The Apostles Jazz Standards Band
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Carol Carol •  Willie •  Mark •  David •  Joe •  Chris •  Dennis •  Dan
Carol Carol Nesbitt - Vocals
Carol has been entertaining crowds for more than thirty years. As a former Miss South Dakota, she traveled the state and around the world singing from Mt. Rushmore to the Berlin Wall. Carol was invited to be part of the Miss America USO Tour in 1981 and traveled throughout Germany and Italy entertaining American troops. She has sung and played keyboards in a number of popular bands over the years, including "Kicks" and "Madison Avenue." She has been a featured entertainer at the Miss South Dakota Pageant for many years and has also been a co-host several times. In addition, Carol frequently sings on area jingles-from Sturdevant's Auto Parts to Royal River Casino, Bank West, and Party America. She sang all three parts of a Casino Omaha jingle that won a local and regional Addy Award. Carol does frequent voiceover work for area advertising agencies.

Along with her niece, Kelly Kangley Kayser, Carol has performed at many large conventions, including a recent opportunity to sing for former First Lady Laura Bush.

Carol and Curt, her husband of twenty-nine years, have four children and one grandson. Carol is a frequent vocalist at her church and enjoys singing with the Sioux Falls Municipal Band in her spare time.

Willie Willie Bertsch - Vocals
Willie is a very talented stage performer with thirty-five years of experience as a lead singer. He has fronted groups that played Rock & Roll, Rhythm & Blues, Soul, Classic Rock, Funk, and Jazz standards. Willie has been around the music scene since his college days at the University of Sioux Falls. There he teamed up with students from Augustana College as the original lead singer for the seven-piece show band, "The Fabulous Apostles." This Rhythm & Blues band played extensively throughout the Midwest. Willie has been a resident of of Sioux Falls for the last thirty-five years, and finally has found the group he has been waiting for—a very experienced group, musically and vocally, that knows what it takes to entertain on any occasion. Their knowledge in stage appearance, musical equipment, lighting, and of course song selection will give you a very professional group for your event.

Willie is an original members of "The Apostles," and was inducted into the South Dakota Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for 2010.

Mark Mark Law - Bass
Mark has been surrounded by music his whole life. At an early age, he was exposed to Classical and Jazz music. In 1972, after seven years of piano lessons and three years of violin lessons, Mark picked up an electric bass guitar and has never put it down. His first public performances were at high school band concerts in a five piece group named "Electrophorus". Mark helped to introduce the parents to Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young, Eric Clapton and Jethro Tull.

His first professional gig was the 1975 Senior Prom in Beresford, SD. The following year he joined a blues band while in college in Illinois. For Mark, country, folk, bluegrass, and classic rock were followed by jazz and contemporary Christian. Starting in 1993, many late nights at Skelly's sitting in with his future wife, Connie, and Dan Larson gave him the confidence to dive into the wonderful world of jazz. A host of gifted mentors from SDSU and the Brookings jazz scene later helped him learn many of the best jazz standards. It has kept him busy ever since.

"The Apostles are a great group of gifted musicians. It is always fun to make music with them." The Apostles are happy to have someone of Mark's skill in their midst. "It's not often you can throw a lead to a bass player," says Apostles singer Carol Nesbitt, "but Mark Law has extraordinary skills and it's a joy to listen to him."

Dave David Hofstad - Drums, Vocals
David is a drummer, singer and songwriter. After moving to S.D. in the 60's he began drumming with the popular horn band 'The Talismen', playing extensively throughout the region.

In the 70's, he joined with other local musicians to form the original music group 'Blueberry Buckle'. The group played from Denver to Chicago and everywhere in between, and included members Boyd Bristow on guitar, and singer Susan Osborn, who later received a Grammy from her work with Sony records.

The 80's brought a couple fun little opportunities for David, playing with Nashville's 'Stan Gunn Show', 'Myron Lee & the Cadies', and 'Rocket 88', an R&B group featuring guitarist Dave Wood.

