2002 Grammy Award winning musician Bobby Flores is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, arranger, producer, composer and first call session musician. He studied music theory and classical violin at Trinity University under the late Dominick Saltarelli, jazz guitar with Jackie King, and classical guitar with David Underwood. Bobby is featured on over four hundred albums, CDs and singles, including performances with numerous artists on major labels. He composes music for radio and television commercials airing throughout the U.S., Europe, and Australia. While Bobby feels at home in the country, pop-rock, jazz, blues, Latin and classical genres, he also enjoys composing for and performing with string quartets.
In 1968 at the age of seven, Bobby started his professional career by performing at local functions and Texas area circuits in a gospel duo with his mother Mary Jane Flores. Two years later Bobby began working nightclubs as a featured single artist with George Chambers & The Country Gentlemen, a well-known San Antonio area country band.
The next 10 years would set the precedence for Bobby’s career. He formed his first band at the age of thirteen and started opening for national artists such as Marty Robbins, Johnny Rodriguez, Tanya Tucker and Conway Twitty. To coincide with Bobby’s live performances he was also chosen to be a feature spokesman for the regional Big Red soft drink television commercials. Shortly afterward he recorded the first of four charting country singles and released his first LP album on the San Antonio based Joey Records.
By the middle 80’s, Bobby had become bandleader, show opener and fiddle player for Johnny Bush and the Bandoleros, vocalist/guitarist for Top 40 and rock bands, “Gone City” and “The Boiz,” and was also performing with the Trinity University Community Orchestra.
In 1988, along with brother, Greg, and sister, Sandra, Bobby formed the band Angel Fire and played the Texas “A” circuit until 1997, opening for numerous country superstars including George Strait and Garth Brooks. Shortly thereafter, he toured the US and Canada with David Kersh (Curb Records), including performances for Prime Time Country on TNN and numerous radio shows.
As fate would have it, this turn of events led him to his dream job by becoming first violin/fiddle player for Ray Price through 2001. This also inspired Bobby to record his debut CD, Just For The Record. He has since released an addititional six CD’s.
In 2002, Bobby received a Grammy Award for string and brass arrangements and violin performances on Freddy Fender’s CD, La Musica de Baldemar Huerta.
Bobby has received numerous awards over his music career, including being inducted into the "Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame" in 2007. Recognition from Governor Rick Perry came in 2010, for his 40 years in the music industry. He was inducted into the Western Swing Society Hall of Fame in 2013, the Country Music Association of Texas Hall of Fame in 2014, and the Independent Country Music Hall of Fame in 2017 in Nashville, TN. The state and national awards also continue to come, including "Western Swing Male" from the Ameripolitan Awards in 2015, the 2016 "Traditional/Classic Country Male Artist of the Year" from the Josie Music Awards, "Western Swing Male" from the AWA's Will Rodger's Awards in 2018 as well as the "Traditional/Classic Country Male Artist of the Year" and the "Entertainer of the Year" Awards from the Josie Music Awards in 2018.
"Bobby's recording of "I Wonder Who'll Turn Out The Lights" (from his "Festival" CD) is featured in the recent Tommy Lee Jones movie "Three Burials". His work on albums has had him nominated another two times for Grammy Awards. His record label, Yellow Rose Records, is also doing very well for him as he continues to produce great albums for a variety of artists (www.yellowroserecords.com).
Bobby Flores is continuously gaining recognition as one of Texas’ premier musicians and vocalists, both on stage and in the studio. Bobby can be heard all across Texas playing country dances with his band, The Yellow Rose Band, featuring three fiddles and some of the best musicians in the world. His music can be heard on radio stations all over including XM Radio’s “Willie’s Roadhouse”.
Bobby owns, directs and teaches at his live-performance music academy, the Bulverde Academy of Music, www.bam8.com and is joined there by several top notch music instructors on many instruments.
In addition, Bobby's recording and production talents have found a permanent home at B.A.M. Recording Studios in San Antonio, which Bobby owns. The ProTools studio features full recording and production capabilities, a grand piano, Rode and Neumann mics and the very best in mic pres. To contact the studio, please call 830-438-3565 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, check out the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BobbysAudioMachine.
