Traditional Dixieland Jazz for Upstate New York
Jazz isn't planned... it just happens!



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What started as a small three-piece group rehearsing in a living room has grown into a solid seven-man combo.  Here's a little bit about the people that make the JazzHappensBand so great.

Members listing:


Jeff Dovi

Trumpet, Band Leader


Jeff has been playing the trumpet in and around the Cortland area for over 35 years. He attended Ithaca College as a music education major for one year before deciding to make music an avocation. He has performed in various brass groups, civic bands, big bands, theater and pit orchestras, and combos but his love for Dixieland music finally inspired him to start his own group currently known as the JazzHappensBand.
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Nick Pauldine

After a short career as a public school music teacher, Nick went to work in the vacation entertainment industry as a musical director, leading multi-purpose ensembles providing musical support for Las Vegas-style production shows, formal dancing, and variety show entertainers. He has performed with John Pizzarelli, Nell Carter, Diane Schurr, Nancy Wilson, Ann Hampton Callaway, and many other artists.
In 1997, Nick returned to Ithaca to “settle down”, and took over directorship of the Ageless Jazz Band, an 18-piece traditional swing band, a position he still holds today. He has overseen production of 2 recordings with the AJB, several Caribbean tours, and a commissioned work (Catch Phrase by Steve Brown)
Nick also maintains an active clarinet and saxophone studio, as well as free-lances under the Something Of Note brand.
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Mike Poole


Mike Poole is a trombonist from Cortland, NY. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, and studied music theory at the University of Buffalo. In addition to playing with the JazzHappensBand, Mike performs in several other classical ensembles, including the Crown City Brass and the Cortland Old Timers Band, and also directs the brass ensemble at St. Mary’s Church in Cortland
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Jim Overhiser


Jim, a retired physics teacher from Owego, New York, is one of the JazzHappensBand originals. He is a performing musician on the guitar playing jazz, folk and blues around the area with a variety of musicians.  In his senior year of high school and at the request of his music teacher, he switched from trumpet to playing tuba.  That's it!  1 year of playing tuba in high school until he was persuaded by band leader Jeff Dovi 30 years later to join the group to fill in the low notes (both the oomph and the pah).  That was over a decade ago.  Since then Jim has been an active member of the group playing the tuba, sousaphone and helping out with some of the band's vocal selections. 

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David Alexander

David Alexander saw the JazzHappensBand perform on Fat Tuesday and immediately auditioned to be our drummer.  David studied snare drum in high school with Gene Attleson, and more recently has studied drum set at Tom Kline’s School for Modern Drumming.  He is a McGraw Central School Alum and has played drums for McGraw as well as the Cincinnatus Civic Band, All-County Select, Area All-State, New York State Honor Band, and the SUNY College at Morrisville Jazz Ensemble.  David, (who is also a graduate of Cornell and Syracuse Universities and otherwise occupied as a lawyer) and his wife, Carol, a school teacher, have four children.  Their youngest son, Evan, also studies drum set with Tom Kline and plays drums for Homer Central School concert and jazz bands.
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Robbert van Renesse


Robbert van Renesse has been playing rhythm guitar for the Ageless Jazz Band since December 1997, with whom he recorded two CDs.  He has performed in many high school musical productions and in a SUNY Cortland production of "Little Shop of Horrors."  He wrote a Mel Bay book on what is essentially music theory for the ukulele called "Understanding Ukulele Chords."  Van Renesse also enjoys playing swing music on banjo and tenor guitar.
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Stephen Wilson

Stephen Wilson received his Bachelor of Arts in vocal performance and his Master of Arts in conducting from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He earned his Doctor of Arts in conducting from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

He has been professor of music at SUNY Cortland since 1985, teaching choral music, music theory, conducting, and accompanying many students and faculty colleagues. He conducts the College Singers and the Choral Union. His choral arrangements have been performed in various locations on the eastern seaboard and in the Midwest. Dr. Wilson has served as pianist/music director for many musical theater productions. He has only recently become addicted to Dixieland music.
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This site was last updated 05/12/24