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Heartland Boogie Band
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Band Members

Tim Brechbill - Band Leader / Soprano, Alto & Tenor Sax

Tim Brechbill Tim has a Master of Music in Saxophone Performance from the University of Southern California (USC) where he studied with world renown classical saxophonist, Harvey Pittel, and a Bachelor of Music in Saxophone Performance from University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO). He also has a MA in Math and Computer Science from UNO. He was an Adjunct Saxophone Instructor at UNO for nearly 20 years, and recently retired from Union Pacific Railroad where he worked for over 27 years in the I.T. Department.

Tim was the Omaha Symphony saxophonist "on call" for many years and can be heard on the Omaha Symphony's premier compact disc, "Take Flight". He has been a featured soloist with the UNO Wind Symphony multiple times. Also an accomplished composer, you can hear some of Tim's compositions on his website.

Tim, Joel, and Gery were all members of one of the top horn bands in the mid 70's in Omaha called MacNasty and are excited to be back together.

Tim and his wife of over 40 years, Diane, are blessed to have two children and three grandchildren, all living in the Omaha area.

Ashley Struebing - Lead Vocals

Ashley Struebing Ashley Struebing, aka "DD Stone" has been singing since she could talk. In 1st grade, her music teacher recommended her parents involve her in the Nebraska Children's Choir. Her passion and thirst for music and singing has been unquenchable ever since.

In her younger years, Ashley played trumpet in the school band, but soon realized that she needed to be in choir. She began singing and dancing in the show choir, and continued throughout her school years. Any time the opportunity presented itself, she was sure to audition for honor choirs, making it to All-state two consecutive years.

As an adult, Ashley has continued to pursue music, traveling multiple avenues. She attended UNO as a music ed major for 2 years, sang as the lead female vocalist in an 80s cover band called The Jiggawatts, performed the National Anthem for multiple years with the Omaha Storm Chasers, as well as sang at numerous wedding and funerals. She has also directed her church Christmas choir and served on her church worship team.

Ashley writes her own music and enjoys collaborating with other musicians. She plays the piano and dabbles with small percussion.
"Being chosen to join Heartland Boogie Band is an honor and a privilege!"

Gery Illgner - Keyboards / Lead Vocals

Gery Illgner Gery, keyboards, began playing piano/organ and drums in Omaha while in grade school. Growing up in a musical family, he was surrounded by singing & harmonies, and at the age of 9 began piano lessons with the nuns in Catholic grade school. Drum lessons were added to the mix... playing rock'n'roll and at church continued throughout grade school, high school, college, and beyond.

Gery played in numerous bands throughout school, and his first early gigs included neighborhood parties & carnivals, and playing for grade school parties (including his own grade school graduation party). Some of the bands styles were rock'n'roll (Credence Clearwater Revival, Allman Brothers, the Doors, the Beatles, Steppenwolf), and Gery also played with bands in Omaha's inner city / near north side ... soul and funk (Kool and the Gang, Ohio Players, Tower of Power, Average White Band, Sly and the Family Stone, Herbie Hancock, the Commodores, etc).

Gery studied music while enrolled in the College of Music at the University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO); classical music, jazz bands, and also trained with Tony Gulizia. Enjoying all styles of music, it financed his college education, especially when the gigs were steady (Omaha agents Subby Anzaldo and Eddy Haddad kept his band "Now & Then" playing on a steady basis in the clubs in the Nebraska - Iowa region). By the time Gery received an offer to play on cruise ships in the Caribbean, he had changed his major from Music and had his Business Degree at UNO.

A few years later Gery retired from music, and did not return to the stage for 15 years. When a surprise birthday party needed a band, friends from his old bands (Fat Dog Boogie Band and MacNasty) travelled to Kansas City from Omaha, Chicago, and New York to create a Blues Brothers style band.

Gery was one of the original MacNasty members with Tim, and Joel, and currently also a member of One Night Stand in KC.

Joel Edwards - Trumpet / Vocals Joel Edwards

Joel has a BA in music education and received a MS in Audiology and Doctoral Degree Au.D. from ATSU in Phoenix Arizona. Joel is currently an audiologist for Boys Town National Research Hospital West Hospital and serves as a coordinator. Joel taught hearing science and was an adjunct professor a UNO Department of Communicative Disorders and taught 10 years.

Joel's trumpet teachers include Jim Hill, recording jingle artist for the Minneapolis and Omaha areas in the early 70's, Gene Badgett (Trumpet Omaha Symphony in 1973-77), Dennis Schneider (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) 1980-83, John Henes, Chicago Metropolitan Opera trumpet section (Alexander technique for trumpet) 1995.

Joel Edwards performs with various groups in the area that include Finest Hour, Blue House and the Rent-to-Own Horns for over 20 years, Solid Brass Quartet, Omaha Brassworks, Omaha Trumpet Ensemble, Lincoln Trumpet Ensemble, Omaha Big Band, local Omaha blues band, Resurrected Swing Big Band, and Gooch's Las Vegas Jazz band that performs in Omaha regularly.

Joel has performed with Ray Charles, Temptations, Four Tops, The Mighty Sam McClain, Johnny Mathis, Omaha Symphony Pops Orchestra and has played trumpet on many Broadway shows coming through the Omaha Metro that include Grease, Cinderella, Annie, Sound of Music, Damn Yankees, Crazy For You, Dream Girls (Dianna Ross Story), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Fiddler on the Roof, Spamalot to mention a few. Also listed to his credit is the longest running locally-produced professional show called Bee Hive, music review of the 50's and 60's rock era.

Joel was also one of the MacNasty members with Tim, and Gery.

