Officers & Directors Bios

CCJS officers and directors come from varied backgrounds.
A brief introduction to our leadership and staff.

Aaron Lucas

Aaron Lucas

Aaron Lucas

Aaron Lucas is a native of Louisville, Ky., where he was educated in the public schools and the University of Louisville. He practiced general, thoracic and cardiovascular surgery in the Louisville area for 30 years. He played trombone in elementary school, high school, college and medical school in orchestras, concert bands and various jazz ensembles. During his years of medical practice, Aaron also performed in and managed a big band consisting mostly of doctors. After his retirement, he expanded his interest in musicology and instrumental performance involving early traditional jazz and Big Band Swing. Aaron lives in Punta Gorda, and performs with the Charlotte County Concert Band and Tamiami Brass Quintet.

Dan Cobb

Dan Cobb

Dan Cobb

Dan grew up near Detroit Michigan. He joined the U.S. Navy where he served, after two years of schooling, aboard a Polaris Missile Nuclear Submarine. Dan then worked at a civilian Nuclear Power Station until gaining employment at Marion Power Shovel which provided large mining equipment to the surface mining industry. There he served in several management positions. Later he served as Safety Service Director for the City of Marion, Ohio. In between times Dan obtained a series six securities license as well as licenses for Life and Health insurance. Dan currently serves as Board Treasurer.

Pam Koontz

Pam Koontz

Pam Koontz

Pam Koontz is a native of Newark, New Jersey. She performed extensively in the New Jersey/New York area with the likes of Chico Mendoza (piano/vibes) and Freddie Roach (musician/playwright) before moving to Florida. Since then she has teamed up with such musicians as Nathan Page, Kenny Soderblom, Jack Petersen, Marcus Hampton, Richard Drexler and John Lambert. She has also enjoyed a career as a stage and TV actress, appearing at Lincoln Center and other noteworthy venues. Pam joined the CCJS Board of Directors in 2014 and currently serves as Secretary.

Herb Bruce

Herb Bruce

Herb Bruce

Herb Bruce is a former member of the U.S. Army Band and recently retired after serving 28 years as a reserve Army officer. He continues to be involved in U.S. Army musical groups. A world-class trombonist, he has toured and recorded with many leading pop and jazz groups. He traveled with Boots Randolph, Denny Davis, and the Nashville Brass, and is in demand at leading jazz festivals in the U.S. and Europe. Herb is a part of the Salvation Army International band program and tours on their behalf. He has released several albums under his Herbicide label. Herb also plays with the Venice Florida Symphony Orchestra as Principal Trombonist. He joined the CCJS board in 2021 as a consultant and concert coordinator.

Chris (Brown) Fitzgerald

Chris (Brown) Fitzgerald

Chris (Brown) Fitzgerald

Chris (Brown) Fitzgerald has been a member of CCJS for 21 years and served as Treasurer for 14 years. Educated in Canada, she taught high school and middle school music while performing in supper clubs, lounges, jazz festivals, radio and television. She did international club dates in North and South America and USO tours with Billy Eckstine. Chris is a frequent vocalist at Jazz Jams and concerts. Chris was awarded a Lifetime Membership in recognition of her contributions to CCJS.

Emilie Deskins

Emilie Deskins

Emilie Deskins

Emilie Deskins, of Port Charlotte, works part-time for CCJS as the administrative assistant. She attended The Ohio State University, studying social work and Marion Technical College, studying real estate. Emilie worked for 26 years in Ohio in the title insurance industry as a licensed title insurance agent. She was part owner and manager of the Ohio office of a large title insurance company and specialized in business development, work flow, and on-line research. Emilie relocated to Florida from Ohio 8 years ago.

Shawn Marren

Shawn Marren

Shawn Marren

Shawn Marren hails from Philadelphia, PA, where he began studying music at an early age. After moving to Englewood, he graduated from Lemon Bay High School, where he was Drum Major in the marching band, participated in the jazz and concert bands, and was a CCJS scholarship recipient upon graduation. Shawn attended the University of South Florida (Tampa), where he studied music performance. In college he was the music director for several local churches and performed extensively through southwest Florida in a variety of symphonies, musical theaters and jazz bands. After collete, he toured extensively as a keyboardist with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and then went on to become Music Director of several other historic circuses. After his many years in the circus, Shawn moved to Las Vegas and began composing music and sound effects for Konami, one of the world leaders in the gaming industry. During the COVID pandemic, Shawn and his wife, along with their three sons, returned to Englewood to be closer to family. He currently works from home as a freelance composer and sound designer.

James Mashburn

James Mashburn

James Mashburn

James is a native Floridian dating back 6 generations. He played trombone extensively throughout Florida for many years, beginning at Charlotte High School. While studying for his MBA at Palm Beach Atlantic University, James was one of the founding trombonists for Salsa La Playa — the music with the front beat! He also served on committees to hire music professors which included sitting in with the audition band.

Professionally, James has held positions in manufacturing, including plant manager and chief operating officer in the furniture and yacht industries. He is currently a Series 7 & 66 licenses Financial Advisor in Punta Gorda. James serves on the Stewardship Committee at his church in Punta Gorda. He joined the CCJS board in in 2021, becoming the second scholarship recipient to do so.

Tom Osborne

Tom Osborne

Tom Osborne

Tom Osborne, raised and educated in upstate New York, owned and operated an insurance company before moving to Port Charlotte. For over 50 years he has played drums with jazz combos and big bands in New York state and New England and now in Florida. He joined CCJS in 2010 and has served on the Board since then.

Jordan Aquila

Jordan Aquila

Jordan Aquila

Originally from Buffalo, NY, Jordan moved to Florida in 1986 and attended Port Charlotte Middle and High Schools where he began his passion for playing the trumpet. He began working at Buffalo Graffix, his family’s printing business, in January of 2000 and continues to work there and manage the operations. Shortly after graduating high school, he began playing trumpet professionally. He plays with a few bands and at churches around the Southwest Florida area but does most of his playing at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers where he has performed in over 100 productions and has also conducted numerous shows.

Les Kraus

Les Kraus

Les Kraus

Les is a retired music educator who served as Director of Bands at Port Charlotte Middle School for 25 years. He is a graduate of Kent State University where he earned a Bachelors of Music and a Masters in Educational Administration. After teaching in Northeast Ohio for 11 years he moved his family to Port Charlotte. As a freelance musician, Les has performed in swing bands, symphony orchestras, and in the “pits” for musical theater, taking him from Tampa to Naples. He and his wife Jan are the proud parents of two sons and a daughter, all of whom were involved in music. In retirement he has continued as a music educator work- ing with area school band programs as a clinician. He loves helping all students develop their musical skills to the best of their ability.

Charlotte County Jazz Society ...