Growin up in his father's record store, Ian had a very open music experience. Picking up the electric and upright bass at age of 10, Ian knew very early on that music would forever be a part of his life. In high school Ian had the opportunity to perform for national conventions including Carnegie Hall and Iowa Bandmasters Association. In college Ian was selected to perform, organize, and direct the instrumental Jazz combo groups and the Vocal Jazz group. These opportunities led Ian to receive multiple soloist awards. Wanting to continue playing outside of college Ian created the legendary group known as "Soul Sherpa".
Ben Drury - Trumpet
Benjamin Drury is a respected performer, clinician, educator, and salesman in the Eastern-Iowa area. He has been playing with Soul Sherpa for two years and is a soloist in their debut EP "Invest In This" and their LP "Same Wave Train". His musical path included earning a masters in trumpet performance from the University of Iowa. He is also a U.S. military combat veteran. While deployed to Afghanistan was allowed to select his own callsign. He insisted on "Five Pounds of Gummy Bears". This caused the forward operating base to ban personalized callsigns.
Nico Luerkens - Guitar
Nico's musical journey began at the ripe age of 16. His blues playing uncle inspired and nurtured his guitar playing. Since then, he has expanded his repertoire to different genres and instruments including guitar, drums, harmonica, and occasionally singing. Nico has played guitar and drums in several local bands before joining Soul Sherpa. Nico is always up for some bowling with his cousin.
Casey Schultz - Keyboard, Synthesizer, Saxophone
Casey started classical piano lessons at age 7. He then started saxophone and cello at the age of 9. He took lessons under the direction of Marty Crandall, a popular player in his early years in Kansas City during the big-band era. When Marty suddenly passed away, Casey devoted himself to Jazz, and began teaching himself the art. He still plays Marty's saxophone. Casey completed his bachelors in saxophone performance with an emphasis in Jazz at Luther College. He played in and toured with the Luther College Jazz Orchestra and multiple small combo groups. After college he continued playing professionally in the Eastern Iowa area. Demanding an audition 3 years ago with Soul Sherpa, Casey (The mad scientist) brings energy and a flair of weird to the group.
Duroje Gwamna - Trombone
Representing Coe College is Duroje Gwamna otherwise known as "Dr. D". He has a music composition background and continues to use that in Soul Sherpa. He played in the Coe College Jazz and Marching bands. This is the first small local band he's played in and is excited by this venutre. Duroje digs the pioneers of jazz fusion and likes everything from Miles Davis to TV On The Radio. Dr. D loves working on arrangements both professionally and as a hobby. He also loves cooking up some Soul Food for the masses.
Shawn Fliger - Keyboard and Vocals
Shawn is the youngest musician in Soul Sherpa. Born and raised in Cedar Rapids, IA he was originally introduced to music through his father's record collection. Subsequently Shawn developed a depp spiritual connection to music. He is influenced by Donny Hathaway, Ray Charles, and Stevie Wonder. As the main lyricists to the band, Shawn draws from various poets, preachers, and rappers. Shawn loves all music and holds playing with Soul Sherpa as one of the most important parts of his life.
Lukas Jack - Drums
Lukas Jack is the son of Tim Jack, a local drummer in the Cedar Rapids area. Lukas began playing drums by banging pots and pans together and eventually took his skill to the next level. Since then he has been involved in many local ensembles, most notably Kirkwood Jazz Band. Besides drumming, Lukas has an intense passion for driving and being punctual. Taking inspiration from bands like Vulfpeck and Tiny Tim, Lukas has an impressive bredth of genre.
Nikkie Lynn Hernandez - Singer
Nikkie Lynn's formal introduction to music was piano lessons at age five, however, she had always possessed a natural gift for it. With the guidance of her parents, especially her father's musical encouragement, she quickly learned what she was meant to do. During her schooling, she participated in all top choral ensembles while also professionally singing in multiple local bands. During her time at Kirkwood Community College, she gained new insight into Jazz, Fusion, and musical improvisation. Her new passion in music led her to Soul Sherpa, who she now happily calls family.
Hank Welter - Tenor Saxophone
Hank Welter is a real good saxophone player in Soul Sherpa. His glasses allow him to see into the future which is why he owns so many "soon to be cool" hats. Hank is also a gifted children's author. He has published "Why Does My Life Matter?", "Jesus Was A Jew (and you can too)", and "Barnie is Illuminati" among many others.
ShadowWolf Evans - Aux. Percussion
ShadowWolf Evans is a Cedar Rapids Native and auxiliary percussionist for Soul Sherpa. He's been bonging bangos and belling cows since he came out of his mother's womb. Shadow has a great beard as well.