– WFIT, a service of Florida Tech, will culminate its 30th Anniversary celebration on Sunday, May 22nd with a concert by the critically acclaimed,
award-winning and chart-topping band, Planet 9. The band rarely appears in Brevard County. Planet 9 was nominated as National Best New Artist in 2002 and
scored not one but two top-five hits on adult contemporary radio in 2004. Their holiday release, “The 9 Days of Christmas,” was the Number 1 holiday album
on smooth jazz radio last year.
Planet 9 unites musicians who have helped create some of the mega-hits of the past three decades in a pop/jazz forum that they like to refer to as “East
Coast cool.” Melbourne native, Drew Bentley, is the band’s leader. He secured top musicians that include drummer Charlie Morgan; keyboards and vocals John
Marsden; Charlie DeChant, saxophones and flute; Bill Gifford, bass guitar and vocals; Lane Hoppen, keyboards and vocals; Cameron Brown, trumpet and
flugelhorn; vocalist and percussionist Amy Gifford; and Drew Bentley on guitar.
Biographies of this group read like a who’s who in the music world. Charlie Morgan, drummer, was Elton John’s drummer for 13 years, and performed with Paul
McCartney, Tina Turner, Cher and Moody Blues; John Marsden, composer and arranger for Planet9, has written, scored and arranged music for children’s
television. His clients include Boeing, McDonalds, Lockheed Martin, Dale Carnegie and the American Academy of Family Physicians. The ultimate saxophonist
is Charlie DeChant. For the past three decades he has been the saxophonist extraordinaire for Hall & Oates. Bill Gifford on bass guitar and vocals
provides the low-end sound to the group as well as vocals. His background in funk-n-roll adds the “funky” flavor to the band; Lane Hoppen is the
keyboardist with chart-topping “Orleans.” Trumpet and flugelhorn player Cameron Brown is the newest addition to Planet 9. Amy Gifford on vocals and
percussion has a classically trained voice and a master’s degree in vocal performance. Leader Drew Bentley began playing the guitar at age eight to begin a
career that led to leadership of an award winning, chart-topping band.
Call WFIT 89.5FM, (321) 674-8950, and reserve your tickets. They are $15 for members, $18 for prospective members, $10 for students and $20 at the door.
VIP seating is $75 for two and includes WFIT’s 30th anniversary compilation CD.