It’s with sadness that we announce the passing of Alan Gregory whose name many of you within the industry will know. Alan set up his shop in Fallowfield, Manchester back in June 1976. He had left a lucrative role with Manchester Education Services, where he had been area co-ordinator, to set up his new venture. With a newly born daughter having just arrived many thought he was crazy for heading out on this journey into music retail.
As a teenager Alan had attended the Royal Manchester College of Music (latterly known as the RNCM) having originally studied under Sam Holt who was principal Trombonist in the Halle Orchestra at the time. Sam was impressed with the efforts and technique of this young lad from Chadderton and for a number of years gave him free tuition to help foster his talents.
Alan’s instrument was Trumpet and he graduated from College and entered the professional world of playing in dance halls and orchestra pits around the North. In the following years he was also recruited to teach in the Manchester area, a passion which grew. During this period, he set up the Manchester Youth Stage Band which was the only band of its kind in the North and mirrored the National Youth Jazz Orchestra which was very much centred around the South.
The band played their first gig in Strangeways prison, as Alan always joked “at least the audience couldn’t walk out!”. After this fairly auspicious start things soon took off from there and the band became self-funding playing at events and gigs across the North-West. On one memorable evening the band were visited back stage by the famous American big band leader Count Basie who. after hearing their performance, agreed to becoming the honorary life president of the band which led to great exposure and opportunities. Many of the young players who played in the band over a period of years went on to professional careers in music as performers and teachers.
Alan then set-up ‘Alan Gregory Musical Instruments’ in Fallowfield with his wife Nell (herself a Cellist) and specialised in Orchestral Instruments and sheet music. Throughout the years the business grew steadily, and customers appreciated the high levels of customer service and specialist knowledge on Strings, Woodwind & Brass. He was lucky enough to visit Japan courtesy of Yamaha along with other notable dealers including Lindsay Dawkes, John Packer, John Myatt and others – a trip which he was always happy to recall. In 2000, after 24 years of running the shop, Alan retired and the business was bought by Andrew Oliver who recently moved premises into the Didsbury area and the business still thrives on in Alan’s name.
Alan retired to Dorset and spent more time playing his Trumpet again and set up various local musical ensembles. His final stage in life was spent in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire where he became a Grandfather and continued on his musical journey by playing and again running local ensembles. He passed away peacefully on Feb 14th, 2018 surrounded by his family.
His son Sam Gregory continues the music industry tradition and is currently Sales & Marketing manager for Dawkes Music in Maidenhead.
The funeral will be on Tues 13th March in Amersham. If anyone has any queries about the funeral or any messages they can email Sam directly via firstname.lastname@example.org