Jim Gast, Player Emeritus Clarinet
Jim began playing piano at age 9 and at age 12 started on the accordion. He took up the clarinet in junior high school at about age 14 and played in both junior high school band and orchestra.
He played in his high school marching band, concert band, and orchestra and also fronted his own 14-piece band, which played for high school programs and dances around the city of Hamilton. Jim literally "grew up" playing the music of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, Claude Thornhill -- and so on. He also led a woodwind quartet which played program and incidental music and also did occasional broadcasts on the local radio station.
By this time the range of instruments included the piano, accordion, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, oboe, cello, and string bass.
While at Miami University, Jim played in both marching and symphonic bands as well as other small combos and campus groups. He also sang with the Naval ROTC Sea Chanters - an all-male chorus - and acted as summer director of the group during midshipman summer training cruises.
Jim played very little for several years after college. He did however; sing for several seasons with the Village Singers - a community chorus in Franklin, Ohio. He served for about five years as choir director at the First United Methodist Church in Franklin and later directed the choir at St. Paul Lutheran Church - also in Franklin - for about fifteen years.
Jim sat at first chair clarinet with the Franklin Civic Band from about 1994 until it disbanded in about 2006. He currently also plays in the Centerville Community Band.
Jim retired in 1992 after thirty-three years at the Mound Facility in Miamisburg, Ohio. His later assignments there were in the field of mathematics and statistics and were related to developing and implementing workload forecasting and performance prediction techniques for the mainframe computers in the data center. His work was instrumental in Mound Facility’s success in obtaining funding from the Department of Energy for computer acquisitions in the $3M - $5M price range.
Jim lives in Springboro next door to his son Chuck and daughter-in-law Regina. Daughter Lisa and son-in-law Scott live in Carlisle (just across the river). Grandchildren have all married and moved away.
Jim began playing in the Southwestern Ohio Symphonic Band in about 1975 at the encouragement of his daughter Lisa who played clarinet in the Franklin Junior High School Band. She was playing in the SOSB at the encouragement of her band director. It turned out she really needed transportation to rehearsals. Jim furnished the transportation and remained for the next 47 years, playing clarinet and eventually becoming the Band's Stage Manager for many years.
Jim decided to retire from the band in January of 2022. At the SOSB concert on March 3, 2022, Jim was honored by becoming the third Player Emeritus for his many years of service and contributions to the band.