Meet The Band


Travis has been playing guitar since his late teens. After receiving a degree in music performance, Travis spent his 20's playing in a number of different bar bands in his native land of Canada, before turning to graduate school and a career in academia. One of two professors in the group, Travis teaches philosophy at the University of Akron.

Travis Hreno - Guitar

Karla learned to play the piano at age 7 and has had a passion for music ever since.  She has had many years of formal music education and has played the cello in the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra.  She currently practices medicine as a neurologist, but her passion for music has continued throughout her life.  Her musical influences include classic rock (Beatles), jazz, classical, funk, soul (Stevie Wonder), and many other genres.

Karla Madalin - Keys; backup vocals

The bass player for Soul Purpose, Clarence Clayton Jr. was born in Austin, TX and raised in Akron, OH. Clarence has been playing bass for the last 15 years with several area bands and is influenced by a love of R&B, pop, jazz, funk and rock. He also is a dance instructor for the Master Dancers of Akron, OH, where he has taught many different styles of dance for the last 15 years. He has been working for the Operating Engineers for 24 years.

Clarence Clayton Jr. - Bass; backup vocals

Soul Purpose

Ben Whaley - Keys; Vocals

Ben began piano lessons at 12 years old. He went through junior high school in 3 different states and found himself in Lexington, KY where he resolved to join a band. He found one who hired him as a backup singer while he earned enough to buy his first organ.

Eight years and five bands later he graduated from college and faced a choice between music and law school. He chose music and toured, played six nights a week in house bands, and did session work.  Three years later he found a way to combine music and academic interests and started degree work in mass media, focusing on sound.  Music and teaching assistantships funded graduate school and in 1980 he completed graduate school at Indiana University.  That same year he took a professorship at Kent State University where he still teaches.  Now 25 bands later he is keyboardist and sometime vocalist for  Soul Purpose and continues his lifelong love for rhythm and blues.

Vocalist and front person for the band, CJ is a woman of many musical facets. Talent is no stranger to her bloodline. Her mother, a classically trained pianist, choral director, music and dance teacher, has remained a constant force in CJ’s musical upbringing. Noted Gospel superstars like Marvin and Carvin Winans, Lisa Page Brooks, and Deitrick Haddon have all been under her choral direction and tenacious instruction.  The musical roots don't begin there, CJ's grandfather, Melvin Howard, has performed with legends like Cab Calloway and Sarah Vaughn on some of Harlem’s main stages in the 1940′s.

Courtney (CJ) has traveled around the world, performing in London, Belgium, Dublin, Rennes, just to name a few. She has even toured with the “Queen of Soul,” Ms. Aretha Franklin as one of her background dancers. She has written for noted producers such as Mario Winans, Jeffery “J Dub” Walker and Katrina Willis.

CJ - Lead Vocals

Holding down drum duties for Soul Purpose is Myron Long. Born and raised in Akron, Ohio, Myron started playing drums in Jr. High and High School band.  Self taught from that point on, Myron has over 4 decades of playing experience with several area bands. His favorite groups are Tower Of Power, Mint Condition and Earth, Wind, & Fire. He enjoys the challenges of all types of music. Myron is a CF Welder by trade.

Myron Long - Drums; Backup Vocals