Clarke Edson - Bass

Clarke Edson Clarke was born and raised in Omaha into a very musical and artistic family. He attended high school here and then college for three years before moving on to U of Miami for two years and then to UNLV in 1983 where he finished his music performance degree.

Staying in Las Vegas for twenty-six years as a pro musician, he performed with many, many bands, singers and entertainers. Along the way he met his wife of thirty years (Cathy) and also attended culinary school and has cooked professionally at various times.

In 2009 Clarke and Cathy moved back to Omaha to be closer to family and to a little slower pace than Vegas. Clarke has continued to play in a number of groups and settings and is happy to be the new guy in HBB, lookin forward to having fun and playing some music.

Chris Johnson - Guitar / Lead Vocals

Chris Johnson Chris, originally from Wahoo, NE, comes from a musical family and was in his first band by age 13. His parents were a part-time choir director and church organist. He plays guitar, harmonica, keyboards, and sings

Some of his previous bands include Teez, The Young Executives, Look Ma!, Average Joe Band, Digital Paradise, Nextgen and Silver Moon Band. He is also the Contemporary Worship Leader and Arranger at St Thomas Lutheran Church in Omaha.

Chris has a BS-Civil Engineering from the University of Nebraska and is currently the President of Gurney and Associates, a manufacturer’s rep firm for water and wastewater treatment equipment.

Chris and his wife of over 25 years, Catherine, are blessed with two sons.

Rich Felt - Tenor & Bari Sax

Rich Felt Rich is a Omaha North High graduate, he has his B.S. in ELED-Mathematics Specialization from UNO. While in high school and college, Rich worked as a night and weekend manager at Kelley's North Bowl. After college, he taught at Ft Calhoun elementary for 6 months serving in the role of "replacement" while the regular teacher was on leave. After leaving his brief stint as an elementary teacher, he worked at Mutual of Omaha for 5 years in the Mutual Actuarial Department. In 1989, he was about to welcome his daughter, Allyson, into this world and joined First National Bank of Omaha. While at FNBO, Rich has launched several departments and has worked as an individual contributor. His career has involved managing departments from 3 to over 300 people for the bank. He has had many rewarding positions at the bank in various capacities and is currently the Director of Strategic and Business Planning for the largest division, Consumer Banking Group. Rich just celebrated his 29th anniversary at the bank in July 2018.

While mostly self-taught, Rich cherishes in the fact that one of his saxophone teachers was Loyson "Skeets" Mahoney. In college, Rich quit his managing job at Kelley's North Bowl to pursue music full time. He played full time with Resurrected Swing, Paul Morehead and his Orchestra and as many musicians did during that time, sub'd for several "tenor bands" in the mid-west. Later after college, he played and continued to sub for several of our local bands. During the 90's he played in all but one of the ten "Alive" concerts that supported the Good News Jail & Prison Ministries. In the 2000's Rich played with Dave Nabity's in his "Band of Hope" that served as a primary fund raising mechanism for the Hope Center for Kids in North Omaha. Most recently, Rich has been a sub for Mike Girciullo's Las Vegas Big Band and from time to time plays at his church, First Christian Church in Council Bluffs.

Music has always been his passion since 7th grade. He has been blessed with playing with some of the best bands in the Midwest and is now continuing that blessing with Heartland Boogie Band.

Tim Miklas - Guitar / Lead Vocals

Tim Miklas Music was a big influence for Tim Miklas his entire life. His mother was a big band lead vocalist in the 1940's, with numerous big bands, including the Eddy Haddad band. She always loved to sing at home, and so did all her children.

Tim started playing guitar at Catholic church masses with family and friends, then continued to pursue music in college and to this day. His previous bands include Nightshift, 'Ncognito, The Pharomoans, Rough Cut and many more. He has written and recorded many original songs including a 6 song CD for The Pharomoans.

Tim has 30 plus years of musical entertainment experience including solo and duo acoustic acts, as well as wedding ceremonies. Some of his musical influences are Kenny Loggins, James Taylor, Toto, Foo Fighters, CNSY, Joni Mitchell, and Boston.

"Music lives in us all, find your music and play it like you feel."

Nick Fili - Drums / Percussion

Nick Fili "It's all about the passion..."

If there's anything 50 years of living on planet Earth has taught me, it is simply this; if there's no passion, there's no point. There has never been a time in my life when I was not passionate about music, and most especially drumming. I truly believe that God weaved that passion into my fiber while I was still in the womb. My mom agrees.

My parents bought me my first drum kit when I was 9 years old, more as a measure to prevent me from destroying any more furniture by drumming on it than anything else. We didn't have much money, so I never had the opportunity to study with a teacher until I could pay for lessons myself. Nonetheless, I had great teachers growing up - guys like Steve Gadd, Tris Imboden, Stewart Copeland, Airto Moriera, Steve Smith, Peter Erskine and Vinnie Colaiuta... I became a student of all the drummers, on all the records I could get my hands on. I became a master mimic.

After high school, I began to study with Luigi Waites, a brilliant jazz drummer and vibraphonist, and found out that being a mimic isn't enough - "a mimic can only recreate, only a musician can create music". Studying with Luigi inspired me to pursue my passion in a way that I had not previously considered, and in 1989, I entered the Jazz Studies program at the University of North Texas, where I was blessed to study with Henry Okstel, and along side of guys like Keith Carlock, Jim White, Jim Riley and Rich Redmond.

After nearly 30 years of playing sessions and teaching in the Dallas/Fort Worth market, with such incredible musicians as Christian Schultz, Tony Palos, Russ Hewitt, Thomas Brownlee, John DeBellevue and many, many others, I have returned to Omaha, bringing my passion, and experience, home to play.