BAND BIOS

Paul Marr - Drums

My musical career began in high school and since my friends at the time were joining band it seemed fitting that I join as well; albeit with zero musical experience: I played the cymbals. It was here I was exposed to Drum and Bugle Corps and that musical medium set the tone for the rest of my life. Taking lessons and working hard every day soon paid off; I was playing snare drum well and eventually became section leader as well as principal Jazz Band drum set player gaining inspiration and influence from the great Buddy Rich and Neil Peart.

 

Upon graduation from high school I spent the next three years traveling the United States and parts of Canada performing with the Freelancers Drum and Bugle Corps, honing demanding rudimental chops and gaining an invaluable work ethic as well as logging close to 20,000 miles on the road and playing in some famous venues like Mile High Stadium, Arrowhead Stadium and the Cotton Bowl. It was in corps where I met my wife of 21 years.

 

After corps it was on to the local music scene where I met some great people and learned how to improvise through many a Friday and Saturday night with a revolving group of talent. It was here I met and formed a lasting relationship with Scott Rodell of Apple Z. Scott’s inspiration led me to the classifieds one day and ultimately to the band I am currently in: Power Play.

 

This project is especially gratifying given the diversity of our material and getting to be the engine for such a talented group of musicians who know how to perform to a large crowd.

Playing in a high energy dance cover band requires me to not only be solid with the back-beat but to also stay true to the songs intention without cluttering up the groove with too many unnecessary embellishments or flashy fills.

 

If not behind the kit I can be found at Granite Bay High School where for the last 12 years I have ran the Marching Percussion program, writing music for the percussion ensemble, designing musical theater, costuming and choreography as well as teaching rudimental technique, how to succeed in an ensemble setting and how to be a successful, responsible young adult.

 

Kendall Volz - Bass

My interest in music started back as a kid when I thought how cool it looked to be on stage, and have fans cheering… I was enticed by the glitz and glamour.

I also developed a very serious interest in putting aside all the things that would sidetrack me from reaching the top of my game.  I practiced religiously through high school perfecting Geddy Lee from Rush's bass riffs. To quote Rush "put aside the alienation, and get on with the fascination.”


In my early 20s, I began playing in professional dance bands, different genres including a successful 80s cover band new wave group. I also played in an original band doing a circuit local shows opening for some big name bands in the early 90s such as Kansas, 38 Special, Foghat, Pat Travers, Frank Hannon and more.

My playing style is diverse - I even was in a successful Latin band that also was a Santana tribute band.  I have played Funk, Rock, Country, R&B, Disco, Latin, light Jazz, and Pop.  One of my most successful music endeavors was forming “RASH - A Tribute To Rush”, and playing bass for my band that paid tribute to my childhood hero.


My presence on the stage is nothing short of powerful - I am just the bass player, but I like to get involved with the antics and dance moves.  I love to move and feel the music I am playing.  I love what I do, and have built a reputation as being a rock solid bassist and have subbed or been a member of many of the successful cover bands in the Sacramento and Bay Areas.  

Carlos Benefeld - Lead Male Vocals


My interest in music began with a lonely night in St. Petersburg, Florida. My mother woke us up (my siblings and I) to join her in preparing for a church concert the following weekend. We headlined that very same event the following year as a young new gospel group and I've been singing ever since. After gospel, in my youth, I began singing for my high school male ensemble, then on to College, where I sang as a 1st Tenor with The Claflin University Concert Choir. It wasn't until I joined the U.S. Army, when I started performing and singing outside of gospel and classical choral music. In 2009, i was accepted into The Army Soldier Show program, where I was vocally trained by Joey Bebe and Debra Byrd of American Idol. I also received choreography training from Julliard graduate, the late Tanya Gibson-Clark. After 3 years of touring the US, Germany and South Korea, I ended my tenure within the Army and became a civilian. Once I relocated myself from the east coast to the west, I auditioned for The Takeout Band, where I remained for 1 year as a lead male vocalist. After that wonderful year of learning and growing musically, under the direction of Jeff Merrick, I joined PowerPlay, a band so diverse and motivated. Im more of an "old soul", with idols such as Little Richard, Otis Redding, Neyo, Al Greene, and most recently, The Artist formerly known as Prince. Im a Jazzy singer with a rasp and a range between 2nd Alto and 1st Bass. Exciting, Charismatic, Animated and Happy on stage, at all times. Its always a goal to take the songs that we perform and use them as a way to draw our audience into the realm of the song. When you're "in the moment" you're susceptive to surrounding emotions. Good music, happy people and a good stiff drink will make for a moment in time where worries, cares and disappointments don’t exist. That is the true essence behind my wanting to be on stage. If there were ever a moment when someone thought it to be necessary to reward me publicly, I’dt hank the Earth and the Atmosphere that carry music. Music alone, has saved my life. I’d thank The Creator for the gift and I'd thank anyone who ever encouraged me and my bandmates.......to personally name everyone who has been my inspiration, I'd need eternity. ❤❤❤❤❤❤

