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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."

Jai Jones - Drums / Percussion

Jai Jones Jeremy Jones, AKA "Jai", is from Omaha, and grew up with many different musical influences. From an early age he accompanied his mother to choir rehearsal at church and would go home after and pull pot's and pan's out to play drums. When old enough he started playing for church services and was soon traveling around the state as well as neighboring states to play. Playing in church gave him a solid foundation for music and with gospel music being the birth of many genre's, it set him in the right direction.

While in school he was involved in Drum core, Jazz bands and just about anything including Orchestra and Stage band. Additionally growing up in the 80's during the MTV generation his exposure grew even more, opening his interest to rock and the variety of the sounds of the time.

Jai is the co-founder of the original band Ephemeral that he produces for and a drummer for Lifegate Church at the West Dodge location as well as the other campuses.

Ryan Brechbill - Guitar / Vocals (ON LEAVE)

Ryan Brechbill Ryan played in the band and jazz band at Omaha Burke and studied trumpet with Joel Edwards. While he did not continue with his love of music with trumpet, Ryan started playing the guitar in college and is a now a budding singer / songwriter, with over 40 original songs to his credit. Stop in to one of the local "open mic" nights at various venues in Omaha, and you may very well hear Ryan singing one of his new originals.

Ryan has a BA in Criminal Justice from the University of Nebraska and a BSN from the Methodist School of Nursing. He is formerly a Registered Nurse at Methodist Hospital in Omaha, and is currently on leave from the band while he pursues his career as a travelling nurse in different locations around the USA.