RJ Smith is a classically trained violinist as well as an outstanding fiddle player. She began studying violin at the age of 9, and at 16, joined a top high-school orchestra program at a local private school. During her 2 years there, she served as the principal 2nd violinist and a 1st violin section player. R.J. also served as the concertmaster of another local youth orchestra and played percussion in a youth concert band. She began studying classical piano and voice during this time as well. After graduation, RJ enrolled in college in South Carolina. While there, she majored in Spanish, but continued her violin studies through all 4 years with a minor in music. Along with her violin studies, she studied piano, percussion, theory and orchestration. RJ also performed with the University orchestra as well as in the pit orchestra during performances by the university opera association. She was also selected for and performed with the first South Carolina All-State Collegiate Orchestra.
After college graduation, RJ spent 3 years riding colts as an apprentice horse trainer. This brought her to Texas, and it was here where she heard Western Swing, Traditional Country and the music of Bob Wills and Ray Price for the first time. In 2006, she gave up her ranch job to focus on her first love, music, and began studying fiddle this time, with a focus on Western Swing, Traditional Country and Jazz. In February of 2007, she met and began studying fiddle with Bobby Flores at Bulverde Academy of Music. Just six months into her studies, she joined Bobby Flores’ Yellow Rose Band, as well as started teaching violin/ fiddle and music theory at Bulverde Academy of Music.
Since that time, RJ has toured with Bobby's band throughout Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana and several other states in addition to performing overseas at the Festival Rendezvous du Country in France, the Northern Nashville Country Festival in Scotland and the 31st International Country Music Festival in Switzerland. She has performed for the last five seasons on RFDTv’s TruCountry show and also on the KENS 5 morning show live. RJ has also been privileged to play on all nine of Bobby Flores’ Western Swing Cruises.
RJ has played for several other great artists and bands as well, including a performance with Ray Price in November of 2012 as a part of his string section. Truly a dream come true! Other notable artists she has performed with recently include Justin Trevino, George Chambers, the Drywater Band, the Bret Mullins Band, T Gozney Thornton, Kelly Spinks, Jimmie Bolado, Jim Raby Band, KR Wood and Gone To Texas, Nathan Colt Young, Allan Hendrickson and for Rick Orozco’s premiere and concert for his documentary film “This Is My Country”. At this event, RJ backed such great artists as Joel Guzman, Flaco Jimenez, Sunny Sauceda, Michael Salgado, Gabe Garcia and Rick Orozco.
The last few years have also seen the beginning of RJ’s recording and session career, including playing fiddle on Jim Chestnut’s album “Sipping Whiskey”. She also has released her first solo studio album, titled “Living My Dream”.
With all this going on, RJ still found time to study Studio Engineering with Damian Rodriguez at Bulverde Academy of Music and has become Staff Engineer at B.A.M. Recording Studios, with numerous great sessions in her credits already.
RJ is so thankful to have been given the chance to pursue what she loves and to “Live Her Dream”!
Armen Chakmakian developed his signature style of melding contemporary jazz with world music elements during his five-year stint as the keyboardist with Shadowfax. Since then, he has continued to experiment with various genres leading him to a new body of work composing source music and library music for television. He has amassed more than 1,000 credits since entering the field.
During this time, Armen made an important discovery. “The instrumental pieces I write are very autobiographical. My best tunes emerge from deep within while I’m composing for a special occasion or someone meaningful in my life, “ he recalls. This awakening led him to compose his first solo album, Ceremonies after experiencing a number of endings and new beginnings in both his personal and professional relationships. “It was such a transformational period during the mid-nineties filled with graduations, weddings and transitions of birth death and renewal that I was inspired to compose music to reflect these rites of passage.”
In addition to his solo career and time with Shadowfax, Armen has contributed to a variety of other project and productions including performing as keyboardist and backing vocalist for Roger Hodgson (co-founder of Supertramp) on his 2017 South American tour, Sophie B. Hawkins‘ theater production of Room 105: ‘Room 105: The Highs and Lows of Janis Joplin‘, Cirque du Soliel’s flagship show Saltimbanco, original music music on chill-out series Buddha-Bar and Buddha-Bar IV, co-producing DOUG LUNN PROJECT featuring drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, and guitarists Mike Keneally and Peter Maunu for the AbstratLogix label, Orientica, a 13-track CD compiled by Peter Tremi, Feather on the Wind, a Native American album by Golana (he co-wrote and performed on Above the Sky). Tumbleweeds, a soundtrack featuring the Shawn Jones Band (he co-wrote and performed Long Way Down), and performed as the keyboardist for Miles Beyond by Suzanne Teng & Mystic Journey and Come Alive by Jefferson Thomas and several albums with the Shawn Jones Band .
