He joined the Minidoka Swing Orchestra in 2011 to replace his former student Yuki Inoue who went away to college. Yuki joined Mr. Olson’s after-school marching band in the third grade and like hundreds of other North Portland students, was introduced to the music of Thelonious Monk.

Eric Peterson, Pecussion - Residence: Portland, OR

Bio:  Eric comes from a very musical family including his parents, Irv and Jo Peterson, both MSB musicians. He's got the rhythem going!!!

Doug Katagiri, Guitar - Residence: Beaverton, OR

Bio:  Doug Katagiri is from Portland, Oregon.  His parents and grandparents were all imprisoned in camps during World War II.  His participation in the Minidoka Swing Band is a tribute to honor all those who had to endure the camp experience and survive the irreversible disruption of their lives.
He has played guitar since the folk and garage band craze of the 1960s, although he was only introduced to big band music when Robbie Tsuboi recruited him to be one of the original members of the Minidoka Swing Band. He currently lives in Beaverton, Oregon, works as a graphic designer at the Oregon Zoo, plays rock and blues in several "geezer" bands, drums in an Irish bagpipe band, and sings in an a cappella quartet.

Kokichi Tagawa, Bass/keyboard - Residence: Portland, OR

Bio:  Kokichi Tagawa is a

 native of Japan. Kokichi has always been passionate about jazz, playing in night clubs after work. In 1992 at the age of 46 he moved from Japan to Boston, Massachusetts to attend Berklee College of Music. He studied 

Jazz Melodica(Pianica), Jazz Piano, Vibraphone, Drums, E.Bass, Composition.

 

 

He has lived in Portland, Oregon from 2012 - Present. Before that he resided in Lexington, Kentucky from 2002 - 2012.

 

 

Kokichi graduated magna cum laude from Berklee College of Music in 1995, in Jazz Composition with Vibraphone. He studied with Gary Burton, Ed Saindon, Ted Pease.

 


 

 

Jack Vogel, Bass - Residence: Hillsboro, OR

 



Lonny Doi, Piano/Keyboard, Residence: Portland, OR -  

Bio:
 
 

VOCALISTS:

Henry "Shig" Sakamoto, Vocalist - Residence: Portland, OR

BIO: Henry Shig Sakamoto, born and raised in Portland, Oregon, the third son of Japanese immigrant parents.  Growing up as an American citizen was normal until the Government of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941.

The flames of race prejudice fanned by the press and the politicians led to the incarceration of 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry off the West Coast of the U.S.

Graduated from high school in the Minidoka, Idaho, Detention Camp.  Started college at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio in 1944.

Served in the U.S. Army from 1946 to 1947.

Graduated from the University of Oregon, June 1951 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

My work experience was primarily in Portland, Oregon.  First, 32 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, then 3 years with the Oregon Wheat Commission and finally, as a self-employed consultant to the wheat industry for 7 years.

My musical experience started by listening to the recorded music of the Big Bands of the late 30’s and early 40’s.  This was particularly intense during the detention time at Minidoka.

While at Ohio Wesleyan University I sang as part of the Dishwashers Choir, a group of students working their way through college.

Subsequently, a closet singer until the mid-1980’s as Karaoke singing became popular.  This led to other public singing when cocktail lounge pianists were willing to accompany my singing.

A potential grand finale for my vocalizing was offered by the late Robbie Tsuboi, who created and inspired the Minidoka Swing Band and asked me to join as a male vocalist.

I am very grateful to the musicians of the MSB who have been helpful and patient with the only member who does not read music.


Nola Sugai Bogle, Vocalist - Residence: Vancouver, WA

Bio: Born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1938 to a Japanese American father and Chinese American mother, Nola grew up in a musical environment.  Her parents, Don and Pil Sugai, loved music from Andy Russell, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday and Billy Eckstine.  During World War II she and her family were interned at Minidoka Idaho.  There she remembers hearing big bands and singers performing over the radio.

