Meet Hendersonville’s swingin’-est bandleader

Jerry Zink is a real swinger.

As the director of the Hendersonville Swing Band, Zink and his 17-piece band regularly jam to the music of Glenn Miller, Louie Armstrong and Artie Shaw — and often for the benefit of worthwhile organizations. Many of those in the band are retirees, Zink included. “I’m 76. I’m one of the young guys,” Zink says.

Zink’s path to swing bandleader came about after he retired to Henderson County and tore up his knee playing tennis. Looking for something else to do, Zink turned to the trombone he hadn’t touched since high school. A few lessons later, Zink found himself in the Hendersonville Community Band, the UNCA Jazz Band, the Buddy K Band and the Stardusters, the forerunner of the Hendersonville Swing Band.

“That band takes up a lot of my time,” Zink says of the swing band. “We do mainly benefits for various service clubs. In April, we did a benefit for Kiwanis, the Morris Kaplan Scholarship Fund, and over the years, we’ve raised about $25,000 for that fund. Our concert on November 7 at Hendersonville High School is for the Civitan Club. It’s a good swinging band.”

When he’s not entertaining with his trombone, Zink can be found every year at the Friends of the Henderson County Library Book Sale. Zink and his wife, Gail, are in charge of the sale’s audio/visual section. Every week, he helps sort and price donated materials for the annual sale. He is also active in the Civitan Club, a club geared toward helping people with disabilities and serving the community.

Zink says he volunteers because the needs in the community are so great. “It really gives you a nice warm feeling inside. Every day, you can see need in every area, and if you can do anything to fill that need, I think it’s worth doing,” Zink says.

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