Matt "Sinatra" Williams (Vocalist)
Matt is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and has been singing ever since he could walk. He grew up singing in local bands and at church, and says he has been a 'Rat Pack' lover for as long as he can remember. Included in his movie collection, which numbers in the thousands, he has music documentaries and quite a few Rat Pack media. He also has a lot of Victor Borge material.
Matt is first and foremost an entertainer. He loves to entertain the crowd. "If they aren't feeling it", he - in his own words - "have failed them". He also plays trumpet, drums and piano. "I started playing trumpet in elementary school and took private lessons at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. Why trumpet? My mother forced me to play an instrument - leaving the choice of which one up to me. I chose the trumpet because I liked the way the case smelled."
He grew up loving big bands and dancing to their music. In addition to having played in a number of bands, and a lot of studio session work, Matt is also a dancer and for a while danced with the Baltimore Dance Theater. His favorite tunes are those with "bounce" because it "really don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing". He loves anything by Frank Sinatra (and is called 'Matt Sinatra' by friends) and loves the Rat Pack. In addition to jazz, anything by the Tower of Power, especially the song "Maybe It'll Rub Off", which one of the bands he plays trumpet with is a favorite.
In addition to working with the Olney Big Band, Columbia Jazz Ensemble and One Flight Up R&B band, Matt is a producer and a vocal coach - having coached and produced several recording artists, including Grammy award winning Toni Braxton. Additionally, he has worked with and/or produced (1) Kevin Lyles (Former president of Def Jam Recordings, executive vice president of The Island Def Jam Music Group from 1999 to 2004; (2) former executive vice president for Warner Music Group); (3) Traci Hamlin (Pieces of a Dream); and (4) Roy Ayers, to name a few. Artists he has worked with have appeared at The Apollo, on movie soundtracks, CDs, DVDs and in plays. Matt has performed on stage with the likes of Parliament/Funkadelic, Kool & the Gang, Donald Byrd and the Blackbyrds and others. He has also produced commercials for restaurants and has done voice-overs for Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
But as he says, his one true love has always been jazz and he loves singing with the Olney Big Band.
Brad Bawek (Vocalist)
Brad’s earliest recollection of performing is his parents bundling him up against the Minnesota cold and trundling him and his siblings around town to sing Christmas carols. When he wasn’t performing at church, school, or social functions, he was singing along with Lawrence Welk every Saturday night.
Brad attended the University of Minnesota where he studied commercial design and music. He kept the lights on by touring the upper Midwest with the Snowy Wood Band and as a member of the house band at Daddy’s
Money in Dinkytown, MN. At one point, Brad even found himself working as a singing waiter! After Brad moved to DC, he continued to perform for weddings and private functions. In 2004, at the insistence of his amazing wife, Alison, he auditioned for the Olney Big Band (OBB). Being accepted into the OBB was a moment of pure joy. It was cathartic, and Brad knew that he had come full circle from his days of singing along with Lawrence Welk.
In 2014, Brad left the OBB, but rejoined them in 2018 for their 10th anniversary performance of Swing! Swing! Swing! He is honored to be back singing with such an incredible group of amazing musicians.
Brad has entertained audiences at such celebrated venues as the Terp Ballroom, Olney Theatre Center, Strathmore Arts Center, Blues Alley, Black Rock Arts Center, Carroll Arts Center and the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. He has made it his mission to keep the spirit of the Great American Songbook alive through his work with the Olney Big Band, The Sunday Night Big Band, and personal appearances as a soloist or part of his combo, Jazz Asylum.
Barbara Bauer (Vocalist)
Barbara Bauer knew from a very young age that she wanted to be a singer. Raised in
Adelphi, MD, she participated in many groups and shows until age 18, when she began singing
professionally in D.C. clubs with her band Phamili. Meanwhile, her vocal coach Art Calevas helped
expand her repertoire with music from The American Songbook.
Later, she joined the traveling show band The Sidewalk Arcade. As their singer, Barbara traveled the
U.S., Canada, and Mexico for 3 1/2 years, then ended up back in Maryland. Once established again
in D.C., she sang for many years at the Washington Hilton Hotel with her own band Barbara Bauer
and Friends, then at numerous hotels and venues with a big band called Ambience.
Barbara found her long-term home in March 1985 with the dance band Fresh Air, with whom she
performed as a lead singer until 2018. She also found her husband of 30+ years in the band’s leader
and trombonist, Jim Templin.
Barbara took a few years off after deciding to leave the singing of Top 40 hits to the younger
generations, but realized she still wanted to perform. “I don’t think I’m finished yet. I want to sing all
of those classic songs I’ve rarely gotten a chance to sing!” She found her opportunity when she was
approached by the Olney Big Band.
Barbara lives in Silver Spring with her husband and 4 cats. She is retired from MCPS after 26 years
as a para-educator, and enjoys visiting her two adult daughters and young grandson in California