Fast forward to 1958, when a friend entered her in a local talent/beauty contest in Ontario, Oregon.  She says she won first place in talent, singing “Moonlight In Vermont.”  She soon moved to Boise, ID where she learned her craft in the early ‘60’s, working as a legal secretary during the day and singing in clubs at night.  She learned to play cocktail drums, and found herself working more gigs as a singer/drummer, being fortunate to work with some of the top jazz musicians in the area.  After two years, she joined a group in the Lake Tahoe area and worked both the North and South Shore clubs  for about 6 months. 

Nola moved to Portland, OR  in 1964, where she met, worked for, and subsequently married Sidney Porter.  Porter was a pianist who owned his own jazz club, called Sidney's.  They worked together for 4 years and had two daughters before he passed away from lung cancer.  After Sidney’s death in 1970, she worked at the Beachcombers in Lake Oswego with noted guitarist, Buddy Fite; at the Benson Hotel Lobby Bar, with Dick Blake and David Friesen; the Union Avenue Social Club, with Harry Gillgam, and Bill’s Gold Coin with Herb Hall.  She finally retired in 1973, returning to office work and raising her two daughters, Ericka and Tiffany. 

In 1976 she met, and later married Dick Bogle, then the first African American Television News anchor.  They were married for 33 years, and their blended family boasts 5 children, 13 grandchildren and  3 great grandchildren.  Dick Bogle passed away in 2010. 

Once, when attending a concert at The Old Church, she was called up from the audience to sing a song with the group.  Later, she was asked if she would appear in a benefit concert for The Old Church.  After many years of singing in smoky, noisy clubs, the setting of performing before a small concert audience was both warm and exhilarating.

In 1999, she met Portland jazz pianist Darrell Grant, then Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at Portland State University.  Grant worked with her on the concert and a couple of other small gigs.  He asked if she had ever recorded, and when she answered “no”, he told her he would like to work with her on a CD.  After over two decades in retirement, she finally recorded her first ever CD.  It highlighted her wide range of material with a  plethora of Portland’s finest resident musicians: Darrell Grant, piano; Andre St. James, bass; Mel Brown, drums; Thara Memory, trumpet; Warren Rand, alto sax; Mike Horsfall, vibes, Dan Faehnle, guitar; Israel Annoh, percussion; Sammy Epstein, clarinet; and Pansy Chang, cello.  “Something Cool” was the result.  It came out in June of 2001.

In recent years, Nola has appeared in several of the yearly Portland Jazz Festivals and various other gigs with pianists Janice Scroggins, Tony Pacini, Greg Goebel and Phil Goldberg, bassists, Andre St. James, Ed Bennett and Dennis Caiazza, and drummers Mel Brown and Ron Steen. 

In 2008, Robbie Tsuboi asked her to join the Minidoka Swing Band as one of their vocalists.  Having always worked with small groups, this was a definite challenge, but one she welcomed and at which she continues to work hard.  Looking at Nola today it’s hard to believe she was singing and working in Boise, Idaho in the early 1960’s.  That equates to over five decades of entertaining on stage with some time outs for marriage and raising her two beautiful daughters.   And, she's still at it!!


Andy Streich, Vocalist - Residence: White Salmon, WA

Bio: Andy has an exceptional tenor voice and can sing that SWING like nobody's business!  Of course in his younger days he started out as a rock 'n roll singer in his home town of Hood River, OR.  Andy now owns his own business, Streich' Auto Glass, in White Salmon, WA which serves the Columbia Gorge.  As a special note, much to the band's delight, Andy is the son of MSB vocalist, Nola Sugai Bogle.


Jo Peterson, Vocalist - Residence: Portland, OR

Bio:  JoAnne Peterson has sang with her dad since the age of three.  Along her career she has sang with a variety of bands and loves to dance.  She dances swing, bosanova, cha-cha and many other dances.  Jo's husband plays trombone in the Minidoka Swing band and she has become a treasured vocalist for the band.  She start singing with the Minidoka Swing Band in January, 2009 as a temporary rreplacement for Nola Bogle as Nola took a hiatus to care for her husband.  And . . . then we kept her!