‘In Cuba, all that will matter is the music’
A promising young saxophonist will be performing at a benefit concert this month to raise money to study Latin-Jazz in Cuba.
Gianluca Gibbons is currently on a quest to raise $5,000 for the upcoming trip and will be playing at The Nellie Musson Music Festival on May 26 to help him reach his goal.
He will be joining a host of local artists: The Brothers, Toni Robinson, Lily Nzabalinda, The Trio, Kathleen Ford and Morton Williams, Sammy Degraffe, The Bermuda Institute Steel Band and The Giants Step Band.
Part proceeds will go towards his trip, while other funds raised through the concert will be donated to the aid of the Nellie Musson Bermuda Institute Arts Scholarship Fund and The Giant Steps Band Tour to Cuba.
Mr Gibbons said he is hoping the trip to Havana this summer will help him take his playing to the next level.
He first visited the region while playing with the Bermuda National Youth Jazz Ensemble in 2005; and has been looking forward to journeying back there for the past year.
His parents reached out to music organiser Dale Butler, who agreed to plan the trip for him.
The 21-year-old said he has always loved the energy, rhythm, and dynamics of Latin-jazz music, and believes this trip will help him accelerate his playing at a much faster rate.
“In Cuba I will be totally separated from all the distractions of life. All that will matter is music,” he said.
“I will be able to practice for hours with no disturbance, play regularly with world class musicians [and] receive daily one on one coaching. I will be able to perform multiple times a week and be exposed to new styles of music that will boost my level of musical creativity.
“This intense music environment will force me to improve at a fast rate and to adopt new disciplines in my approach to music.”
Mr Gibbons was aspiring to be like his father when he picked up the saxophone at eight-years-old. He went on hone his skills in numerous bands, including the Hamilton Church Youth Choir, a saxophone gospel quartet called ‘Footprints’ and the Saltus School Band.
In his teenage years he attended a boarding school in Valencia, Spain and had the opportunity to work with a rock band called ‘Thinking Things’. He also performed with a contemporary Christian band ‘En Tus Manos’ during that time.
He is currently studying music technology and marketing at La Sierra University in California, where he is a member of the school’s jazz combo band, and involved with the gospel/pop fusion band ‘Heritage’.
His ultimate goal is to reach the status of professional gospel-jazz artist, and wants to one day own his own production label to produce music with a positive message.
Mr Gibbons has already made headway in his career — he is currently in the process of recording a small album with his band Heritage. He is also in the planning stages of a solo gospel saxophone album.
Though he has been exposed to other areas like art, sport and retail — he said his heart has always been devoted to music.
“Nothing seems to move me as music does,” he explained. “I find that I can fully express myself through music whether it is through song writing or just improvising.
“Having a professional career in music would be a dream come true for me. I have always taken music seriously, but it was not until my first year of college that I realised that I wanted to make music my main focus.”
In addition to the benefit concert, Mr Gibbons has also reached out to people who have shown interest in his music to get sponsorships.
In addition he is planning to save up cash earned from small gigs played in California; he admitted he has faith he will get the funds needed to take part in this new venture.
He said: “I know and believe that God has plan for my life directly related to music. I know that I can, and will, make a difference in the lives of musicians, specifically Bermudian musicians.
“But in order for me to be as impactful as I know I can be, I need to be prepared [and] have the skill set that will put me in a position to make a difference.”
He encouraged people to show their support by buying tickets to The Nellie Musson Music Festival.
“What you give will be returned ten fold to the community, and to the young musicians of Bermuda,” he added.
Tickets to the benefit concert — $10 for children, $25 for adults and $50 for patrons — are available at People’s Pharmacy and Atlantic Vision Care in Hamilton and Caesar’s Pharmacy in Sandys.