After returning from a nine-month tour of South America as the keyboardist for Cirque du Soleil’s flagship show, Saltimbanco in 2006, Armen found himself in demand from a variety of television programs including Telepictures Productions: Extra, TMZ, The Tyra Banks Show, Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Judge Mathis. In addition he has also contributed his original compositions to a variety of other shows such as Oprah, HBO’S Real Sex Series, The Amazing Race, Modern Marvels and NBC’s E-Ring.
In 2007, Armen scored his first film, a short entitled Cup Half Empty, which was written and directed by Jeff Bergman. He also scored two animation projects for JPL’s NASA laboratories. Additionally, he has contributed an original song, Long Way Down to the Tumbleweeds’ film and soundtrack, a production that was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize, the Filmmaker’s Trophy at Sundance; the tune, Done Nothing for Me to an episode of E-Ring, and the song, Enchantress” to Malcolm in the Middle.
“I love the collaborative process of working with a director to put music to moving pictures. There is something magical that happens when you create a piece of music that takes the scene to the next level. After spending years recording albums and touring with bands and productions, I was ready for something that was bigger than just the music itself, and I find this process extremely gratifying,” reflects Armen. In 2014, the critically-acclaimed documentary, Orphans of the Genocide received an EMMY Nomination for which Armen had composed the theme.
A native of Glendale, California, Armen attended the Berklee College of Music, UCLA and USC. His television and film composing credits can be accessed at IMDB.com.
Amanda Bryant is a singer/performer originally from North Carolina, but now happily performing and teaching the greater San Antonio, Texas area. Having been raised in a very musical family, Amanda began performing on stage at age four with her mother. From there she continued performing on stages around eastern United States.
As a studied performer, she has acquired skills and techniques in multiple genres like rock, indie, pop, jazz, blues, gospel, classical, oratorio, opera and even rap! She has performed in broadway-style musicals, operas and many showcases. She has performed with the North Carolina Symphony, South Carolina Master Chorale, Lynchburg Choral Union, Opera on the James, Houston Symphony Chorus, and Opera in the Heights and several churches as a soloist. Ms. Bryant frequently performs on stages around Texas (NRG Arena/Stadium, Revention Center (Bayou Music Center), Houston Rodeo, performing for the Houston Astros, Houston Women's Roller Derby, and the list goes on) but is passionate about bringing people to their potential in their music and performing. With over 15 years of teaching private, professional lessons, Ms. Bryant continues to inspire others in music to audiences and her students.
Travis Davis is a professional working pianist and arranger in San Antonio and the Central Texas area. Through the Suzuki method, he was classically trained from the age of 4. Upon graduating San Marcos HS as Drum Major in 1999, he attended Texas State University where he earned a BA in Jazz Studies and a MM in Performance, with a concentration in Latin music. During his time there he directed “Orquesta del Rio” and had the unique opportunity to study under Dr. James Polk, who was arranger for the legendary Ray Charles. He also won an Outstanding Performer award from the prestigious Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival.
Since then, Travis has performed in festivals across the world in Germany, France, Switzerland, Mexico and Taiwan. Also, he has played on 3 Grammy award-winning albums with Little Joe y La Familia, Justo Almario with Henry Brun and The Latin Playerz, and Grupo Fantasma from Austin, Tx. Some of the notable names he has performed with include Augie Meyers, Flaco Jimenez, Eddie Palmieri, Tito Puente Jr., Jose Madera, Johnny “Dandy” Rodriguez, Frankie Vasquez, original Spanish Harlem Orchestra members Chino Nuñez and Chimbo Corniel, Javon Jackson, Dave Samuels, as well as Marcus Printup and Andre Hayward from the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
Locally, Travis has been the accompanist at First United Methodist Church in New Braunfels since 2010. He has also served as featured performer and clinician at the Vidal M. Trevino School of Fine Arts and Communication in Laredo. Since 2012 he has been a member and musical director of Johnny P The Wiseguys. He also plays around town with Natiao Latin Jazz, King William Jazz Quartet, and Henry Brun and The Latin Playerz.