In the 90's, David had the privilege of recording two SD Public Radio programs featuring his original music. It was also in the 90's that he ran into a group of 70's horn band mates from the Talismen and Pilgrims, and reinvented a spin-off group 'Special Delivery'.

In the new century, David has released a CD of original music sponsored by the SD Arts Council featuring long time friend, Grammy guitarist Mike Miller (Chick Corea, Bette Midler, Gino Vannelli). David continues to play with multiple regional musicians, and is the regular drummer for the Fox Network's 'Celebrate' band from Our Savior's Lutheran in Sioux Falls. David is also the drummer for the compelling indigenous artist Vince Two Eagles. Vince's group 'Otakahe' reunites David, Boyd, and bassist Terry Pospisil to round out a group that shouldn't be missed. Visit his website here!

David is excited to be playing now with the other 'seasoned' musicians from the Apostles, and adds great vocals and his own skilled drumming talents. The other Apostles are thrilled to have him on board!

Joe Joe Hurley - Keys, Vocals
Joe began playing keyboards at the age of 4 and won his first Yamaha Midwest Regional Festival when he was 15. (Judges at this competition included Billy Preston and Champ Champaign.)

A career that started out as a church organist in 2nd grade escalated to a performer who has played in 49 states and 6 Countries. Joe Hurley helped launch Wurlitzer's Omni 6000 Organ World Wide. In addition to his duties as a Concert Artist, he's also conducted many Organ workshops for beginners and accomplished organist as well. He's thrilled many audiences on the Mighty Wurlitzer, the world's largest Theatre Organ located at Wurlitzer's Corporate Headquarters, but he is just as comfortable entertaining small groups in an informal setting.

Dennis Dennis Gale - Guitar
Denny, a South Dakota native, has been playing guitar since 1961 and has been in bands since his first high school group in 1964. Notable bands that used his lead guitar skills through his high school and college years include the Tensions, the Gemini 6 and the Talismen. Those groups played mainly top 40 and rhythm and blues.

After sitting out for about four years in the mid 1970s, Denny moved to Sioux Falls in 1980 and played with several groups, including the Chosen Few, the horn band Special Delivery and the variety trio Mogen's Heroes -- a group that utilizes his vocal skills and features tight harmonies.

Denny has played guitar and bass in church bands since 1990 and currently is with the Celebrate band at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls. Denny also has written and arranged sacred music for the church choir and the worship band.

A recent addition to his repertoire is jazz. Denny has loved big band and small ensemble classic jazz for years, and within the last decade, he got a chance to play it. Filling in with the Apostles Jazz Standards band is a perfect fit for his guitar style and his taste in music.


Dan Dan Peterson - Guitar
Dan Peterson got his musical start at an early age taking piano lessons and learning to play the ukelele at the age of seven or eight. He soon graduated to the guitar and spent a lot of time playing along with the record player learning songs by CCR, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana and the Allman Brothers and many others popular artists. In high school he connected with the Apostles current bass player Mark Law and they performed in a band at high school concerts.

He played with several bands while attending college and then didn't perform for about seven years. He was then persuaded by Mark to join a variety band called "On The Air" that Mark was playing in. This started a musical association with Mark that has lasted for twenty five years or so. They performed in that band for about fifteen years before it dissolved. After that he fronted the blues band called "North Main Blues Revue" for a number of years. The last few years he has been playing mostly jazz standards with various musicians in the area. Dan says playing with the Apostles on a fill-in basis has been a lot of fun because they play a wide variety of music and one gets to shift musical gears frequently in a night's show.


