• LEON JORDAN                     TRUMPET



    Leon Jordan, lead trumpet and founder of the Continentals Dance Band, began studying and playing the trumpet in the ninth grade. During his first two years at NC State University he continued trumpet studies at UNC Chapel Hill. At the end of his second year at State, Leon went to New York City to study under Dr. Charles Colin who for many years was one of the best known trumpet teachers in the United States. At the beginning of the Korean War, Leon joined the U.S. Navy as a trumpet player and completed studies at the Navy School of Music in Washington, D.C. After nearly four years in the Navy he returned to college studies, first earning a B.S., then a M.S. and finally a Ph.D. in metallurgical engineering. From September, 1974 to May, 1983 he developed a unique engineering program for students wanting a career in the field of music instrument manufacture. Since 1983 Leon has devoted his time to giving trumpet lessons to hundreds of young students and working with the band.

  • VIC JORDAN                         TRUMPET


    Vic, the youngest of Leon Jordon's two sons, has played trumpet with the Continentals since 1978. He began playing trumpet at the age of three and by age five could play recognizable melodies. During his freshman year at a high school in Myrtle Beach, SC, he held 1st chair. Throughout his remaining high school years he played in the Needham Broughton high school band in Raleigh. While in college at N.C. State Vic joined the North Carolina National Guard band and, during his service from 1980 until 2001, rose to the rank of staff sergeant, playing as one of the principle trumpet players in the 440th Army Band. For twenty two-week summer tours, he performed in concerts throughout North Carolina and in a concert series in Morocco, Africa. Vic is married, and he and his wife Aimee have three children - Brad, Will and Emily. Since graduating from N.C. State he has been employed as an adjuster in the insurance industry.

  • BEN SHAW                          TRUMPET


    Ben Shaw has been playing trumpet professionally since 1971 and with the Continentals since  1990. Most notable among the groups with whom he has played with are the Fantastic Shakers (1980-1988), the Kays and the Castaways. He's a band member with The Legends of Beach. He occasionally plays with the Holiday Band and has Studio Recording credits with all four bands. In addition to the Beach groups, Ben also plays with the North Carolina Brass Quintet. Ben, his wife and two sons live in Raleigh, North Carolina.

  • PAUL KREADER                     TRUMPET


  • JERRY BOWERS                    TRUMPET


    I grew up in California where I studied music and graduated from Fullerton College. I studied privately with world-renowned trumpet teacher Claude Gordon for three years until I went on the road with various groups. I have played with Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Guy Lombardo and Dennis Noday. In 1978 I went to Atlantic City with the comedian Rodney Dangerfield . Shortly after arriving in Atlantic City I got married and worked with my wife, Patsy McRae. Together we formed the Patsy McRae Show. As the Patsy McRae Show, we worked in Atlantic City and the Poconos. We also entertained troops for the USO on tours to Germany, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Spain, Turkey, Greenland, Bahrain, and throughout the US. We decided to settle down near Nashville, where I played trumpet with the 101st division Army Band at Ft Campbell. During this time I also played with the Bo Thorpe Band. Since arriving in Raleigh, NC in 1988, I have played with Smothers Brothers, Temptations, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Barnum and Bailey circus and with the North Carolina Symphony as the lead trumpet player for Rosemary Clooney and Tony Bennett. I have also played with the Charlotte Symphony, Winston Salem Symphony, and the Raleigh Symphony.

  • JAMES TATUM                     TROMBONE


    James joined the Continentals in 2013 as Lead trombone. A graduate of Eastern Carolina University's music program. For more than 16 years, he has been teaching private music lessons and teaches out of his house in North Raleigh. James also contributes as a music arranger for the band.

  • DICK SLOANE                     TROMBONE


    Dick first started playing 57 years ago, and has played actively with a number of Dixieland bands in the Triangle area since 1982, in particular the Fidgety Feet Dixieland band and now the Decatur Street Beat Dixieland band.  In addition to playing with the Continentals and the Carolina Jazz Band, he performs with several brass ensembles and even an ukelele band.  Dick recently retired from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in the Research Triangle Park and teaches part-time at Durham Technical Community College and for the Society of Clinical Research Associates.




