Johnny White And The Elite Band

Recognized by many as one of the most exciting bands in the United States, Johnny White And The Elite Band has performed to audiences from Anchorage, Alaska to Orlando, Florida.  The band has received rave reviews for performances at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, Opryland USA in Nashville, Tennessee, and The Waldorf Astoria in New York CIty.

The band is known for the broad range of music they play:  Motown, Top 40, Carolina Beach, R&B, Blues, Country and Big Band–music that appeals to audiences of all ages.  Johnny White & The Elite Band has recorded on the Valle-dalle and Elite record labels.

Two powerful lead vocalists, Johnny White and Shirl, are backed by three soulful, female background singers.  The combination of their singing ability and their high-energy choreography draws audiences into every one of their shows.  The group is without a doubt one of the best show and dance bands in the country.

Two powerful lead vocalists, Johnny White and Shirl, are backed by three soulful, female background singers.  The combination of their singing ability and their high-energy choreography draws audiences into every one of their shows.  The group is without a doubt one of the best show and dance bands in the country.

Johnny White. Johnny White, the band’s leader, was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and honored his father, a gospel singer, by fully utilizing his musical gifts.  After forming his first band at the age of 15, Johnny’s talents were quickly rewarded with weekly bookings at college fraternity and sorority houses throughout the Eastern United States.  While attending college on a full scholarship where he majored in music, he launched his career as a professional entertainer when he began singing with The Shamrocks.  While teaching choral music after graduation, he formed Johnny White & The Crusaders which developed a strong following on the Eastern Seaboard.  He renamed the group to Johnny White & The Elite Bandwhen they started recording.  In 1985, they made the Top 100 of Billboard with their hit, You.  In 1996, he received the Billy Scott Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cammy Awards Committee for his tireless efforts to preserve Beach and Motown music over more than 30 years.

Shirley Makins. Shirley “Shirl” Makins is the lead female vocalist for the band.  Born in Greenville, South Carolina, Shirl attended Greenville public schools before attending college in Durham where she was a soloist with the college choir.  Johnny White recruited her as a lead vocalist for his band after she graduated, and she has been performing with the band for more than 35 years.

Amber Bowen.  Amber sings 2nd soprano for the band.  A native of Dayton, Ohio, Amber’s talents were recognized at a young age, leading to her enrollment at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.  She works as a vocalist in local recording studios and has participated in various vocal competitions.

Tyaisha Williams.  Singing alto for the band, Tyaisha was born in Washington, DC.  Growing up in a world of music, religion and black culture, she felt the great passion present in gospel music at a young age.  Inspired by Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye and Lauryn Hill, Tyaisha creates truth and gospel through her music–this makes her an old soul with a new flavor.

Robert Gray. Playing bass for the band, Robert began performing while a high school student in Raleigh, North Carolina.  He has performed and toured with great musical artists, including “Dr. Hook”, Eric Darius and several other recording artists.

Kenni Hairston. Playing keyboard while singing for the band, Kenni has performed on stage, in videos and on television.  His experience includes performances and tours with several national artists, including: Cyndi Lauper, Cameo, Elliot Easton (The Cars), Miles Jaye, Nona Hendryx, Mutiny (members of Parliament Funkadelic), and Mtume (composer from the television show, New York Undercover).  He has received numerous awards, including: ASCAP Songwriting Award for Number One R&B Single on Billboard Magazine charts (Running Back to You by Vanessa Williams), the 3M Visionary Award for Production Excellence (Me and Mrs. Jones by Freddie Jackson).  He currently composes and scores music for video and film projects both nationally and internationally.  He is also writing and producing for several recording artists.

Ruby Tunley.  Born in Anchorage, Alaska, Ruby lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.  She has been playing drums for over twenty years, and she has played drums for Johnny White & The Elite Band for more than 5 years.

Reggie Sanders.  Lead guitarist Reggie Sanders is a native of Raleigh, North Carolina.  He has played with numerous professional gospel recording artists and recently joined Johnny White & The Elite Band.  Moved by the energy of music, Reggie finds great joy in lifting the spirits of audiences through his music because he believes music speaks directly to the heart.

Gache’ Hankerson.  Born in Tampa, Florida, Gache’ sings soprano for the band.  After studying both violin and viola in high school, Gache’ majored in music in Junior College where she also sang in the chorus.  After performing with other bands, she joined Johnny White & The Elite Band with whom she has performed for more than 13 years.


 

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