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.
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.
Todd Yuzuriha, Lead Trumpet - Residence: Vancouver, WA
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.
Michael Powers, 3rd and 4th Trombone - Vancouver, WA
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.
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.
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: 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!