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2022 Instructors
New instructors will be announced for 2023!

Mark Guiliana
(David Bowie/Brad Mehldau)

Mark Guiliana has become recognized as one of the world’s leading drummers, admired and in demand across the spectrum from jazz to rock to electronic music for his rhythmic sophistication, creative impulse and individual sound.

He has been in the vanguard of drummers creating a new vernacular on the instrument, blending virtuosity on acoustic drums with artfully deployed electronic beats and processing. Guiliana was chosen as Best Jazz Drummer in the Modern Drummer Readers Poll 2017, while DownBeat dubbed him a Rising Star in its Critics Poll. JazzTimes aptly proclaimed: “Guiliana, a technical master with a rare sense of musicality, has over the past decade become one of the most influential drummers of his generation.”

Along with leading his own groups – the acoustic Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet and electronica-minded Beat Music – the drummer has appeared on a string of acclaimed recordings with others. The verve and precision of Guiliana’s drumming was a primer mover of Blackstar, David Bowie’s multiple Grammy Award-winning final album.

Guiliana teamed with keyboardist Brad Mehldau as the duo Mehliana for the Nonesuch release Taming the Dragon, and he has also collaborated with such artists as saxophonist Donny McCaslin, guitar hero John Scofield, Soundgarden/Pearl Jam drummer-songwriter Matt Cameron, neo-soul singer-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello, guitarist-vocalist Lionel Loueke, jazz bassist Avishai Cohen, reggae/hip-hop artist Matisyahu and jazz singer Gretchen Parlato.

Simon Phillips
(Jeff Beck/The Who/Toto/Protocol)

Simon Phillips is by far one of the world's most renowned and respected drummers.

To date, he has toured and recorded with many bands and artists, including: Mick Jagger, The Who, Jeff Beck, Toto, Jack Bruce, Peter Gabriel, Joe Satriani, Tears for Fears, Judas Priest, Roxy Music, Michael Schenker, Nik Kershaw, Phd., Al DiMeola, 801, Pete Townshend, Russ Ballard, Robert Palmer, Stanley Clarke, The Pretenders, Jon Anderson, Whitesnake and Dave Gilmour... to name but a few.

In 1992 Simon decided to move to the USA, coinciding with being asked to join Toto for their world tour. In 1997 Simon took a break from Toto in order to reach a personal milestone: He took his own band on tour, and for the first time he was the bandleader, and it was his music. This great year included tours of Europe, Japan and The United States, and a performance at The North Sea Jazz Festival.

Expanding his career from drumming to writing solo projects, Simon recorded his first album "Protocol" in 1988, followed by "Force Majeure" in 1992. "Symbiosis", which he recorded in 1995, was as spirited but more inspired than ever, and showed a change of direction in the compositions. Simon likes to link his growth in songwriting and new artistic depth to his move to the States. The 1997 record "Another Lifetime" shows yet another layer of his tremendously resourceful playing and an even more motivated composing. "Out of the Blue", a live album, followed in 1998 and in 1999 another complete change of style took place in his latest record "Vantage Point", which is a pure, straight ahead jazz album.

Yet another expansion to Simon's musical career is producing and engineering, which he first started back in England with British composer Mike Oldfield, working on three albums with him. Aside from his solo projects, Simon also co-produced Toto's "Tambu" in 1995,followed by "Mindfields" in 1998. Simon was asked to engineer the latest Toto album, and spent a couple of months during the winter of2001/02 recording "Through the Looking Glass" in his own studio.

In 2000 Simon took a break from Toto and recorded with Derek Sherinian, formally of Dream Theater, as well as produced and engineered "Inertia". The following year included the recording of progressive band Planet X, "Moonbabies" and mixing a live CD "Live From Oz".

Steve Smith
(Journey/Steps Ahead/Vital Information)

Steve Smith is the iconic drummer best known for his work with legendary rock band Journey. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was named "one of the 25 best drummers of all time" by Modern Drummer magazine.

In 1976, Smith began his association with jazz-fusion by joining violinist Jean-Luc Ponty's group and recording the 1977 landmark fusion album Enigmatic Ocean. It was while touring with rocker Ronnie Montrose a year later that Smith was asked to join the popular rock band Journey which brought his playing to the attention of a rock audience.

