Big Band Theory

The Smartest Band on the Planet

On any given day, they work at JPL with precision instruments such as rocket engines, robot rovers and spacecraft sensors. But on performance day, this band of Lab rats replaces the high-tech gizmos with trumpets, saxophones, trombones, drums and a piano.

Packed with Ph.D.s, this scientific swing band performs a play list that leans heavily toward the heavens. The band features selections mostly from the swing era, with a dose of 50's Sinatra and 60's hipsters. You'll be tapping your toes and swaying to the rhythms of songs made popular by Goodman, Dorsey, Ellington and Basie, and made oh so memorable by the unique vocal stylings of the likes of Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald.

Rhythm Section:

  • Rob Sherwood - Guitar
  • Jeff Weiss, Mike Ferrara, Garrett Fallis - Drums
  • Courtney Kakebeen - Bass
  • Paul Stocker - Keyboards


  • Jalin Hsu
  • Todd Barber
  • Molly Laurel


  • Scott Basinger - bari
  • Hal Yorke - alto/tenor/clarinet
  • Lauren Chu - bari/alto
  • Hamilton Lewis - tenor
  • Vaughn Cable - alto/tenor
  • Klara Kalousová - tenor

Composed of musicians affiliated with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA., BBT was started in 1998 when Brenda Goforth Adelante, Patrick Olguin, and others, provided music for holiday parties at JPL.  Realizing there were many skilled musicians at the lab, Brenda and Pat started to create a big band.  They asked around for talented musicians, purchased some big band charts, set up a rehearsal in a computer lab, and the band was born.  Now Big Band Theory plays at many JPL and Caltech functions, private functions, dance venues, and local festivals.   BBT’s extensive musical repertoire also includes many celestial tunes such as "Fly Me to the Moon," "Orange Colored Sky" (our paean to Mars), and “Ja-Da”, one of the first songs heard in space!


  • Patrick Olguin (also vocals)
  • Stephen Noland (also vocals)
  • Larry Solak
  • Antonia Barton (also vocals)
  • Enrique Fernandez


  • Evan Boucher
  • Scott Tripp
  • Matt Abrahamson
  • John Elliott