By Angela Higginbotham
Passionate musician Scott Gregg grew up in the Northeast, around Boston, Mass. He majored in music, minored in astrophysics at Harvard University and then went on to earn his doctorate at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Md. After gaining more experience through a variety of positions, Gregg was introduced to the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra in 1995. Gregg worked with the symphony for 22 years. He also spent countless hours devoted to the growth of the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Currently, after weeks of planning, Gregg is looking forward to the development of the First Coast Youth Orchestra. The new orchestra will give many kids the opportunity to further develop their love and passion for music. He and his wife, Camille Gregg , have been married for 14 years and they enjoy calling the Southside home.
- What do you enjoy most about the Southside?
You are close enough to everything and far enough away that you don’t have to be there if you don’t need to.
- How did you become interested in playing music and leading an orchestra?
No one in my family was a musician. I got involved through the school system. So many cuts have been made to school music programs along the way, but Fairfax County stood against the wind and had a great music education system in place. I wanted to play trumpet, but I rode my bike a lot and couldn’t carry it with me. There were a lot of violins left to try, and it quickly became my instrument. I was preparing to audition for colleges and received a devastating diagnosis of tendonitis. I had to lay off violin for a while and to keep busy, I picked up a baton, arranged music and started conducting. I still play violin, but I’ve been conducting since then.
- What are the immediate plans for the new First Coast Youth Orchestra?
I and two other conductors plan to launch this program in the fall. Together we have 60 years of experience working with kids. We are working with others on the initiative to bring music back into the schools and the district is making great strides. We plan to have tryouts soon and the orchestra will perform all over the First Coast. Our first concert will be Nov. 18, 2017 at the University of North Florida and a Christmas concert is planned for later. Currently, we plan to hold our practices at a middle school on the Southside. We are working hard to spread the news about this opportunity and get these talented kids involved.
- What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I think a prerequisite to living in Florida is that you must play golf. I enjoy golf. My wife and I travel a lot. We are blessed to travel to many different places.
- What would you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Up until April, I think I would have had a hard time answering that question. When I was no longer a part of the Jacksonville Symphony, the outpouring of support of the alumni of my program really meant a lot to me. It was an eye-opening experience. They expressed what music means to them and their future after learning from me. My role — big or small — in encouraging others is my greatest accomplishment. Everyone should be able to hear the impact that they have made. I am humbled and it’s a reminder of how powerful music can be in a person’s life.
Photo courtesy Scott Gregg