With Journey, Smith toured the world and recorded numerous successful albums including
the immensely popular Escape (which includes the ubiquitous hit song “Don’t Stop Believin’”)
and Frontiers, both of which garnered the band many Top 40 hits. Journey’s albums have
sold in excess of 75 million copies worldwide to date. In 1985 Smith left Journey to pursue
his original passion, jazz, and to continue his developing career as a session player,
bandleader and educator. Over the past 40 years, Smith has played on hits with such diverse
artists as Bryan Adams, Mariah Carey, Andrea Bocelli and Ray Price.

Smith’s calendar often includes many drum clinics in which he is able to display his
phenomenal techniques and concepts to drumming students around the world. Smith's solos
and solid timekeeping served to gain him much acclaim from sources such as Modern
magazine, whose readers voted him the #1 Fusion Drummer of 2012 and 2105. In
2017 Steve topped an unprecedented three categories in the MD poll: #1 Rock Drummer, #1
MVP and #1 Educational Product for his Hudson Music book/DVD Pathways of Motion. In
2018 Modern Drummer readers voted Steve #1 Classic Rock Drummer.

Smith’s yearly touring commitments have included the all-star jazz group Steps Ahead and
jazz-fusion virtuosos Hiromi, Mike Stern, Bill Evans, Randy Brecker and tabla maestro Zakir
Hussain. Since 1983 Smith has led his own group Vital Information, which is touring to
support their latest BFM Jazz release Heart Of The City. Starting in 2019 Smith also tours
and records with his newest group, The Groove Blue Organ Trio, featuring Tony Monaco on
Hammond B3 and Vinny Valentino on guitar.

In 2016 Smith rejoined Journey and on April 7, 2017 Steve Smith, along with Journey band
members Gregg Rolie, Aynsley Dunbar, Neal Schon, Ross Valory, Jonathan Cain and Steve
Perry, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Dave Weckl
(Chick Corea/Mike Stern Band/Solo)

For more than 40 years, Dave Weckl has developed and maintained a reputation among fans, peers, and the international music community, as one of the great living drummers. His contributions to iconic music, music education, and the gear that drummers use, are many. Modern Drummer magazine has inducted Weckl into their Hall of Fame (2000) and named him "one of the 25 best drummers of all time."

After becoming a first call session player in New York City, Weckl joined Michel Camilo's band in the early 1980s. Camilo's bassist, the iconic Anthony Jackson, recommended Weckl for the prestigious 1983 Simon and Garfunkel reunion tour. This  lead to sessions with George Benson, Peabo Bryson, Diana Ross, Robert Plant, and many more.

In 1985, Michael Brecker recommended Weckl to Chick Corea for his new Elektric Band. That was the beginning of a seven-year relationship with both the Elektric and Akoustic bands where nine recordings and three videos were produced. The Akoustic Band release earned Weckl a Grammy and the band is once again up for a Grammy in 2022.

Weckl's solo career began in 1990 with the release of Master Plan. Co-written/produced with longtime friend/colleague Jay Oliver (Glenn Frey/Jimmy Buffett), the album was a watershed moment in Weckl's career. Some would say it ushered in a new generation of contemporary drumming. Weckl has recorded and produced nine other solo/leader recordings to date.

In 1998, Weckl realized his long-time goal of forming a world-touring band. The Dave Weckl Band released five studio records, including: Rhythm Of The Soul, Synergy, Transition, Perpetual Motion, and Multiplicity. The band also released a hot live album, LIVE (And Very Plugged In) plus a compilation of DWB and instructional videos entitled The Zone. The band reunited for a show/DVD in 2019.

Instructional videos have always played a big role in Weckl's career. His original product, entitled Contemporary Drummer + 1, was one of the first play-along products ever published for drums. His Back To Basics and The Next Step releases were best-sellers in the '90s and also continue to sell today. Weckl continues to update his teachings via The Dave Weckl Online School.

