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Jimmy Leach trumpet, classical and jazz music


Dr. Jimmy Leach has been performing and teaching music most of his life. Jimmy was born in Chickasha, Oklahoma and grew up in a musical family. His father was a singer and guitarist, and his mother was a pianist, organist, and singer along with two brothers and a sister who played instruments. Jimmy's first music was singing at school and church, where his father was the choir director and soloist while Jimmy's mother was either playing piano or singing in the choir.. Jimmy's first instrument was piano in elementary school, then he chose the cornet (trumpet) for the sixth grade band..


At Skelly Junior High in Tulsa, OK,, Jimmy joined his first jazz band.. In 10th grade, Jimmy was the only singer from East Central High School to win a spot in the Oklahoma All-State Choir, which gave him his first indication that he might have above average talent in music. The following two years of high school found him playing in the All-State Band under Fred Fennel and Arnold Gabriel as well as the Tulsa Youth Symphony.

Jimmy's college years were primarily at the University of Arkansas, where he played three solo recitals, won the Arkansas MTNA Solo Competition on trumpet, played in Walt Disney World All-American College Marching Band, winner of the North Arkansas Symphony Concerto Competition, director of the Emmanuel Baptist Choir, and the winner of the Theodore Presser Scholar Award as the top music graduate in 1983.

Jimmy earned his M.M. in trumpet performance at the University of Central Arkansas, where he was a graduate assistant for the band department, first trumpet in the faculty brass quintet, director of the jazz combo, and performed Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #2.

Jimmy's first job was teaching music in grades 1-12 in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. He also played organ at both the Methodist and Presbyterian churches, and served as president of the Rotary Club.

During a year working on a DMA in trumpet at the University of Memphis, Jimmy played in the faculty brass quintet, played lead trumpet for Johnny Mathis at the Orpheum Theater, and was a tenor soloist at Calvary Episcopal Church.

Jimmy's spent the next four years as the trumpet teacher and assistant band director at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford. His summer activities included performing at Opryland in Nashville for two summers following by a summer at the Aspen Music Festival, where he played in both jazz and classical ensembles and studied with Ray Mase of Juilliard. Jimmy met his wife, Julia, at the festival, where she played tuba.

The next year Jimmy traveled the world as a musician for Holland American Line ships in Alaska, South Pacific, and Western Caribbean, where he played trumpet in the show band and piano and voice for the lounge quartet. One highlight was performing for Shirley Jones.

After a few months playing in brass quintet touring the schools of Kentucky, Jimmy moved to Boston and completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in trumpet, studying with Tom Rolfs, principal trumpet of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Jimmy played trumpet with the Boston Lyric Opera, Granite State Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Boston Classical Orchestra, Boston Landmark's Orchestra, and sang at Trinity Church and St. Peter's in Weston.

Jimmy and Julia moved to Holland, MI where he taught at Hope College, Grand Valley State, as well as visiting professor positions at Southwester College in Winfield, KS and Dickinson State in Dickinson, ND.

Since 2017, Jimmy has lived and worked in Dayton, OH.. He served as a lecture for six years, teaching aural skills, jazz improvisation, brass methods, jazz methods, conducting, and playing in the faculty brass quintet and faculty jazztet. 

Around Dayton and Cincinnati, Jimmy has performed at the Levitt Pavilion, Dayton Art Institute, Wright Memorial Library, Christ Church Cathedral, Ghost Baby, retirement homes in Troy, Springboro, and Springfield. Jimmy has served as organist and music director at St. Paul's in Oakwood and is currently the organist and music director at The Church of the Ascension in Middletown.

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