    Larry James has performed with such notables as Natalie Cole, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Bob Hope, Mel Torme and the North Carolina Symphony, the North Carolina Theatre, Artie Barsamian's Boston Big Band and the Ron Rudkin Big Band. In addition to recording with Leon Jordan and the Continentals, Larry also recorded with Artie Barsamian's Boston Big Band, the Dave Coate Group and the Asbury College Brass Choir and Stage Band and can be heard with the Continentals in the the United Artists motion picture "Once Around" starring Richard Dreyfuss, Danny Aiello and Holly Hunter. Larry attended North Texas State University and received his Bachelor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music in Boston. He also holds a Master of Product Design degree from the School of Design at NCSU. Larry has been a teacher for many years and was a student of Matt Marvuglio, Rhonda Martin, Beth Lunsford, and the late Tim Eyermann of the US Air Force Airmen of Note.

  • KEITH                     ALTO SAX, CLARINET LONGMIRE                  BAND MANAGER




    Keith Longmire, alto saxophone/clarinet has been a member of the Continentals Orchestra since 1988. He is a retired band director from Durham Public Schools, having taught the last 15 years at Carrington Middle School. He has also taught in Columbus County and Granville County Schools. Mr. Longmire at this time is driver education co-ordinator at City of Medicine Academy with Durham Public Schools, plays with three bands and pick-up orchestras, and repairs, buys and sells woodwind instruments. He leads the Continental Combo and also plays in the dixieland band, Decatur Street Beat.



    Alston Sykes plays alto sax and clarinet in Leon Jordan's Continentals. He played with the Ambassadors big band in Raleigh from 1972-1977, and with Leon's band from 1977-1992 and re-joined in 2008. He began piano at the age of 6 yrs and at 10 yrs old he started on the clarinet, and at college he added saxophone. He has a degree in chemistry from Campbell University and is the Principal Chemist and co-owner of a testing laboratory in Raleigh, NC.




  • PATSY BOWERS                  VOCALS



    If Jerry Bowers is the power of the ensemble, then his wife Patsy is the soul! With many years as a seasoned singer and performer, Patsy brings an elegance to the band and never ceases to amaze with her vocal abilities!

  • TOM STARR                           PIANO


    Tom Starr joined the Continentals in 2009, having played the piano since he was 5. He trained classically for over 17 years, won several music scholarships as a teenager in Utica NY, and served as the choir accompanist while a student at Hamilton College, where he also discovered physics and jazz. He earned a Ph.D. in theoretical nuclear physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1971, and served on Wisconsin's faculty until 1981, when he and his family moved to the milder Raleigh climate. Currently, he consults part-time on health and environmental issues relating to chemicals and drugs, and has been studying jazz improvisation with Durham jazz pianist/educator Ed Paolantonio for the past 6 years.

  • VERNON JANKE                 PERCUSSION


    Vernon Janke comes from a musical family.  His mother played and taught piano and his dad played accordion and stringed bass. Vernon started beating on everything in the house at an early age, so his mother, in self-defense, gave him a snare drum, a pair of brushes, and numerous records of “big band” music. By the time he was 15, he was the “kid drummer” in his parent’s swing band.  He learned percussion through private lessons and in the public school band program, and played in the Governor’s School Orchestra, studying under Michael Rosen.  He played snare drum and timpani in high school and in the N.C. State University Bands and now is timpanist with the Raleigh Concert Band.  Over the last 40 years he has played jazz gigs with a variety of small local combos, and is an “on call” drummer for The Casablanca Orchestra, The Moonlighters Orchestra, and The Tuneswinger’s Orchestra.  Having been an “on call” drummer for the Continentals for many years, he started in a full-time position in 2012.

  • STEVE GRANGER                      BASS


Since 1957, in over 1500 engagements, Leon Jordan's Continentals has played music of the great Big Bands. They play music from notable bands such as: Glen Miller, Woody Herman, Les Brown, Harry James, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Johnny Long, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Herb Alpert, and many more.


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BAND MANAGER:   Keith Longmire


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