Category Archives: Nostalgia

25 years of memories

The JHCB is 25 years old this spring! Over the last 25 years we have had a very diverse set of musicians, and we are all volunteers playing because we love music. We asked our musicians to tell us a favorite memory and this is what they had to say.

 Jerry Tapp

Playing Christmas Music at the Jackson State Bank

When the JHCB first started up we had a brass Quintet, members were Don Cushman and Jim Stockhouse on trumpet, Jeff Woodruff on Trombone, Tom Ninnemann on Tuba, and myself on French Horn. When Felix Buckingroth was President he paid them to play Christmas Music at the bank. This lasted 4 or 5 years, until Felix retired from the bank.

Don Cushman

Can’t pick just one…


1. Watching or listening to the members humming or whistling our last rehearsed number as they leave the rehearsals.

2. The first time we played for the Wyoming Winter Special Olympics Opening Ceremony, the first person through the door was in a wheel chair. There was a collective lump in the throat of the players in the band, and there was an instant resolve to participate in the ceremony whenever we could in the future.

3. During our most patriotic time of celebrations — on or near July 4 — it’s a thrill to play “America, the Beautiful” at the Jackson Lake Lodge with one of America’s most beautiful scenes in the background.

Nancy Ninnemann

Our first performance

Our first performance was the Old West Days Parade. Of course we didn’t have our parade trailer at that time, so we arranged to “borrow” a flat-bed, complete with truck to pull it and driver. He was to meet us by the fair building at 8:30. We arrived there and no trailer. We had chairs and stands (probably borrowed from the school district) ready to put on, but the trailer didn’t show up. We waited. About 15 minutes before the parade was to start, still no trailer. Word spread that the band was stranded. John Turner from Triangle X said he had brought a wagon (for the parade) on a flat-bed which was now empty and sitting in the fairgrounds parking lot. We were welcome to use it if we could find a driver. Just then Dick Riddle from Lower Valley Electric walked by and said, “I’ll drive.” He pulled the trailer up, we climbed on with the chairs and stands and we were off. For the July 4th parade, and many years thereafter, Lower Valley provided the flat-bed and Dick drove for us.

Tom Ninnemann

From the beginning

In 1984, a group of brass players were put together to play for Father’s Day at First Baptist Church. That initial group was made up of Don Cushman, Bob Dunstan, Tom Dunham, Jerry Tapp and Tom Ninnemann. For years thereafter, the group made up of changing members played at various events around the town including parades and the Christmas Square lighting. The “Jackson Hole Brass Quintet” even played at least one church service in Idaho Falls. It was during such events that others in the community spoke of how they wish they too had a venue to play the instruments they had in high school or college, but they did not fit into a brass ensemble. Then prior to the Wyoming Centennial, a call went out for projects to celebrate the state’s birthday. Funding was offered for “lasting legacy” projects. Several musicians from the quintet applied for funds to purchase music and other miscellaneous needs to form a band which would include the woodwind players and others they had met. Part of the inspiration came from a photo found at the Jackson Hole Historical Society of a community band posing near the square around 1914. The group met for the first rehearsal in the old high school on Glenwood Street and about 20 people showed up. 25 years later, some of those original members are still with the band.

Dave Raaum

Traveling to the Netherlands


My favorite memory of the band is traveling with our son Christopher to Maastricht, Netherlands for a week of music and sight-seeing.  We saw many historical European sites, and the band performed in a parade and a concert.  It was a unique experience to rehearse with a local band whose members didn’t speak much English, but could read the same music.  They had ashtrays and cup-holders on the music stands, and a bar in the back of the room for drinks after rehearsal.   Each JHCB band member was given 2 tokens to use at the bar.


Patsy Raaum

Loyal band family member

My favorite was the concert on the square after the parade, 2001.

Holly Balogh

Favorite band memories….

Rocking The Stars and Stripes Forever on the piccolos with Norma at Jackson Lake Lodge summer 2012 (is that year right?)- I think the best she had ever played

Playing at the Center for the Arts the first time with our friends from the Music Festival – we sounded awesome

Playing in the basement of St. John’s Episcopal Church when I was pregnant – the baby danced the whole time in that room!

Julie Wilson

Rehearsal Shenanigans


The year we performed “Your a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” for our Christmas program. During rehearsal, Ron Maason who is in the low brass section along the back wall, said that he had never heard that tune before. The entire band turned around and started singing to him “You’re a mean one, Mister Grinch…”


Small Town Tradition

The lighting of the town square is a living “Norman Rockwell Painting.” What is known as “black Friday” in the U.S. retail business world is the time for the annual observance, and downtown Jackson, WY, provides the setting. Friday night the day after Thanksgiving is the party — when the lights in the trees in the town square are turned on for the holiday season.

JHCB 2011

In the mid ’80s our brass quintet teamed up with the Jackson Hole Chorale to provide music for this festive event. We played Christmas carols and secular songs of Christmas, and the chorale led the singing. Kids and adults alike joined in singing and enjoyed the merriment in expectation for the lights to be turned on, followed by the arrival of Santa. After the advent of the Jackson Hole Community Band in 1989, additional brass members joined the quintet, and eventually, the woodwind players decided that they would like to join, too, despite the possibility of frozen and cracked reeds — and frozen fingers that must be exposed in order to cover the open holes on clarinets and some flutes.

“The show must go on!” Weather has always been a factor, but it has never stopped the event. We have played with temperatures in the 30s and 40s. That sounds pleasant, but if precipitation occurs, that means the players get wet instead of just being “dusted” with snowflakes. We’ve taken shelter to the best of our abilities under the large spruce trees, but eventually the drips find their way to the players.

Frozen Slide

With temperatures in the twenties, the setting is ideal. It’s cool enough for the snow to stay snow — on the ground or falling — but it’s not brutally cold for the instruments or the players. Fortunately, our memories of severely cold temperatures are few. One night in the early ’90s we started with the sign on the Jackson State Bank showing +2. It’s very difficult for the players to keep the instruments warm enough to function properly at that temperature. When we finished the ceremony a half-hour later, it showed -1, and we had several brass instruments with valves that were frozen in place, a couple of frozen trombone slides, and 3 icicles hanging from the bell of one of our trumpets.

Whatever the situation has been, we’ve looked forward to the cup of hot chocolate afterward, and we’ve always been warmed by the sense of community spirit. For those who have never attended, try to arrange your holiday schedule so you can make the next lighting of the Jackson town square — Friday night the day after Thanksgiving.

  Photo Album: Tree Lighting Ceremony