He says "it is my goal to inspire as many young (and not-so-young) people as possible to want to play music, whether it be on drums or another instrument. With all the negatives in the world today, I feel this is my way of contributing a positive action toward spiritual happiness, which music can be a big part of, if you let it. So parents, if your child has a talent for music, please allow them the opportunity to develop that

More Information

The Band
Hagar Ben Ari
Bass Guitar

Hagar Ben Ari is well known as the versatile bassist on The Late Late Show with James Corden. Her versatility comes from a foundation of education and deep industry experience.

Hagar has studied classical composition and toured the world as a rock musician. She has performed with dozens of acts in New York and has toured with Moby and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. She supported Grace Potter while opening for The Rolling Stones and Prince, and she has performed in Kinky Boots on Broadway.

We are excited to welcome Hagar to our amazing Drum Fantasy Camp band!
Mike Garson

Mike Garson, the legendary pianist/composer, will join the 2022 Drum Fantasy Camp staff. Mike will join guitarist Vinny Valentino and bassist Hagar Ben Ari as a co-instructor in Mark Guiliana's classes. All full-camp attendees and those who purchase Mark's class separately will get to learn with Mr. Garson. He will also sit in at the opening concert.

Garson was David Bowie's longest-serving and most frequently appearing band member. They appeared on stage more 1,000 times together. Garson now heads up "A Bowie Celebration," the annual tour that features top pop acts paying tribute to David Bowie.

A true jazz master, Garson is equally comfortable and welcomed in the pop world. He has recorded/performed with Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, St. Vincent, and many more. DFC attendees will benefit from Mike's deep music knowledge.
Stu Mindeman

Stuart Mindeman is a versatile pianist/keyboardistskilled in various styles of music including Jazz, Pop, R&B, Classical, Salsa/Latin music, Gospel, and more.

He has shared the stage with such names as Dave Weckl, Tom Kennedy, Fareed Haque, Gloria Estefan, Rodney Whitaker, Claudio Roditi, John Clayton, El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, and many others. He is also active in Chicago’s Theater community, musically directing for The Second City, among others.

In addition to performing, Stuart maintains a private studio, and is on faculty at the Chicago Academy for the Arts. We're grateful to have this amazing talent at our concerts and jams!
Chrissi Poland
Vocals, Keyboards

Chrissi Poland has been the heart and soul of Drum Fantasy Camp since it started in 2007!

A graduate of Berklee with a four-octave range, Chrissi is the energetic leader of our Jam Nights and opening concerts. A composer and recording artist in her own right, Chrissi has toured/recorded with artists including Moby, Bette Midler, Scissor Sisters and Sam Moore. She is also well known for her "Higher Ground" session with Dave Weckl and Chris Coleman. Chrissi has definitely earned the respect of the drumming community.

Chrissi is a true pro who challenges Drum Fantasy Camp attendees to play with confidence, passion, and solid musical sensibilities!
Vinny Valentino
Music Director
Guitar, Vocals

Vinny Valentino is a world-class guitarist and educator. He is best-known for his work with the legendary George Benson and Steve Smith's fusion band Vital Information.

Vinny is a "musician's musician." He plays "in the pocket" and chooses his notes carefully. He's a writer, arranger, and performer of the highest order. He is also a great teacher - helping drummers understand how to be more musical. Vinny has conducted music workshops all over the world.

Vinny's company, "Play Along Jazz," produces play along tracks for musicians of every background and playing level.

At Drum Fantasy Camp, Vinny pulls together all the music for our concerts and Jam Nights. He's the musical vision of the camp and holds everything together during the concerts and jams. He also runs our Groove Class! You can learn a lot from Vinny.
The Staff
Steven Orkin
Owner / Camp Director

Steven Orkin is the owner and director of Drum Fantasy Camp. He also runs Orkin Marketing and Management, an entertainment marketing firm in Los Angeles, California.

Steven spent ten years in corporate marketing and the ad agency world before starting his firm. Over the years, he has worked with Dave Weckl, Steve Smith, Simon Phillilps, Mike Stern, Frank Gambale, Mark Guiliana, and many more.

Steven started Drum Fantasy Camp in 2007. He's completely accessible at Drum Fantasy Camp and enjoys discussing the biz with attendees. He also enjoys staying in touch with attendees and hearing about their progress after the camp!