Jim began playing the trombone in fifth grade. In high school, Jim was a member of the Elmhurst York Community High School band program under the direction of LaVern Reimer. Jim attended Bradley University, Peoria and graduated with a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering while also playing trombone in the Bradley Wind Ensemble. Jim married his high school sweetheart and has 7 children and 6 grandchildren. His maternal great grandfather was involved with the Chicago Musicians Union and played flute in Sousa's band. Jim has been in the fire service since 1983 and retired as a full time fireman in 2010.
Jim is an Apiary Inspector for the Illinois Department of Agriculture. He is also a member of the Bloomington-Normal Community Band, Pontiac Municipal Band, Brass Band of Central Illinois, Joliet Legion Band and anywhere else that is looking for someone to play low brass. Jim plays trombone, bass trombone, tenor horn, euphonium, and E-flat and B-flat tuba. He enjoys period clothing and playing period instruments which really gets him thinking about life in the 1860's. He loves history and itchy wool. He considers it a privilege to be a part of living history reenactments and part of the 33rd family.