Grant Benjamin is a powerhouse musician, possessing silvery vocals, swift and sleek guitar skills, along with his rockin' look.
Nine years ago, Grant began his journey with music through his actions of being self-taught, stamping himself as one of San Antonio's rarities in the rock music scene. Before filling up his schedule with local gigs and his current position as a guitarist for Six Flags, Grant spent his musical years with guitar at North East School of the Arts under Mark Twehues. He performed for many of NESA's Musican theater productions, even performing some of his own impressive written originals. After graduating, Grant spent his time focusing on his skills in live performance, grabbing gigs at local areas in San Antonio. During this time, Grant's skills were so valued that NESA called him back to keep the same performance atmosphere that Grant provided for their shows.
Grant plans on focusing on becoming a professional musician with his guitar skills, in addition to giving students who aspire to be a musician plenty of guidance, inspiring students to climb their ladder in their journey with guitar. Grants following. musical plans are focused on his band, Grant Benjamin's Undervention, exhibiting his original music with his band. WIth his plethora of experience in performing, teaching, and written originals, Grant will continue to grow alongside BAM Music Studios along with his students!
Flicka Rahn is an internationally known performer, teacher, sound therapist and composer. She is retired as Professor of Voice at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi where she taught for twenty-two years. She has also served on the faculties of Brandeis University, the Boston Conservatory of Music, and the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. Ms. Rahn has sung major operatic roles throughout the United States, appearing as guest artist with companies such as the Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Concert Opera, Minnesota Grand Opera, and San Antonio Opera. She has performed on the stages of major concert halls both here and abroad, including the Boston Academy of Music, Boston Symphony Hall, and Carnegie Hall. Her most recent international recital appearances were in Bolivia, Spain, and Mexico as part of a Cultural Music Exchange showcasing American Art Song with author and pianist, Ruth Friedberg. Also with Ruth Friedberg, Ms. Rahn has performed, in the duo called “Los Bilbilicos”, a large repertoire of Ladino Song in many venues. As a Fulbright scholar, in 2011 she traveled to the University of Queretaro, Mexico, and taught courses on American Art Song and American Musical Theater. Rahn’s art songs have been published in the Southern Music Co. series of Art Songs by American Women Composers and she has participated in numerous conferences featuring the works of American women composers.
Emily Bayardo is a session vocalist who took the San Antonio pop-punk scene with her spunky and fierce style, along with her powerful and passionate vocals, by storm. Emily Bayardo has been on one cross-country tour and multiple Texas tours. Along with recording and writing all of her original music, Bayardo is the lead vocalist for Finding September, a high-octane alternative/pop-punk band whose fusion gives them an in-your-face edge, sharpened by their musical prowess and professionalism. Along with Emily’s touring and her excellent talents in writing, Emily has focused a lot of her abilities not only on vocals but also in her high-energy music videos. Her band Finding September has played many covers for plenty of memorable pop-punk bands. In addition, a lot of Emily’s talents have been highlighted in many of her professional and energetic music videos, such as “Fools Gold” - Finding September, and “Hostage” - Finding September, which can be found on their Finding September youtube channel. Emily is a classically trained artist who has been studying voice for five years and is continuing her journey through writing music and teaching students here at BAM Music Studios. With her past studying under Sonya Florie, Emily Bayardo has developed a significant and genuine teaching style for her students that has continued to grow and flourish throughout their journey with vocal instructing.
Renee’ Coale Willis is a prolific and accomplished professional singer/songwriter. She began her career at the age of 13, when she started shaping her thoughts, emotions and experiences into songs and performing publicly. Renee’ grew up in the rural Texas Gulf Coast town of Blessing, amidst rice fields and cattle ranches, in a family where music was a dominant every day feature. Her writing is a reflection of her southern roots with an insightfulness and honesty that quickly endears listeners to her music. Renee’s voice is strong, pure and full of emotion.
