Griff Kimball to be soloist with local youth symphony

Griff Kimball has only been playing percussion for three years, but he will be a featured soloist with the Lubbock Youth Symphony Orchestra next year.

Griff, 14, will be learning the hallways of Frenship High School and marching fundamentals as a snare drummer in the FHS band next fall.

But he will also be performing the third movement of Paul Creston’s Concertino for Marimba and Orchestra, a piece that challenges many college-level musicians, with the LYSO.

Griff competed in the LYSO Concerto Competition with the encouragement of one of his band directors and private instructor, Chris Dye.

“Mr. Dye handed me the music and said, ‘Learn this. You’re going to enter the concerto competition, and you’re going to win it,’” said Griff. “And I did it.”

Three years ago, when Griff started band, it was quickly apparent that he was a very gifted percussionist, his mother, Melissa, said. She said Griff was very lucky to have Dye as a teacher because he was originally a percussionist.

That year, Griff’s only request for Christmas was a marimba, Melissa Kimball said.

“His dad and I talked about it, and we decided we wanted to support it,” she said. Griff’s gift was a marimba.

Most of the music Griff has seen in the past three years did not present a real challenge, he said.

“On most pieces, I can seriously just look at it and play it,” said Griff.

Melissa Kimball said things are so easy for him, he needed a real challenge. Learning the Creston piece presented just the challenge he needed, she said.
For three months, Griff struggled to learn the music. By the time of the competition in May, he almost had it memorized.

“I had to work for it,” he said. “It made me a harder worker and a better player, too.”

Griff said the difficulty of the piece is one reason he felt confident about competing in the concerto competition.

Besides playing percussion at school, Griff also plays drumset. He said he hopes to get into a band in the future. His favorite music is rock, and a few of his favorite musicians are Daughtry, Nickleback, All That Remains and Red.

Griff is also interested in playing basketball at FHS — he’s already spent time in the FHS basketball camp this summer.

Longterm, Griff hopes to play basketball at Rice University, but is not sure what he might study.

“It’s close, and I really like Texas,” he said.

You must be logged in to post a comment.