What is Sol Fusion?
Sol: meaning Sun in Latin and other languages; also representing the fifth, or Dominant tone of the major scale in music.
The Sun: a celestial body around which our planetary system revolves; in our case, representing Music, the great Passion which draws individual souls into an indivisible entity; a fusion of souls: Sol Fusion.
Sol Fusion is what occurs when the most highly educated and experienced musicians and vocalists unite, each bringing his or her individual strengths and expertise in genre, style and presence.
So much more than just another band, Sol Fusion is an indefinable blend of musical greatness; it is an experience not to be missed.
Hester Kast-McClure is an owner and founding member of Sol Fusion. Hester holds a North Carolina real estate license and honed her skills in customer service and business acumen while working for a high-volume real estate team. After realizing that music was her true passion – and not real estate – she refocused her skills and talents accordingly. She and her husband Chris (pictured below) put Sol Fusion together in 2011 and are very proud of their first “baby.”
Hester also holds a degree in Music Theory and History from UNC-Chapel Hill and has been singing (and rapping) professionally since 2002. She is also an accomplished Master of Ceremonies, having announced for hundreds of weddings and other private events. She will work closely with the client or the client’s event planner to make sure every detail gets covered without a hitch!
Chris McClure is Sol Fusion’s co-owner, manager and biggest cheerleader. He has extensive experience in booking and producing all kinds of high-profile events, both public and private, and can guide clients and planners in the right direction in terms of logistics (lighting, staging, power and the like). Known within the band by his moniker “Showbizz,” his infectious personality and can-do attitude have been instrumental in Sol Fusion’s success.
Chris is also an agent with EastCoast Entertainment and his unique set of talents and abilities recently led him to pick up a “side job” as Adjunct Professor of Concert and Event Production at Johnson and Wales University, where he has been wildly popular with students and staff alike.
Chris Hamilton, pictured here with Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, is Sol Fusion’s lead audio engineer (aka “sound guy”) and has been an integral part of Sol Fusion since its inception. Chris is most often the first to arrive on site for Sol Fusion’s events and is always able to cultivate a cooperative relationship with venue contacts and staff.
Chris also has extensive experience with event production; in fact he and Chris McClure are the “C-Squared” in C-Squared Productions – short for Chris Squared, which was a name affectionately bestowed upon them by the one and only Bonnie Raitt back in 2011.
Tim Scott, Jr., is Sol Fusion’s drummer and Music Director, as well as an assistant producer with C-Squared Productions. He proudly endorses TRX Cymbals and 1964 Ears and has played with the Grammy-nominated Foreign Exchange and countless gospel artists. Tim is responsible for introducing the arrangements of Nurdy Tunes, Adam Blackstone and others to Sol Fusion and for bringing them to life within our organization.
Harvey Cummings is a native of Charlotte, NC. One of Sol Fusion’s two resident composer/arrangers, Harvey’s greatest gift is music. He began a life in music at the early age of 3, and by age 12 he had figured out how to play the theme music for the video game “Super Mario Brothers.” Since then, he has earned a BA in Music and a BM in Jazz Studies. After a 2-year stint teaching music in public schools, Harvey continues to share his knowledge with the next generation through various workshops.
Equally talented on the piano, keyboards and saxophone, he has played for numerous foundations and organizations, colleges and universities, private and social events, and special occasion celebrations. Some of the organizations include National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA), The Congressional Black Caucus, National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), The United Negro College Fund (UNCF), and The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He’s played alongside some of the music industry’s finest artists including Branford Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Kevon Edmonds, Jimmy Cobb, Fred Wessley, 9th Wonder, and many others. Harvey is featured by 9th Wonder Productions on the piano in the hit cartoon show, “The Boondocks.”
Joe Brown, also known as “The Lover on the Low End,” is the bass player and an original member of Sol Fusion. Joe’s musical career began in the children’s choir of First Baptist Church Charlotte. When it was time to choose an instrument in middle school, he was drawn to the trumpet. Throughout school he participated in the NC Honors Choir, sang with the Charlotte Youth Chorale and attended many national competitions. He graduated as a member of the National Music Honors Society and went on to major in music at Appalachian State University. He started playing the bass almost by accident. He wanted to play trumpet in his church orchestra but they needed a bass player instead. So, he taught himself bass and was playing within 3 months.
