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Meet Gregory...

1. What is your name? My name is Gregory Gibbs. In the band I am known as “Gregory the elder” as there are two Gregorys in the band, and both play horn.

2. Where were you born? I was born in a little village in South Wales called Llwynypia, but I call “HOME” a small village called Penrhiwfer.

3.Why do you live in Leeds? I first came to Leeds while working for The Salvation Army. I was training to become a Salvation Army officer, and part of the training I came to Leeds to work in the hostel for homeless men that The Salvation Army ran. While working in the hostel I met the young lady who was to become my wife. So I live in Leeds because of work and marriage. The Salvation Army did not work out, but the marriage did.

4. Occupation. I am an electrician by trade, but I am employed as a warranty/quality engineer for a large air conditioning company in Leeds.

5. What is your instrument? How long have you been playing and why did you start?

My instrument is a tenor horn. Over the years, through playing with various brass bands I have played most of the brass instruments. I have also bought myself a clarinet to play and a saxophone. I wanted to learn to play the clarinet after hearing Aker Bilk playing “Stranger on the shore” in the 1960’s, but it was not until the 1970’s, when I started work, that I could afford to by myself one. I started to play the saxophone because I just love the sound.

I first started learning to play a brass instrument (a cornet) when I was 9 years old. I have now been playing, on and off, mostly on, for 57 years. I took some time away from playing when things did not work out with attending Salvation Army services, but I realised that I missed playing so much I needed to find a brass band near home to take up my playing again.

There had always been music in my life. Both my parents belonged to The Salvation Army, so from birth, I was taken to the services where there was singing and music. Both parents were in the choir. My father, at one point, was the choir leader and he was also in the brass band. Despite all this, music was never forced on me, it was never expected of me to take up music. It was not until my best friend in school had joined the local town band that I became interested in taking up music. His elder brother was already a member and they invited me along. Unfortunately our time there was short lived as the band folded very shortly after. There was another brass band meeting some 3 or 4 miles away. So we moved our membership there to carry on our banding. This band is still in existence today. We did not know it then how good this band was to become. Rather than fold as my previous band did, this band has gone from strength to strength. This band is The Cory Band.

6. What made you join a concert band and why Tutti? All my musical life I have played in brass bands and I thought that I would like to try my hand at playing in a jazz/concert band to do something different, playing a different style of playing. I came across Tutti while at a local (Bramley community centre) Christmas fair, and introduced myself to Joelle. She invited me along to the band rehearsals.

7. What do you enjoy about playing with Tutti? I enjoy playing in a group situation. I enjoy playing different styles of music to that which I am used to, and it pushes me to try to improve my level of skill.

8. What is one of your favourite pieces in the repertoire and why? One of my favourite pieces in the repertoire is Glenn Miller Melody, simply because I love Glenn Miller, and the true dance band style of music.

9. What’s been an unexpected benefit/bonus of being in the band? I have started helping out/playing with the Avanti (training) band. When playing with them I am able to play my saxophone, which has helped me improve my playing. It has also spurred me on to study more music theory, and to start taking my ABRSM music theory exams.

Generally, because we play a different style of music to that which I am used to, it has helped me improve my playing overall, with making new friends, the social interaction with fellow musicians, and the social rehearsals (tea/coffee and cake) to have a chat Saturday mornings.

10. What do you look forward to most when the band can meet together again? Just the fact that we can actually get together again to make some music. And to get some social interaction, and to have some coffee and cake.

Is the Tenor Horn a typical concert band instrument?

If you were to look at most music for concert bands (especially coming out of the US), you wouldn't find parts written for the Tenor Horn. This instrument is usually found lurking in "British-style" brass bands, filling out the middle of the rich brass band tone. It was developed by Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax (most known for his saxophones) in the 1840s, where it found its way into European military and brass bands.

Concert band scores, distributed by main publishers like Hal Leonard and Alfreds, for the European market, will include parts for tenor horn (usually based on the alto saxophone or french horn parts) in their extra "world parts"(these are extra parts written for instruments not usually found in American concert bands).

As a concert band based in the heart of brass bands country, Yorkshire, Tutti! is happy to welcome players of these bite-sized tubas into our ensemble.

Even better if your name is Gregory.

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