Photo of Alexander Gonzalez

James Neist Sr.

James Neist, Interim Music Director of the Palmyra-Eagle Community Band. Music has been a part of Jim’s life ever since he saw “The Music Man” at the Avalon Theater at the tender age of six.  He begged his parents to let him play the trombone, but his arms were too short, so he picked up a cornet instead.  The rest, as they say, is history!

Growing up, Jim played trumpet with the Milwaukee Lake Band for six years, participating in marching and concert settings for national VFW and American Legion competitions.  As a Bay View Redcat, he performed in the Stage, Symphonic, and Marching Bands as well as the Pit Orchestra.  Jim attended UW-Whitewater where he earned his BA in Music Education.

Frank Cascio hired Jim as an Educational Consultant, and over his thirty-year career he advanced to Vice President and General Manager of Cascio Music.  He was subsequently named General Manager at Mars Music and worked as a Regional Manager for Boosey & Hawkes Musical Instruments Inc. and Gemstone/Gemeinhardt.

In his college years and as a young husband and father of two, Jim earned grocery money as a member of the Jimmy Rose Orchestra, a wedding band in the Milwaukee area.  While working at Cascio Music, Jim founded the New Berlin Community Band under the direction of Dr. Nick Contorno. After moving to Eagle, he joined the Palmyra-Eagle Community Band, conducted by Bandmaster Ed Pierce, where he has been a member for over 20 years.  He is the leader of the Kettle Moraine Blues, a small group that performs a variety of musical genres at local events.  Jim also plays trumpet with the Windy Hill Symphonic Band, directed by Dr. Craig Hurst.

Jim is excited to return to conducting as the Interim Director of PECB.  As he can often be heard saying, he is “Livin’ the dream!”