Joel Stopka (Trombone), while studying music performance and education at the Eastman School of Music in 1987, discovered his passion for Afro- Cuban music playing with Orquesta Antonetti and Las Figuras Del Merengue. After graduating in 1991, he moved to Chicago and was prominent in the music scene writing, producing and performing with many local groups as well as touring artist such as: DLG (Dark Latin Groove), Poi Dog Pondering, Frankie Ruiz, Lalo Rodriguez, Raphael de Jesus, Cheo Feliciano, Charlie Cruz, Huey Dunbar, Cano Estremera, Michael Stuart and Jimmy Bosch.
Since moving to SW Virginia in 2005, he has been working with several local bands and appeared on the albums, ‘Former Champion’ - Lazy Man Dub Band, ‘Sure Ain’t Easy’ - Half Moon and upcoming recordings by Music Road Co and Seedpicker. Joel Stopka has been leading his signature project, Jstop Latin Soul, along with partner Brian Mesko,
since spring 2018 and is looking forward to upcoming recordings and shows with this exciting Afro-Cuban Jazz project.