Unity the Band - Bios

Kai “Pita” Katobalavu

Kai “Pita” Katobalavu, the lead singer of Unity the Band, was born in Suva City, the capital of the Fiji Islands. In Fiji, there was no formal music curriculum in the schools. By listening to and singing native songs, Kai taught himself to play a wide range of instruments including a wooden drum, called the lali. He also learned the meke, which is a complex combination of voices and dance, and is often used in times of war. Native dance was an integral part of his life. At a very young age, Kai followed his uncle’s band, The Blue Ribbon, based out of Tailevu. This band had a modern sound and opened his eyes to the vastness and power of music.

At the age of 10, Kai heard the album Soul Rebel, by Bob Marley and the Wailers, and discovered reggae had a similar beat to the native music of his islands. It was the message of a colorless existence, and the indefatigable struggle against oppression, that motivated him to pursue his own music. Kai wanted to send a similar message of inspiration, in the Pacific Islands, and became a reggae musician.

In addition to seeing The Blue Ribbon, Kai traveled around the islands and listened to other local bands. At the age of fifteen he heard the first reggae band out of New Zealand, called Herbs, at a Greenpeace assembly, in Suva City. Herbs represented the Pacific Islands, a minority in the world, and gave them a voice; Kai wanted to be part of this.

In 1988, after the first coups in Fiji, Kai moved to the Hawaiian Islands to be close to his parents and pursue a dream of becoming a working musician. He formed a band called the Polynesian Connection that combined reggae, ska, and rock. He also played in several luau bands, but was never fully satisfied.

Then, in 2002, Kai, or Pita, as so many people in the Midwest know him, moved to Wisconsin. There, he found fertile ground where he could continue his music and share his original reggae with a new audience. Wisconsin has provided a generous opportunity for Kai to refine his own sound and also assemble a broad and wonderfully diverse fan base, in the Midwest. Kai hopes he and Unity can become a bridge to his remote part of the world. Kai encourages you to visit his homeland:

Timothy Perkins

Timothy Perkins (upright bass, electric bass, fretless bass, and vocals) has developed his skills as a true all-around bassist. While living and performing in Kansas City, MO for several years he honed his skills as a Classical, Jazz, Rock, and Fusion musician. Tim consistently provides rock-solid bass grooves and is equally able to move into the spotlight with solo work ranging from fluid, lyrical melodies to the energetic speed work and finger gymnastics typically associated with the guitar and saxophone. While actively participating in the classical and jazz scenes in Kansas City, Tim had the opportunity to perform with many of the acts that toured across the United States. An abbreviated list includes such varied groups as Diane Schuur, Daniel Heifitz, Duke Ellington’s Orchestra and The Association.

Tim's approach to bass performance is based on the solid foundation of a classical music education. Earning a Bachelor's degree from Lawrence University's Music Conservatory in Appleton, WI and a Master's degree from the music program at Central Missouri State University, Tim brings a wealth of professionalism and expertise to every project.

Currently based in Green Bay, WI, Tim has actively worked for many years as a session recording artist and performs regularly with a variety of freelance projects. Recent projects include The Outpachentz, Vic Ferrari Symphony on the Rocks, Chuck Worm and the NiteCrawlers, Mike Murphy and the Men of Blues, The Lightning Brothers and many others.  Recent recording projects that highlight his unique approach to the fretless bass include WDKY Jazz and Michael's Saints.  

In addition to recording audio and video versions of his growing book of original compositions, Tim is currently supporting the development of a new commercial Hard Rock project, which plans its first release in 2015. 

As the most recent addition to Unity, Tim brings a new energy, style and originality to this well-established Roots, Rock and Reggae powerhouse. Tim is excited to hit the road with the message of peace, great vibes and tight grooves that Unity is sharing across the US.                          

Kelvin Ayres 

Kelvin Ayres has been playing drums since he was ten, when he got his first gig at a house party in Indiana. Kelvin’s dad, a Jazz musician with his family band, traveled and played extensively throughout the United States. Many of those engagements were for political functions and corporate events. His early musical influences were John Coltrane and Weather Report.

As a singer, songwriter, and producer his current influences include Usher and Producers Timbaland and Pharrell of the Neptunes. In his free time he can be found at his recording studio, KAP, where he writes, produces, and records local talent.

Jeremy "Chunk" Schroetter 

Jeremy "Chunk" Schroetter (Percussion) began controlling vibrations in 2001, after acquiring a doumbek. Thanks to his friends, and other great musicians, he finds his inspiration in Jazz, Native American, Latin, Indian, and Nyabinghi. To the musical lilt of Unity he adds the nyabinghi style, which was originally used in roots reggae. Since everybody and everything has a vibration, Chunk hopes to catch every person’s vibe, and apply it to the rhythm, so that they may connect with the unifying message.

Ryan Peerenboom

Hailing from Green Bay, Ryan adds energy and technical expertise to the world beats of Unity the Band. Ryan's diverse style is a combination of rock, blues and funk gained from playing with various bands across the midwest.

Special Guests
Tom Jones

Tom Jones (Saxophone & Keyboards) has been playing for over 27 years. When he was young, his father introduced him to music and with his love for music already in place, he started playing the saxophone at age 12. Throughout school, Tom regularly listened to such great musisicians as John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Theolonius Monk, Dexter Gordan, Michael Brecker and James Brown. Their musical stylings had something unique that grabbed his attention. Tom continued his music education in high school while placing second in the Texas All-State Jazz Competition. The music education then continued all the way through college with a focus on Music Education at the University of Houston. During the college years and a few years after he played throughout the Houston area in various blues, Jazz, and pop bands including the Green Onions and the Ronnie Renfrow Big Band.

A few years after college he took a leave from music to start his family. Gradually, he reintroduced himself into music playing at a church in the Houston area called New Hope Church. There, he developed a higher passion for performing.

After moving to Appleton, Wisconsin, for his job, he continued rounding his skills within the Christian music scene at Christ the Rock Church as well as events such as Lifest. During this time he has been exploring new sounds and new instruments, such as the guitar and keyboards.

After a long break from the bar band scene, Tom chose to re-enter the live music scene and at the end of 2010, Tom joined Unity the Band and recorded on their latest album "Oceania". After recording on the CD, Tom gradually moved into a full time role with Unity the Band. Tom continues to hone his skills on saxophone and other instruments through performing with Unity the Band as well as participating and playing with multiple local jam groups and Bands including the Kai-Man Project, Lucas Cates Band and The Jazz Orgy.

While Tom’s full time engineering job keeps him busy with work and travel, he still manages to continue to be part of the music scene in the Appleton area. Tom’s first passion is music and he loves to share his passion for music with others.

Alana Miron

Alana Miron plays percussion and sings harmonies. Alana has been a member of Unity for many years. She is not always able to make all the shows, but she is so cool, we take her whenever we can have her…we are always happy to have her positive vibe around!