Sam Sam Hasegawa - Keys, Sax, Flute (former member)
Sam got his start in music in Sioux Falls. At Washington High, he was the first-chair clarinetist in the band and orchestra and was first-chair in the all-state band and orchestra his senior year. As a mere high school student, Sam also played in the Sioux Falls Municipal Band and in orchestras for musicals put on by community groups. It was then that he also picked up the sax, which was his original first choice of instrument, and joined the Hursemen, a Sioux Falls band that played rock and soul. After high school, he joined Sad Lad and the Mourners, the Sioux Falls band which later became The Apostles. By that time, Sam was also playing flute. With The Apostles, Sam played all over the Midwest. He remembers those years as some of the best times of his life.

During the 1970s and the '80s, Sam pursued a career as a freelance writer in San Francisco and gave up performing. He never lost his love of music, however. For five years, he studied flute with Esther Landau, the flutist in City Winds, one of the Bay Area's leading woodwind quintets. He also started learning piano, taking occasional lessons from local rock and jazz pianists.

A reunion of the original Apostles in 1997 reawakened Sam's desire in performing. As the reunions turned into an annual event, Sam bought a digital piano and became the primary keyboard player for the reunion concerts. Several years ago, after not playing sax for decades, he bought an alto sax. Meanwhile, in 2000, he and his wife, Gail, bought a house in Sioux Falls and began to split their time between California and South Dakota. In 2003, they moved to Sioux Falls permanently.

For Sam, playing in the new Apostles group is a miracle. "These are the best musicians I've ever played with, and I'm having the time of my life," he says. "For me, being able to perform in a group like this one is something I never expected. It just doesn't get any better than this."

Sam, and Lead Singer Willie Bertsch are original members of "The Apostles," and were inducted into the South Dakota Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for 2010.

Chris Chris Champion - Guitar (former member)
Chris has been playing and teaching for over 40 years. Starting at the age of seven he studied classical guitar with Gabe Cornella in Phoenix Arizona. At the age of 15 he heard the legendary fingerstyle guitarist Leo Kottke for the first time on a PBS special and was inspired to learn the style. After a couple years of immersion into fingerpicking, two life changing events took place. Perusing through the channels on TV, Chris happened upon a guitar player named Larry Carlton playing a Gibson 335 and was absolutely fascinated by the concept of Jazz/Rock guitar and improvisation in general. Shortly thereafter a guitarist named Randy Buzzelli did a clinic at Chris' high school concerning a school in Hollywood CA. known as G.I.T. (Guitar Institute of Technology). In 1982 Chris began classes at G.I.T. ( Now known as Musicians Institute ) and he completed three of four ten week sessions before moving back to Phoenix to gain some much needed experience and practice time.

Throughout the mid 80's Chris was teaching private students in local Phoenix music stores. Chris honed his own skills by studying jazz at Arizona State University and performing in several working bands in the greater Phoenix area. In 1987 Chris went back to G.I.T. and finished the program graduating in November of that year. After again moving back to Phoenix he was fortunate enough to be part of the locally renowned fusion style group known as the Ten O'clock Band led by the great jazz pianist and ASU Jazz Dept. director Chuck Marohnic. This band also included the now New York based tenor player Tony Malaby on saxophones along with Todd Chuba on drums and Jim Simmons on bass.

In 1997 Chris' quartet ODD MAN OUT won the Phoenix New Times Best of Phoenix award for jazz groups. This band featured many of Chris' own compositions. The quartet included Bryon Ruth on tenor sax, Ted Sistrunk on bass and John Neish on Drums.

From 1997 -2008 Chris was the Jazz Guitar Instructor at Arizona State University. Among his duties besides the jazz guitar studio, Chris also taught beginning / advanced improvisation and coached combos. This time was also a great learning experience for Chris both as a player and a person. Under the direction of Chuck Marohnic till 2005 and Mike Kocour 2006-2008. Chris was afforded many great playing and learning opportunities. The Jazz faculty at ASU has always been top notch and working there proved to be an incredible adventure for Chris.

Recently relocating to South Dakota Chris is looking forward to becoming involved with the music scene in and around Sioux Falls.


Willie Bertsch 832 N. Columbia Circle, Sioux Falls, SD 57103 | cell: 605.413.7749 | 

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