Richard Morgan: Tuba player in the Centennial Band

Richard Morgan has lived in Grand Junction only since June, but it didn’t take long for the tuba player to find the Centennial Band, an all-volunteer band of local musicians.

It was just the outlet to play music that Morgan was looking for.

The Centennial Band’s annual Spring Concert will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 31, at Palisade High School. Tickets cost $5 for adults. Children age 12 and younger are free.

The concert will feature special guests the Journeymen All-Star Band, a select middle school band, plus Morgan on the tuba.

Morgan is a former college professor and was the principal tuba player for the Dallas Wind Symphony for 15 years. In a recent interview at Java Junction, Morgan spoke about sweet tea, why he plays the tuba and what brought him to Grand Junction.

Mawdsley: What are you drinking?

Morgan: Sweet tea.

Mawdsley: Ah, are you from the South?

Morgan: Well, I moved here from Texas but grew up in Tennessee. I’m a little bit Southern (laughs).

Mawdsley: What brought you to Grand Junction from Texas?

Morgan: My daughter moved here about six years ago. We had two grandchildren graduate from Central High School and still have a grandson at Central.

Mawdsley: I hear you play the tuba. Why?

Morgan: (Smiling) Let’s see. I started in the seventh grade. My parents said they couldn’t afford an instrument, so I went to the band director and asked what instrument he had. His eyes lit up. He handed me the tuba. I was the only tuba player in my junior high band.

Mawdsley: Well, you must have loved it. How will you be featured in the upcoming Centennial Band concert?

Morgan: They occasionally feature a solo, so I’ll be playing a solo. I’m playing a concerto.

Mawdsley: A concerto for tuba? Really?

Morgan: A concerto for tuba. Yes. There are very few of them.

Mawdsley: What is it called?

Morgan: “Tuba Concerto” by Edward Gregson.

Mawdsley: Makes sense. I guess I’ve just never heard of a tuba concerto. Maybe I’ve just really never heard the true potential of the tuba to lead a whole band.

Morgan: The tuba is like the motor of the band.

Mawdsley: How much does your tuba weigh?

Morgan: Probably between 30–35 pounds.

Mawdsley: In addition to playing in the Centennial Band, where else do you play?

Morgan: I’m still interested in teaching. I’d love to teach at the college, but they don’t have any openings. I teach private lessons for tuba, euphonium, baritone and trombone. Low brass. Teaching is my second love behind playing.


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