Band Bios

Rick Hordin - Guitars/Vocals

Well, my Dad was (and still is) a gifted Artist.  So early on, in the suburbs of Rochester NY, I was drawing and painting all sorts of silly things while listening to a crackly old radio.  One day Dad came home with an electric guitar and amp he picked up for $30.  I immediately seized upon this to perform after school concerts in my bedroom – how the neighbours loved this.  Dramatic improvement occurred when I was taught to actually tune it - while sitting on a stack of albums in the basement of the House of Guitars - by a buy named Buzzy.  Then I got a bigger amp so the neighbours could enjoy it more!  But Marshall stacks are a lot of exercise, and so I’ve since scaled down to half stacks and combos now…

 

I got into Writing and Recording original music at a school that had (yep) a Recording Studio.  From there I went to San Francisco to play in all kinds of whacky projects and halls up and down the West Coast before putting down the crayons and potato chips to form my own power trio, the Grain.  This out of love of bands like Rush and the Police – whom we were often compared to – mixed in with XTC and Pink Floyd (whom I also happen to like).  I’d done recordings at Hyde Street, and Marin West Studios, but we recorded our first album in Doug Carlson’s studio right out on Army Street.  We then proceeded to play all kinds of whacky halls up and down the West Coast while being sniffed at by some major labels. 

 

In a trio, one is both forced and free to find the spaces in between that flesh out the counterpoints to fill in the frequencies.  That, and I like to experiment a lot with different textures, voicings and tonalities to keep the overall sound of each song varied.  Also (that), I like to enjoy Life.  Once they let me out of my padded room, and take the jacket off, I am ready to do just that.

 

Once the half stacks are set up, music satisfies that on several levels.  I was in a popular 4 piece band in Upstate New York called Donask (with Jason Sutter – who recorded an album with Neil Peart btw) and realized then (that) playing songs everyone knows for a spirited crowd certainly fills that as well.  That, as they say, is that.

 

Mike Avery - Guitars/Vocals


My interest in music started as a child. Music was an escape from reality for me. I saw my first concert at the age of five, it was a Day on the Green at the Oakland Coliseum. From that day on I knew I wanted to be a musician. The next day I asked my parents for a drum set. They brought home an electric guitar without an amp. I spent every free moment listening to the radio and trying to replicate what I heard. I was obsessed. In fact, my parents most effective punishment was taking my guitar away. Growing up, throughout my teenage years and into adulthood, I've played in several bands.  I have also toured  and opened up for national acts such as Bad Company, Mr. Big and Molly Hatchet to name a few. These experiences have helped develop me into a pretty solid guitar player and a decent vocalist. I am very energetic on stage, and I love to perform and engage with the crowd. I would like to thank every artist and person who encouraged me when I was discouraged, who took the time to give me advice, tips and lessons to help me become the artist I am today. 


Thank you!  

You know who you are!


Sarah Staniek - Lead Female Vocals


My interest in music began in grade school - my mom got me started on the MARVEL comic series, Dazzler, about a rockstar secret agent with mutant superpowers… and I started singing. 


Starting in garage bands near the Arctic Circle where you’re either in a band, or play hockey… I was playing in clubs before I was old enough to get in the front door. 


I loved the world “behind the scenes” of the party, and the creativity involved in making magic happen onstage. I’ve been lucky enough to sing backups/lead vocals for really great bands and fun commercial work, ranging from being in the choir for Pope John Paul, to movie soundtracks for Lionsgate Films, cheesy radio jingles, Swedish ZTV, modern American rock, and even a Viking Metal Christmas revue. Our current band, Power Play, is an exciting mix of visual and audible candy - I get to sing sweetly, and growl, and rap… it’s never a dull moment!


One reviewer wrote that I “have enough passion to inspire, and enough vulnerability to relate.” I have a hard time standing still. Music moves me, and onstage I can let go - I feel like I’ve got nothing to lose, and sing each song like it’s my last. I might be wearing high heels and a prom dress, but I still dance like a 5 year old who just ate too many gummy bears! As for my voice, one writer described it like “finding an orchid growing in a construction site.” It comes on strong and clear, within the chaos of guitars, bass and drums. I like to deliver the unexpected. 


I have too many people to thank, but foremost is Mark Tofano, an opera coach who helped me discover qualities in my voice I didn’t think possible. And of course my mom, who endured me singing all through my childhood, and never told me to shut up.