Valerie Gillespie was born in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania, where at the age of eight she picked up a saxophone for the first time. She was paid for her first professional gig at fourteen and has been playing ever since, though not strictly on the stage. Valerie paid her dues in the university classrooms just like the rest of us, earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh with a major in Classical Saxophone. Not content to stop there, she went on to get her Masters Degree in Jazz Saxophone from the University of South Florida in Tampa. Being a well-rounded player is something that is important to Valerie. She might be seen one night playing classical pieces with the Florida Orchestra, the next evening playing with a jazz band in the park, then on Sunday morning you will usually find her playing at her church. Ask her which of her horns she likes the most and she will certainly say it is her alto sax, a Selmer Mark VI that she bought in 1976 when she was just a young tyke. Since those days she has also acquired a Selmer tenor and baritone sax, as well as a Yamaha Custom soprano sax, flute, piccolo, and a Buffet clarinet. Valerie is an accomplished vocalist as well, with such influences as Diana Krall, Nancy Wilson, Shirley Horn, Carmen McRae, Diane Shuur, and many others. Valerie has been fortunate enough to play with many of the great entertainers of our time, including: Chick Corea, Bobby McFerrin, Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, Ben Vereen, Joan Rivers, Ray Charles, Jon Faddis, Steve Allen, Anthony Newly, and she has traveled extensively with the Xavier Cugat Orchestra in the U.S. and Japan.