Gary Houk – Pianist / Keyboardist / Drummer
Gary Houk first took an interest in music at the age of 5, when his grandmother gave him a Kimball Organ. Just before the age of 6 he started taking lessons and after going through several organ instructors, he connected with Larry Mechem Sr., an accomplished musician in his hometown. At age 12 started playing the marimba in middle school band with the help of private instructor, Robert Berheide. By the age of 14 Houk was playing the 3-manual, 7-rank Page Pipe Organat the Paramount Theater in Anderson, Indiana. During this time he had also started to play the marimba in his high school marching band. He spent his time in high school band playing various mallet and percussion instruments as well as snare drum, all the while still taking organ and drum lessons.
After high school Gary started studying drums with Dane Clark, currently John Cougar Mellencamp’s drummer. He studied with Dane diligently for two years before accepting a position at Dorney Park in Allentown, PA. He worked as a drummer there for two summer seasons (’93-/94) before being asked to move down to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg VA in the summer of 1995. This is where he met vocalist Janeen Walker. After his time at Busch Gardens he worked for the music company ENSONIQ for 5 years before accepting a non-music related position at Verizon. Two years ago he met Joe Miralles, who helped to pull him back in to the music scene by playing dates as a duo and eventually a trio. While working with Joe he met Nick Priessnitz. Nick and Gary had thrown around the idea of putting together a Jazz group. At about the same time, Gary and Janeen had a gig for a private party at Adello Winery and before they knew it they were booked with four dates, as well as a second private party. Forming a group with Janeen and Nick was no longer just an idea, but reality.
In addition to being a core member of the group “Impromptu”, Gary still plays out live with the Joe Miralles duo/trio. He is also a professional photographer, specializing in weddings, family portraiture, corporate events, and headshots. You can learn more about his photography at www.garyhoukphotography.com.