The Republic of Texas Big Band is a collection of professional people, several of whom actually earn a living as musicians of one kind of another. It is a community band, meaning it started as a group of people who loved big band music and needed to play somewhere. This band has gone through several leadership changes in the past few years, and is currently led by Kent Dugan, who has taken ownership and brought his own book of around 200 tunes. Kent played his first job as a big band musician in 1960 while in high school, and has played in big bands ever since. After 4 years in the Strategic Air Command bands in the US Air Force, he returned to the San Diego area.
He was a regular in Marty Conley's Big Band express for 17 of those years, playing in the dance band and also playing Marty's jazz book with the Jazz Project Band. He also played with Gary Adcock's Community Jazz Band, and spent years with Dick Braun as well, playing alto, tenor and baritone sax in those groups. After the opportunity arose to move to Texas, Kent volunteered to take over one of the bands he played in. He also plays with Dave Lee and NAJO (Nacho Average Jazz Orchestra), an 18-piece jazz orchestra, and also with the Ken Ragsdale Orchestra, a 7-piece society band with a long history in the Austin area. Occasional calls come in from other bands as well.