I started learning to play drums in the 8th grade. Upon graduating high school, I was accepted at both the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati and by the Berklee College of Music in Boston. I chose CCM because I thought “classical” training would be better. I played my first love, jazz, while in college. While still in college I played six nights per week in the house band at the Cincinnati Playboy Club while managing to get up for 8 a.m. classes the next day. (Not a good idea.) One New Year’s Eve after deciding I was not going to take a job anywhere, I got a call to fill in with the Ink Spots for their drummer who had gotten sick. Glad I was available. My senior year in college, I had the honor playing on stage during our college’s jazz festival with Dizzy Gillespie. Also while in college, I played under Erich Kunzel, the conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra’s 4th of July concerts in DC and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.

After graduating college with a Bachelor of Music degree and a Selective Service draft number of 8, I enlisted in the Army. I was in the infantry for 1 year where I was a gunner on a 106 mm recoilless rifle and then played in the 100th Army Reserve Band for 5 years. When I came off of active duty, there were big budget cuts to the schools, so I took a “temporary” job with Southern Railway. That “temporary” railroad employment lasted 30 years. I was promoted and transferred to Louisville, Chattanooga and eventually to Atlanta where I supervised 18 officers and about 350 clerks in a 24/7 operations center.

I took an early retirement from the railroad, and because my wife said I was spending too much time at home talking to the dogs, I started a videography business. I retired from that a few years ago and decided it was time to get back into music. I am so glad my wife, Maureen, saw an article about the Southern Winds Concert Band. (And I’m still looking for a jazz group to play in.)

John Kreimer