The Chisman Creek Story
Sometimes music lovers follow their hearts and become full-time musicians. Sometimes, though, they follow a different current and wait for the day when music can take its rightful place in their lives. This is the story of Chisman Creek Band. Six music lovers became military members, medical professionals, teachers, shipbuilders, and contractors until, one day, their dream of performing music became a reality, and Chisman Creek Band was born.
From the beginning, we knew we wanted to combine our musical talents and imaginations to create a group that would cross musical genres and tastes and expectations. We would offer our listeners traditional and modern bluegrass, but also meld the sound of banjo, acoustic guitar, and stand-up bass into classic rock and contemporary favorites, and original creations. We would do our best to leave our audiences with memories of amazing three-part harmonies and instrumentals.
Chisman Creek Band has entertained at local area eateries, clubs, and special events, in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia and beyond, and excitement is rising as more venues and listeners get to know us. We offer this promise: Chisman Creek Band will do our utmost to offer a steady stream of good music, and overflowing enjoyment for our audiences.
I was ten years old when I started playing guitar. One of my early music teachers played in a Bluegrass band so I got to learn a lot of bluegrass and fiddle tunes. Growing up I listened to the Kingston Trio and loved playing along to their records. You could say they were my inspiration. The Trio and my uncle, who was also a very talented guitar player. I have played guitar as a teen in Youth for Christ Campus Life during youth club meetings in high school. I also played guitar for ladies events in church. I am one of the original Chisman Creek Band members and actually started with the group when it was called Three River Mountain 2012...we have come a long way.
Dr. John Leist sings and plays lead guitar for Chisman Creek Band. He hails from York County Virginia where he arrived in 2003 compliments of the United States Air Force. An Expeditionary Medical Group commander, he retired from military service as a Colonel and Oral/Maxillofacial Surgeon. John currently practices surgery near his home.
John was born in Louisville Kentucky. As an Air force BRAT he played music in bands throughout life beginning in high school at Bitburg Germany. He continued to enjoy time playing many varieties of music in bands spanning nine military assignments taking him to Asia twice, Europe, Africa, Central America, the Middle East, and both coasts. His passions include church, travel, hunting, scuba diving with his brothers, motorcycles, playing guitar, singing, snow/water skiing, and competitive racing/sailing.
Born and raised in the South, I grew up in a military family listening to “Southern” music. My parents hail from Louisiana and that gave me a love for Cajun music. In Texas it was Country, and I fell in love with Bluegrass while living in Virginia.
While travelling around the world in the Army, I took this music with me wherever my family and I were stationed as a reminder of home. Even though I like many styles of music, Bluegrass eventually became my favorite. I developed an appreciation for the banjo and desired to learn to play it...one day.
To my kids dismay, that day came when they were in high school. I convinced myself that I finally had enough free time to try something new and bought a cheap banjo online. I immediately fell in love with it and soon upgraded to the banjo I play today (a Stelling, hand made in beautiful Afton, Va).
One Fall I came across a fledgling group of musicians called Three River Mountain looking for a banjo player. Neither they nor I knew what we were getting into, but it’s been a real blast! Now known as CCB we’re more of a family than a band. About the only thing I’m willing to sacrifice a weekend hunting in the mountains for is playing a gig with CCB.
I originally hail from Los Angles, California where I grew up. I have been interested in music ever since my parents sent me to accordion lessons when I was in 3rd grade. I soon took up the guitar, another gift from my parents, and enjoyed playing for friends and family. I was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force in 1990, visited many interesting places and met many interesting people. I eventually ended up in Virginia where I retired. Along the way I played in a classic rock band, Wire-to-Wire, while stationed in Germany and served in several church worship bands. When I arrived in Virginia, the church already had several guitar players, but no bassist. The rest, as they say, is history. I started playing electric bass and fell in love with the low end. After saving my pennies for a long time and a helpful funding boost from my biggest fan, my wife, I bought the upright bass I play today. I have been quite blessed to have teamed up with the musicians in Chisman Creek and to be able to share my passion for music with others.
Makes Chisman Creek sound great!
I have loved music and performing since my first solo in the 6th grade at Rural Point Elementary. I looked for any opportunity to sing- Choral groups, ensembles, musicals, church choirs, etc. In college, I performed with a travelling music evangelism team in NC called Witness. I learned so much from the talented musicians I was privileged to know through that ministry! My musical influences vary greatly from growing up enjoying pop, rock, and country, to gospel, contemporary Christian in church, and bluegrass from my years at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. As an adult, I love raising my three amazing children. Now that they are getting older, I can take more time to enjoy music with talented friends. I love performing with Chisman Creek Band and have even been inspired to take up playing the mandolin. I currently am a full time Realtor in Hampton roads, VA. My interests are music, spending time with my family and friends, and anything related to salt water.
I started singing somewhere around the time I started talking – maybe even before, because in my family, just about everyone sang or played. Some of my best memories are of family reunions in Kentucky where my mother, aunts, uncles, and cousins passed around harmonies and musical instruments like most people pass plates around the dinner table. Hardly anyone could read music, but they didn’t have to because the music was in them. As children, and accompanied by my mom on guitar, my two sisters and I sang pretty much anywhere someone was willing to listen. During college and prior to marrying my career-Army husband, John, I was part of two musical groups, and as we traveled around with the military and raised our son, music remained a part of my life through church choirs and special events. Now, I love making music with Chisman Creek Band.