Madelyn Roberts is a second-generation Phoenix native who was raised in the mid-west and returned to Arizona in the 1970s. She is also a second-generation musician and teacher, the daughter of legendary guitarist- educator, Howard Roberts, who played on thousands of Hollywood recordings, television shows and movie soundtracks and established Guitar Institute of Technology, now known as Musicians Institute of Technology. Comfortable in a variety of musical settings, Madelyn was originally trained as a classical violinist and attended Wayne State University in Detroit. As a bandleader who spent 10 years on the road in the 1980s, she's seen most of the continental U.S. through the eyes of a touring musician. Upon her return to Arizona, she became a private investigator and was active during the 1990s in doing work on behalf of the State of Arizona and its various licensing boards. In the 1970s, Madelyn was one of the three top-ranked women billiards players in the world, competing in tournaments and performing in billiards exhibitions with Minnesota Fats and Willie Mosconi. She appeared on ABC's Wide World of Sports and was featured in Sports Illustrated and other sports publications of that era. Madelyn was the original founder and first Executive Director of the Women's Professional Billiards Association, or WPBA, whose current members can now seen in tournament competition on ESPN. In 2000, Madelyn was inducted into the WPBA Hall of Fame. Following a 17-year hiatus from the game, Madelyn began playing billiards again with amateur status in the mid-1990s. In 2000, she captured the Billiard Congress of America's North American Senior 8-Ball title and her team won the Billiard Congress of America's 8 Ball Open Championship. Madelyn became President of the statewide Professional Musicians of Arizona, American Federation of Musicians Local 586, in 1998 and is now in her 4th term of office. She sits on the Board of The Phoenix Symphony Orchestra and is a founding member of the American federation of Musicians Diversity Committee. She also maintains an active career as a professional guitarist and vocalist, performing both with her own band and in a wide variety of other musical settings, from concert stages to churches and country clubs.
The eldest child of late jazz and studio guitarist Howard Roberts, Madelyn Roberts began her musical career in childhood as a violinist. Having played with the Michigan Youth Symphony, she became popular in the Detroit area as a "ringer": someone who performs for hire in the string sections of community orchestras to help them sound more professional at their public concerts. Following a rotator cuff injury to her bowing arm, Madelyn took up the guitar in her early 20s but shortly thereafter put music aside to pursue a career in professional billiards. In the 1970s, she was one of the top competitors in the U.S., appeared on "Wide World of Sports" and performed billiards exhibitions with legendary players Minnesota Fats and Willie Mosconi. In 1975, Madelyn founded and became the first executive director of the Women's Professional Billiards Association (WPBA), a group still playing matches that are regularly televised on ESPN.In the late '70s, Madelyn moved to Arizona, gave up billiards and re-discovered the guitar. Her first professional job as a guitarist was in a Western Swing band, "The Bar 7 Bunch". In order to continue to learn and to improve her guitar skills, Madelyn formed "Desert Seminars", an educational program that allowed guitarists from all over the U.S. and Canada to come to Arizona and study in a group with jazz guitar greats such as her dad, Barney Kessel and Herb Ellis. In 1981, Madelyn joined a full-time professional trio and went on the road.It was in this group that she met her partner and husband, drummer Caesar Rob. The trio later morphed into "KANDU", a variety band that toured the U.S. for 10 years. In the early '90s, Madelyn and Caesar returned to Phoenix and began performing at various private clubs and functions as a variety band. In 1996, Madelyn was elected President of American Federation of Musicians Local 586, Arizona's professional labor union, an office she currently holds. In 1994, she returned to billiards as an amateur player and in 2000 won the North American Senior Women's title, was a member of the winning North American Women's Open Team and was inducted into the WPBA Hall of Fame as its founder. Currently, Madelyn continues to play guitar as a member of bands such as "52nd Street Jazz Band", "KANDU" and "The Robs".