a non-profit community band

entertaining audiences throughout

Erie County and beyond


Brian McCowin, Gem City Concert Band


Brian McCowin is currently the Director of Bands at Corry Area High School. His duties include directing the Marching Band, Jazz Band, High School Concert Band, Middle School Concert Band, teaching instrumental lessons, and guitar class. He has been with the Corry Area School District since 2003 and has taught a wide array of courses from elementary general music to chorus and theatre. Originally from Beaver Falls, PA, Brian’s degrees include a Master of Music in Music Education from Duquesne University (2008) and a Bachelor of Science in Music Education, cum laude, from Slippery Rock University (2003). Brian studied trombone with Robert D. Hamrick, who retired from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the late Patrick Myers of Slippery Rock University and the Pittsburgh Ballet and Opera Orchestras. Prior to moving to Erie, he played trombone with the Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestra, Beaver County Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and the Abbey Brass. Recently he has played with the 40’s Plus Swing Band and Triumphant Gospel Swing Band, both based in Corry, PA. He has also played with the Our Lady of Peace Playhouse and continues to play for the Erie Playhouse and for local high school musicals as time allows. He also plays trombone with the Gem City Jazz Ensemble.


Jim Caspar, Gem City Jazz Ensemble


Jim Caspar graduated from Penn State University in 1991 with a degree in Music Education. While at Penn State, Jim performed with the Penn State Marching Blue Band, the Penn State Wind Ensemble, and Centre Dimensions, the university’s top jazz ensemble. Additionally, Jim was Principle Trumpet with the Penn State Symphony Orchestra and was a member of the Music Educators’ National Conference and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the country’s premier professional music fraternity. While at Penn State, Jim also performed with the Altoona Symphony Orchestra and the State College Opera Society’s Orchestra. Jim has played trumpet professionally with a number of bands and ensembles, from studio recordings with the Fred Waring Orchestra to a European tour with a performance and live CD recording at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in 1996 with the Buzz Jones Big Band. Jim has been a music educator for more than 25 years, teaching in the Brandywine School District from 1991 through 1997 and serving as the Director of Instrumental Music for Wattsburg Area School District since 2001. From 2005-2010, Jim also conducted groups with the Greater Erie Youth Symphony Organization (GEYSO), and held the position of GEYSO Music Director from 2008-2010. He currently plays trombone in the Gem City Concert Band.


Past Conductors:


  • Adam Lehner
  • Joseph Lehner
  • Hank Russell
  • Lloyd Johns
  • Ralph Perkins
  • Ned Trautman
  • Gary Peterson
  • Tim McKinney
  • Betty McKinney
  • Scott Tomlison