RJO on stage at Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe in summer of 2019


John Beckman

John played in the 28th Army Band at Ford Ord, Calif. He’s performed in the Reno-Tahoe area since 1968 with notable musicians such as Buddy Rich and Ray Anthony. John associates jazz with emotions like love, hate, sadness, and excitement.

Josh Dunlap

Julien Knowles

Andrew Woodard

Andrew played in the U.S. Army Studio Band at Fort Mead, Maryland. Later, he joined the United States Bicentennial Band and Chorus. They played for at high-profile events including a gala where President Gerald Ford was the guest speaker. Andrew recalls a nod of approval from Tony Bennett during a solo: “It was worth all the years of practice.”


Dean Carter (Lead)

Dean has played in the Reno-Tahoe area for 25 years. He’s performed with Sammy Davis and worked with renowned signers Frank Sinatra and Aretha Franklin. Dean relates jazz to pure joy. “Jazz is built on the attraction and the environment it’s in.”

Rich Lewis

Richard is a founding member of the Reno Jazz Orchestra. He began playing in the Reno-Tahoe area during the late 1970s, during the casino showroom era. Richard graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a music education degree. Now, he teaches music in the Washoe County School District.

John Bennum

Cody Forcier, bass trombone


Karl Busch, alto 1

Dallas Smith, ato 2

Dallas studied different styles of music, from classical to East Indian classical to American Jazz. He loves the impromptu abilities of jazz music and sound of big band. Dallas feels as though “time stands still when he plays with friends.”

Doug Coomler, tenor 1

Doug has an accomplished career that includes performances with some of the finest musicians and singers in America. Today he is a faculty member at the University of Nevada Reno, owns a private teaching studio, and is the Director of the Reno Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Jim Garaventa, tenor 2

Jim is a founding member of the Reno Jazz Orchestra. He has played in the Reno-Tahoe area since 1975, during an era of casino showroom bands that began in the 60s. Jim loves the diversity in jazz music. He believes that “there are not clear lines as to what jazz is or isn’t.

Mauro Di Gioia, baritone

Mauro is the founder of ReedGeek, a business in Reno that provides a reed accessories that helps create a high-quality sound for woodwind musicians of all ages. Mauro loves the complexities and fingerprint sound of individuals and ensembles.


Hans Halt, bass

Hans began his career in Bay area Latin bands. After graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno, he became a music professor at the University. Hans has been around music since he was a kid. He played piano, guitar, electric bass and built his career on the upright bass.

Bill Hecht, piano

Bill has led a very diverse career. He was the pianist for the Engelbert Humperdinck 1983 World Tour, performed with Little Anthony and the Imperials, Chuck Berry and many more. Bill sang in various productions with Nevada Opera Chorus and Reno Philharmonic Chorus and composed and arranged music for many of the more popular IGT slot machines.

Andy Heglund, drums

Andrew began playing professionally during high school for a steakhouse house band. He enjoyed the opportunities to learn different styles of music. Now, he enjoys teaching music at the University of Nevada, Reno. Andrew remembers his mom taking him to a concert featuring the drummer Buddy Rich, a musician “that greatly impacted his passion for jazz.”

Joey Berger, guitar

Joey is an alum of the University of Nevada, Reno. He enjoys playing a variety of music including jazz and rock. At the age of 12, he remembers struggling to wrap his hands around a guitar. Joey credits his appreciation and love of jazz to his school teachers and mix tapes.


Mailing Address

Reno Jazz Orchestra
124 West Taylor Street
Reno, Nevada 89509

Phone, Email, Website

Music Director

Chuck Reider