By the time he reached the age of 50, John Zimny had been involved in drum and bugle corps activity for more than 40 years. He began playing a soprano horn with the Viscounts of McHenry, Illinois in 1956 at age eight. In 1961 the corps won the national Sons of the American Legion Championship. By the late 1960s, he was soprano soloist with Chicago Royal Airs. Following his involvement at the junior corps level, he marched as a soprano horn player with the Air Force Academy drum and bugle corps from 1968 to 1971. He later served as chief arranger for the Academy. He is best known for his work as music arranger, teacher and program co-ordinator with Sacramento Freelancers beginning in 1976 and extending through the 1990s. In the early 1970s, he was brass instructor with Des Plaines Vanguard and Ottawa Crusaders in Illinois. He taught the brass section of the Knights in 1986. In addition to his work with various drum and bugle corps, he has been a music teacher in the Folsom, California school system. Downbeat magazine named his group the best middle school jazz band in America.