Musician Spotlight—Meet Chuck Kobb

As a tuba player, I am used to playing “in the background.” So, to get the opportunity to share my “life story” is both an honor and humbling at the same time.

I was born in Lodi, Ohio, but grew up in Dover, Delaware. I graduated from Caesar Rodney High School. I played baritone horn (euphonium) for a couple of years, and then in eighth grade my band director asked me to switch to tuba. Two people were influential in my decision to follow music as a career, Mr. Edwin Englehart (Mr. E.), my band director, and my mother. Mr. E. obviously influenced me in the direction of instrumental music, but it was my mom who made sure I could sing and harmonize. I attended Baldwin-Wallace College (University) where I earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree. I taught bands, orchestras, choirs, and elementary general music for 39 years (most of those years in the Akron Public Schools) before retiring in 2015. As a graduate student, I studied choral conducting at Kent State University.

I have been a church choir director for most of my adult life. I am currently serving as the Director of Music at the First Christian Church in Stow. Before that, I served 22 years at First Presbyterian Church in Akron, where I had the privilege of conducting many major choral works by Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Britten, Faure, Rutter, and Vivaldi.

In addition to playing with the Tuscarawas Philharmonic, I am the Principal Tubist with the Ashland Symphony Orchestra (36+ years). I’m section leader for the KSU Stark Community/University Band. I’m also a member of the Canton Concert Band, the Mansfield Concert Band, the Suburban Brass Quintet, the Resurrection Brass, and the Stark County Fair Band. At one time I played euphonium with the Brass Band of the Western Reserve. Thirty years ago, I founded the Summit Bells, a community handbell ensemble, in the Akron area. This top-notch group has performed hundreds of concerts for local churches, civic groups, handbell festivals and concert series. We have gone on three tours and produced two CDs. We are always looking for advanced ringers who love playing the “tough stuff.”

Do I have a favorite composer? Most of them. Whatever I’m playing or listening to at any given moment, is my favorite (although if pressured, I’d have to say, “Bach!”).

My wife, Janice, and I live in the Kent area. We just celebrated our 40th anniversary. We have a son and a daughter, both of whom are married, and we have three grandchildren. Unfortunately, they all live at least 500 miles from opposite directions! Janice is an organist at a local church. We have two dogs, a black lab and a terrier, and two cats. Do I have a hobby? No, I’m too busy to have a hobby.

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