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Assistant Fine Arts Professor retires after 27 years

Courtesy of tarleton.edu

Briana Busby, Contributor

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Gregory Ball, Assistant Fine Arts Professor, who began working at Tarleton State University 27 years ago, is retiring.

“In 1990-91, I taught private woodwinds; in 1991-92, I took over the jazz band and in 1992 I started full time,” Ball said. “I started as a Woodwind Instructor, teaching all five woodwind instruments, directing the Jazz Ensemble, assisting with the Marching Band and Wind Ensemble and teaching Woodwind Methods
on a two-year rotation. I also taught Popular Music in America the first several years.”

Ball also taught for two years at Howard Payne University and was a graduate assistant at the University of North Texas.

“I had been teaching at Howard Payne and left to start my doctorate degree. One of my professors recommended me for the adjunct position here. I had met Jonathan Hooper, former band director here, the year before. When I interviewed here, it just felt right. He and I became very close and had a great working relationship for nearly
20 years. He is still one of my best friends. He was here 25 years and did remarkable things for the music program,” Ball said.

Ball said he loves coming to work because he loves what he does. The one thing he says he’ll miss the most is making music with his students on a daily basis.

“Mr. Ball has greatly impacted my life through music,” Cesar Martinez, senior music performance major, said. “I’ve been playing bass trombone as a secondary instrument for one of his jazz bands since I first got to Tarleton fall of 2014. He’s shown me how to grow better as a manly musician through his musical capabilities. I’m very thankful that he gave me the opportunity to be a part of his jazz ensemble even though bass trombone isn’t my primary instrument.

“Mr. Ball always has a positive attitude even when things don’t go well, and that is something that I greatly admire about him. Not only is he an amazing musician, but he’s also one of the best teachers I’ve ever had.”

“GBall is someone who will teach you something new every single day,” Eric Lawson, sophomore music education major, said. He takes the time to ensure his passion for the arts is shared among anyone who hears him play or speak, yet he’s so much more than a teacher. He has been such a strong foundation in the most delicate times in our lives. I admire him for his humility, diligence and his unwavering purpose of creating a home for musicians. GBall has shown us how to be good musicians and turned us into even better people. He truly is an icon of hard work and humanity.

“I’m saddened by the fact that whenever next semester comes around and the new musical students walk through the gates of Tarleton for the first time, they won’t have Greg Ball there to welcome them, make a dumb joke and provide them with a mentor of a lifetime. There aren’t enough words to really depict just how much he will be missed. Tarleton is losing its finest.”

Ball says him and his wife are going to start a travel business in Euro Travel Coach. They want to spend time in Europe, but mainly Italy.

“We hope to help bring in a grape harvest and make wine. We are certified to teach English as a Foreign Language. We are open to anything. We will be vagabonds for the next several years,” Ball said.

“This is where I have spent nearly my entire career. I have loved my time here. I love students and the faculty,” Ball said. “I’ve seen the music program at least triple in size. It has been a fun atmosphere to be in of almost continual growth both in quantity and quality.

“I feel like the students here are closer to the faculty here than almost anywhere I’ve been. I will miss that. I will miss the people at Tarleton.”

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Assistant Fine Arts Professor retires after 27 years”

  1. Cal Lewiston on May 3rd, 2017 7:19 pm

    Greg Ball is and always has been one of the most gracious, kind and generous of men, and a fine musician to boot. So, when it comes to talent, ability and musicianship, where Greg’s concerned it may be said, “That goes without playing!”

    [Reply]

  2. Michael Copeland on May 3rd, 2017 11:44 pm

    Mr. Ball was my third saxophone instructor at Tarleton and thankfully the last. He was patient and showed me how to get better at playing my performance medium. It is an honor to be able to call him teacher, colleague, and friend. I was in his first jazz band at Tarleton and saw the last concert Monday night. Time keeps on ticking by way too fast. I will miss him as much as I have missed Jonathan Hooper. Mr. Hooper was the first to tell me that I could make it in music. Mr. Ball helped me find the “sound.” God bless both of you!

    [Reply]

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Assistant Fine Arts Professor retires after 27 years