At Appalachian, Joe performed with the University Singers, Jazz Vocal, and Another Level a cappella group. He also played bass for the ASU Gospel Choir. College became a great place to fine tune his bass playing. He gained a lot of experience playing in the studio and gigging with many bands including Michael Alvarado of “US”. He has shared the stage with The Gregory Brothers, made famous by Auto-tune the news, Emily Moore from fun., and multiple American Idol finalists.
In 2011, Joe graduated with a BA in Music Business with a concentration in voice and a minor in Business. Straight out of college, he was offered to audition for a band that Chris and Hester McClure were putting together. He’s been with Sol Fusion ever since as one of its founding members. His dream is to one day tour the world playing bass for a female pop star.
Carmelo Smith, guitarist extraordinaire, is Sol Fusion’s most recent addition to the line-up. We are ecstatic to have him!
DIRTY SOL HORNS
Corey Gaston, the second of Sol Fusion’s two composer/arrangers, is a native of Harrisburg, NC and has been a musician since the age of 5. Starting his musical journey on piano and then later switched to trumpet at the age of 11, he found his passion for music and knew it was going to be the career path for him. Corey has been a member of All-District Honors Bands, All-State Honors Bands and was a member of the 1996 National Honor Band of America. Corey then auditioned and was accepted as a member of the United States Marine Corps Band and traveled all over the continental United States and the Pacific Rim of Asia, including a 2 year live-in assignment in Okinawa, Japan. There he played with the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force musicians (JASDF), Hong Kong Rugby 7′s Tattoo, The Malaysian Royal Police Band as well as playing for the President of the United States and many foreign dignitaries.
Corey graduated with a concentration in Music Performance and Music Theory from the U.S. Naval School of Music. Being equally talented on bass guitar, keyboards, vocals and trumpet, Corey has shared the stage with a varietal mix of some of the world’s finest musicians, including Maynard Ferguson, Ron Kenoly, Travis Cottrell, Tom Smith, Donald Lawrence and Tri-City Singers, Maurette Brown-Clark, and Bill and Gloria Gaither. Corey holds professional affiliations with Phi Mu Alpha music fraternity, North Carolina Music Educators Association (NCMEA) and Music Educators National Conference (MENC).
Charlie Fisher, along with Corey, is a full time music educator, instilling his passion for music and the arts into the coming generations. A phenom on the trombone, Charlie also adds to Sol Fusion’s sound with fabulous vocals and percussion.
Jorge Wesly is also an original member of Sol Fusion – in fact this picture is from the first audition. Jorge produced the very first Sol Baby!
TK Hash once placed an ad on Craigslist looking for people who wanted to put a band together to perform current music – and as fate would have it, when we were starting the band we were looking on Craigslist for male singers! TK’s magnetic personality draws people together and brings out the best in everyone. His chameleon-like vocal versatility would lead one to believe that Michael McDonald, Zac Brown, Bruno Mars and Kanye West were all in the same room – at the same time.
LaVita Hill is Sol Fusion’s Beyonce, Rihanna and Whitney Houston all in one. When Sol Fusion (at the time known only as “New Charlotte Band”) first held auditions, LaVita had just gotten married and was in the process of moving, and therefore could not come to the audition. Luckily (for us!) a second audition was held a couple weeks later, and the rest is history!
Stephanie Massey Streater, affectionately known as “Sassy Massey,” discovered her love for music on the black top at John Taylor Williams Junior High in Charlotte, NC. This discovery led to a spot in the school chorus. She continued her choral career at Garinger High School in Charlotte, and she went on to obtain her B.A. in Music Liberal Arts at Livingstone College. While at Livingstone she was honored to sing for Dr. Maya Angelou at a United Negro College Fund event.
Stephanie also caught the acting bug during her college career. She developed a relationship with the Piedmont Players Theater where she would go on to star in their productions of “The Wiz” (as Dorothy), “Tommy” (as Acid Queen), “Sophisticated Ladies,” and “Leader of The Pack” (as Darlene Love). Her most recent production was with the talented actors of Clater-Kaye Theater Works in their production of “Hairspray” in which she played Motormouth Mabel. Stephanie has performed for several weddings, banquets and other events in the Charlotte area for the past 18 years.
We are honored to have shared the stage with the following musicians/vocalists and we thank them for their contributions!!
Andre Porter, drums
Chris Gray, drums/keys
Evan Brice, keys
Greg Dalton, guitar
Nate Whittenburg, guitar
Pat Valley, guitar
Jonny Fung, guitar/keys
Shago Elizondo, guitar
Mykal Curtis, bass
Kerrisha Glover, vocals
John Brooks, trumpet
Cesare Turner, trumpet
Marcus Jones, sax/bass