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"I'm really proud to be director of this band," Jerry Zink said. "Of course there are times when I have my doubts."
Zink, the trombone playing conductor and between--tunes comic in the vein of Rodney Dangerfield or Jack Benny, led the Hendersonville Swing Band through a concert of swing classics Saturday at Hendersonville High School.
The concert, which attracted a good sized crowd, was a benefit for the Morris Kaplan Kiwanis Scholarship Fund.
"All my life I've always wanted to be somebody and I've prayed that I would be," Zink quipped. "I realize at this point in my life that I should have been more specific."
Don't despair. "If you want to feel better about yourself," he said, "remember that half the people you know are below average."
Born in a small town in Oklahoma, Zink claims Tulsa as his hometown. Between 14 swing classics, jazz standards and military salutes, he introduced 17 band members, mostly retirees, who come from cities and towns across the country. The geographic range and diversity of their backgrounds shows that "music brings people together," the band leader said.
"I personally don't do Asheville very much," he told the audience of mostly seniors. "There's people there I don't relate to." He told of having been stranded and needing to catch a ride on public transportation from downtown to the airport and asking a local about the transit line.
"I said, 'Crosstown bus run all night?' And he said, 'doo dah, doo dah.'"
Band members are Stan Howell, Ralph Morris and Mike Kirchen, trombones, Paul Nau, bass trombone; Bob Daigle, drums; Mark Sherren, piano; Jack Presseau, string bass; Marilyn Campbell and Jim McConnell, alto saxophone; Tom Ward and Bud Haas, tenor saxophone; Jim Hage, baritone saxophone; and Russ Sena, Bill Conkright, Bob Branson, Bob Chandler and Jim Lane, trumpet.
"I hope you enjoy this half of the show because I'm not at my best after intermission," Zink said before a break. "People come up and tell me things during intermission and I can't get them off my mind. At our last concert, a lady came up to me and said 'every one of your jokes is better than the next one.'"