Newspaper Article on Summer Breeze Music Project and Bill Miles
by firstname.lastname@example.org on 11/28/2022
The following article appeared in several local newspapers during the Fall of 2022 written by reporter b
Links to the original article are posted below.
A global pandemic couldn’t stop Bill Miles’ Summer Breeze from blowing into town. Bill Miles is the former Queen Creek High School band director. He now lives in Mesa and has launched a project called Summer Breeze.
In 2019, Bill Miles started the Summer Breeze Music Project to rekindle interest in the feel-good tunes of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. With the pandemic blowing over, Miles said interest in his musical stylings has been renewed. “My goal is every time I perform is to just make people feel good and enjoy it,” Miles said.
The 60-year-old Mesa musician started his career when he was 14 as an orchestra pit percussionist for the Illinois Theatre Center equity theater in Park Forest, Illinois. Miles said it snowballed from there. Miles attended Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, Illinois, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in music education in 1985. He performed as a percussionist with the NIU Jazz Ensemble all over the United States and Europe. He said some of his most memorable performances include playing in Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival, the second-largest annual jazz festival in the world after Canada’s Montreal International Jazz Festival. Miles also recalled a performance in the town of Wolfenbüttel, Germany, with the most unique venue and compensation for his services. “We played out in the street on the cobblestone,” Miles said. “They gave the band payment in bratwurst and beer.”
Miles spent much of his career performing as a drummer and singer for various bands around Chicago. That’s where he met his wife Pam. In 1994, Miles played at a Greek restaurant in Itasca, Illinois, and the singer in the band he played for introduced them. They married in 1996 and have two daughters, Amber and Maddie.
In 1998, Miles moved to Queen Creek and took a role as the Queen Creek High School band director and left in 2005 to begin a corporate job as a web developer by day. Miles briefly performed at night in a local classic rock band called Mojo Jam for private parties and small events.
In 2015, with his two daughters grown and out of the house, Miles said he got an idea. Miles sat playing his grand piano at his new home in Mesa and said he felt the time was right and spent the next few years collecting “feel good favorite” song ideas.
In February 2020, Miles played his first Summer Breeze Music Project gig at the Chandler Senior Center. Miles said his favorite song growing up was “Summer Breeze” by Seals and Crofts, and that inspired him to use it as the name for his project. “I used to hear it all the time and it just gave me a really good feeling,” Miles said. “And since the whole concept of Summer Breeze Music Project is feel good, favorite music, I thought what a great name for it.”
Miles covers more than 100 other songs from various artists including Elton John, James Taylor, Neil Diamond, and The Doobie Brothers. He performs those at various venues around the East Valley such as Las Sendas Patio & Grill in Mesa, Gold Stallion restaurant in Gold Canyon, and Pier 54 restaurant in Tempe.
As the threat of the COVID-19 subsided, Miles said his gigs have continually increased but there are still some challenges. “Even though my act receives high praise pretty much everywhere I perform, finding new bookings at various new venues has been a challenge,” Miles said.
Miles said “music is an addiction” and the feeling it gives the audience and him keeps him coming back for more. “The great thing about music is you can do it forever,” Miles said. “I think that kind of keeps you young at heart.”
Miles has a well-rounded repertoire that makes his one-man show entertaining with acoustic guitar, he enjoys playing the piano. “It’s just so logical to me,” Miles said. “I kind of take to it like a duck to water.”
Miles said he eventually wants to grow his one-man act to add a lead guitarist and a saxophone player and grow the band to at least a quartet. But for now, Miles said he just wants to “to perform and entertain for people who appreciate that genre and that era of music.”
To learn more about his music and how to arrange a gig: summerbreezemusicproject.com/
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