Band Members

Jim Anthony (Clarinet and Tenor Sax)

Jim hails from Michigan where he performed with concert bands, orchestras, big bands and German bands for 20 years. He played in backup bands for Rosemary Clooney, The Mills Bros, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, Jerry Lewis, Rich Little, Mel Torme and Natalie Cole to name a few. He performed in more than 60 different Broadway shows, including local performances with 12 national touring companies. Jim played lead clarinet, alto and baritone sax with the Glenn Miller Orchestra from 1978-1985, performing in 14 countries and 49 US states. From 2006 to 2013, Jim was the Adjunct Clarinet and Saxophone Instructor at UNC Asheville. During that time, he also taught at Mars Hill College, and Brevard College. He has been a longtime member of the Asheville Jazz Orchestra and Russ Wilson Orchestra. After living in the Asheville area for more than 25 years, Jim is still busy playing with bands, orchestras and musical theater companies across this region.

John Entzi (Trumpet and Vocals)

Dr. Entzi is from a musical family and received his B.M.E. degree in 1974 from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, his M.A. in 1978 from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC and his D.M.A. in 1998 in trumpet performance from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. He has toured and performed extensively throughout the Southeast, where he performed with Holiday on Ice, Disney on Parade, the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, the Henry Busse Orchestra, The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Guy Lombardo, Vaughn Monroe, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Atlantic Jazz Orchestra, When Swing Was King, Nelson Riddle Orchestra and the U.S. Air Jazz Orchestra. Dr. Entzi is currently the Lead trumpet player and co founder of the Asheville Jazz Orchestra. He is often performing with The Russ Wilson Orchestra, The Greenville Jazz Collective and the Michael Gamble Orchestra. He is an active member of numerous music Conferences and Associations as well as Music Fraternal Organizations.

Rick Neiman (Tuba and Vocals)

Rick comes from a musical family and made his debut on his parents radio show, in Lancaster, PA, at the age of 7. Rick attended Temple University (Philadelphia), majoring in Music Education and Performance. Although his training is mainly in the Classical vein, Rick has performed with a number of touring companies, The Guy Lombardo Band and The Henry Mancini Orchestra, as well as National companies, Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus and Long Horn Rodeo bands, and has backed Bob Hope, George Burns and Wayne Newton to name a few. He has served as adjunct low-brass instructor at both Furman University and Clemson University. He was a member of the Asheville, NC based group The Firecracker Jazz Band, ’20’s and 30’s Dixieland Jazz, for approximately 10 years, Principle Tuba with the Lancaster (Pa) and Greenville (SC) Symphony Orchestras and a founding member of the Piedmont Brass Quintet.

John Moody (Keyboard)

John Moody lives in Spartanburg, SC, where he composes, works with 3d art, and plays jazz piano. He performs regularly with the Greenville Jazz Collective, the Spartanburg Jazz Ensemble, Orion’s Belt, and many others.  He received a Doctorate in Music Composition from Boston University in 1993 and has performed regularly in the Upstate of South Carolina since he moved to the area in the mid 90’s.

Justin Watt (Drums)

A native of northeastern Ohio, Justin Watt has resided in the Asheville, N.C. area for 11 years. Before his move to Asheville, he was the drummer for the world-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra for two years where he toured all over the U.S., Canada and Japan. In Asheville, he is in demand as a percussionist in a wide variety of genres as well as an educator. He teaches part time as an adjunct instructor of percussion at the University Of North Carolina Asheville, adjunct instructor of drum-set at Furman University and percussion at the Asheville Music School.


Nathan Hefner (In memoriam)

At the end of our 2023 season, our longtime keyboard player and vocalist, Nathan Hefner, suddenly succumbed to a massive heart attack. Nathan was not only a very talented musician, but he was a very good friend to all in the band. He will be greatly missed. We are dedicating our 2024 season to his memory. Let’s have some fun this year for Nathan. Prost!