Ron Fielder, bassist for the "Agency" has played professionally on and off since the late 1960's. While a trumpet major at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas, he toured a four state area as rhythm guitar and vocalist with the "Milestones" through 1972. While a special education teacher in Western Kansas, Ron give guitar lessons and was co-manager of a music store. In the 1980's, he was a vocalist/guitarist for the River Valley Boys, a 10 piece country show band. For the past ten years, Ron's musical focus has been as a bass player/vocalist for GWB and the AGENCY. Ron has a special appreciation for jazz, blues, and roots music of all kinds.
Jim Barth-Like many others, Jim was inspired to play guitar after watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan in 1963. Jim played in a Dubuque, Iowa rock & roll band called "The Dark Side" doing cover tunes around the tri-state area from 1964-68. In what seemed like a good idea at the time, he traded his guitars and amps into the local Fender dealer for a really good stereo when he went off to College. In 1988, Jim got back into playing music via collecting vintage Gibson, Rickenbacker, and Fender guitars and amps, which is a passion that continues to this day. Jim is one of the founding members of the Grant Wood AEA band that has evolved over the years into the current "Agency" band. Jim plays rhythm guitar in the band. Jim also played at "Rewind 2010" in Dubuque with his original "Dark Side" band mates. It was the first time "The Dark Side" had played together in 42 years.
Jim Henry-"Jim was born with drum sticks in his hands" said his mother, who experienced no shortage of discomfort as a result. When his third grade music teacher asked "what instrument do you want to play?", Jim's choice of the accordian was not an option. His second choice, percussion, proved to be prophetic! All three of his children are percussionists! Through many years and many bands the friendships have prospered. Thanks to "Duke" for keeping the music alive.
"There are more love songs than anything else. If songs could make you do something, we'd all love one another."-- Frank Zappa
John Berning-John started playing guitar at age 14 and has been hooked ever since. He played with numerous rock, country and blues cover bands steadily since age 16. He took an extended leave from the music business for several years after moving with his family to Iowa City in 2000, playing only a few gigs here and there until joining The Agency a few years back. Good friends, good singing and good playing.
Laura Swiser-Laura only sang in choir at school. That is, until she met Chris. All of a sudden she’s the lead singer in a band! That band (Jasmine) has been around since 1979. Then in 2005 she got the call to be the “chick” singer with the Agency. Laura’s strong voice adds depth and range to the vocals of the band. Definitely influenced by Linda Ronstadt and Bonnie Raitt, Laura can belt out a lead, or provide tight backing vocals for Ron, John and Chris. Definitely a keeper!
Chris Swiser-I got my first “paycheck” as a musician when I was 13. I’ve been at it ever since. I traveled the Midwest for 3 years as a full-time musician in a cover band. We played, for lack of a better term, the Holiday Inn circuit. After getting married I got off the road, and then in 1979 my wife and I formed a band called Jasmine. We still play in the Cedar Rapids area, but now it’s as a duo. Laura joined the Agency about 4 years ago when they lost their female singer. I joined The Agency when Rich, one of the lead guitarists, couldn’t do a couple of the gigs. That was almost three years ago, and I’m still with them. I love our 3-part harmonies, and I love the variety of music we play. I think I’ll stick around