Jas Linford was born in Huntington, New York on August 9, 1948, and took to music right away. His father caught him on film conducting in the bathtub at a very early age. He took music lessons as a very young boy, learning to play the baritone ukulele and then graduating to the accordion within a year. His first opportunity to play in the band came in fifth grade, and Jas wanted to play the saxophone. But Mr. Petersen, his music teacher, put him on an Eb sousaphone and the die was cast; tuba has been his main instrument (and love) ever since.
Jas’s family moved across country during High School, and he marched with three different High School bands (Northport, NY, Westwood, (Mesa) AZ, and Kent-Meridian, WA). After high school he continued his music education at Green River Community College, playing classical music. While at Green River, he met his future wife, MJ Linford, who “fell in love with a music man”, and joined the USAF to avoid going to Viet Nam. He got married and bought his first tuba while stationed in New Jersey (actually his wife bought it, since an Airman First Class doesn’t make a lot of money). Jas’s next assignment took him to Lowry AFB near Denver, where he joined the Denver Concert Band. He was an avid member of the band, and his daughter, Mary, was born the day after a rehearsal (1971).
After Jas’s military obligation was over he resumed his college education at the University of Washington. Music was definitely a major part of his life; he sometimes played over eight hours a day in University groups (the University Concert Band, Wind Symphonietta, Tuba Ensemble and others) as well as community groups such as Thalia Symphony, Highline Symphony, North Seattle Symphony, and the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra.
After he received his BA in Music he moved to Berkeley, CA where MJ had been accepted into graduate school. While in the East Bay area he played in the Albany Symphony and an Oakland orchestra, and made video games at a company called Fun Games. After returning to Seattle he worked for an aviation electronics manufacturer
in customer service off and on until the late 90’s, while also playing tuba in many area orchestra. He played professionally with the Seattle Brass ensemble and started his own group, the Varsity Drag Jazz Band, playing Twenties hot jazz.
Not content to work in electronics by day and do music in the evenings, Jas went back to the UW in 1979 and received a Music Education Certificate. While there he learned how to play almost all instruments–most pretty well, some badly (violin). At about that time MJ and Jas fell in love with Bainbridge Island, so they rented a place on the island near Frog Rock. Jas worked in Lyle, WA., teaching H.S. band, J.H. band, beginning band, 7th and 8th grade math, and drama for a year, while MJ was getting her teaching certificate at the UW in Art. After his return from Lyle, Jas went back to work in aviation electronics to support his family, since music jobs were hard to find.
After returning from Lyle, Jas saw the Hometown Band perform in Winslow before the Fourth of July Parade. They had an extra tuba, and Jas sat in. He has been with the band ever since, attending rehearsals in an automotive garage and then the Junior High School in Poulsbo. In 1986 he took over the reins as conductor and has been conducting the band ever since. Jas currently plays tuba with Bethany Brass, Farragut Brass Band, and the Bainbridge Orchestra. Occasionally he is called to play for Kitsap Banjo Club (on tuba), Bainbridge Performing Arts, musicals (on multiple brass instruments) and the Peninsula Ballet Orchestra. In 2000, with the family secure, he went back to school again to Renton Technical College to refine his skills in band instrument repair and now has his own repair shop, Jas Linford’s Brassworks. Jas also teaches private lessons. As his wife MJ reports, “Jas is now a ‘music man’ 24-7.”