Renee’ earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, then moved to Nashville, TN in 1988 to join the professional songwriting community. Her songs are catalogued with such prestigious publishers as Almo-Irving, Hayes Street Music, Moraine Music Group, and Universal. Renee’ has had songs recorded by various artists in the U.S. and abroad. She achieved platinum level status with Sony artist, Rick Trevino, on his debut album with “Life Can Turn On a Dime,” a song co-written with Austin Cunningham and Allen Shamblin. The song was also featured on the Sony produced, Common Ground album. Renee’ penned, along with three army wives, “Charm of the Army (A Tribute to the Army Wife)” and “Rolling Along With the Army (A Tribute to the Army Spouse),” which have rapidly gained popularity on posts around the world when they gather for various social occasions and ceremonies. In 2016, the esteemed Bluebird Café produced a benefit album, “Keeping It Original for Alive: A Celebration of Songwriters Benefiting Alive Hospice”, and chose her song, “Love Is a Higher Power,” a collaboration with singer/songwriter, Billy Montana.
Renee’ is a professional member of the Nashville Songwriters Association International, of which she served from 1994-1995 on the Steering Committee, primarily addressing rapidly arising royalty issues related to internet downloading. She is also a voting member of the Country Music Association, and has been a registered songwriter with the BMI performing rights organization since 1989. Renee’ has her own song publishing company, Little Blessing Music. She has recorded three CD’s featuring her original songs: A Front Porch, A Kitchen Table and God, Love Is All That Matters, and Small Town Deep Within.
Renee’ has taught songwriting workshops and classes throughout her career. She was invited in 2011 to teach a formal self-written course on the fundamentals of professional songwriting as an adjunct professor at her alma mater, Trinity University, for the fall semester. Since 2013, she has been teaching her songwriting course for Incarnate Word High School, an all-girls college preparatory curriculum. She has additionally taught at the Warrior and Family Support Center at Ft. Sam Houston, and in various continuing education programs. She is a faculty member at the Bulverde Academy of Music, a conservatory for budding songwriters, musicians and sound engineers. Other writing credits include, “Manners for Life,” a short course addressing etiquette and civility for young women. Renee’ is also working on writing children’s books and a collection of inspirational thoughts based on life lessons. One of her aspirations for the future is to collaborate with various co-writers to create music for a theatrical play. She divides her professional time between Texas and Tennessee, and loves touring and performing with songwriter colleagues. Renee’ also participates in fund-raising concerts for non-profits, and is an inspirational and motivational speaker.
Tom Osuna earned his B.M. and Master’s degree with Honors in Guitar Performance from the USC Thornton School of Music. He has 30 years of teaching experience as a private instructor, and over twenty years as a college faculty member, lecturer, and clinician. Tom served on the faculty of USC Thornton School of Music for 10 years writing core curriculum for degree candidates, East Los Angeles College Music Faculty for 20 years teaching classical and contemporary guitar, and Occidental College Music Faculty for 6 years teaching jazz guitar. He is an expert in the styles of jazz, classical, rock, country, folk, and contemporary music with an emphasis on authenticity. He has taught university preparation workshops for students preparing for music school acceptance qualification, all of whom have been accepted into prestigious universities. He is an active studio musician, has contributed to many film and television soundtracks, and is a live performer in a wide variety of classic and contemporary styles.
Tom has been directing three children’s bands here at the South Pasadena Music Center and Conservatory, with kids ranging from ages 8 to 12 years old. All three of these children’s bands participated in a benefit concert, where they were able to raise $625 for the LA Mission in 2017. Tom also works as a music director for professional touring bands.
Tom’s favorite moments in his teaching career are times when he sees his students reach their goals, whether it be them playing in a concert or getting accepted into their college of choice. He believes that talent is something that everyone possess and anyone who is determined and willing to work hard is capable of creating great music. Tom loves being able to see his students achieve something so artistic and creative in their music careers, and knowing that his teaching is making a difference in their lives brings him great joy.
Tom describes his teaching style as comprehensive, thorough, and academic yet also playful and creative. He uses a combination of traditional methods with contemporary concepts. His approach for each student is different depending on their personality and how they learn. To Tom, it is important that his students are not only learning but also having fun.