Saxophones

Dan Gribbin - Alto 1

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Dan Gribbin is currently studying music on the prestigious ‘Joint Course’ between the Royal Northern College of Music and the University of Manchester. Under the tutelage of saxophonists Rob Buckland, Andy Scott, Mike Hall and Timothy McAllister, Dan maintains a keen interest in jazz, pop and classical music genres. His experience within a variety of genres enables Dan to regularly perform at functions, weddings and conferences around the UK both as a soloist and alongside various ensembles.

As a soloist, Dan is excited to be performing a saxophone concerto with Wyatt Sinfonia in August 2020 and looks forward to working alongside the orchestra in the coming months. 

Whilst training as a contemporary classical saxophonist, Dan is a proud member of the Canorum Saxophone Quartet and the RNCM Saxophone Orchestra. He relishes the opportunities these ensembles provide to perform contemporary classical music alongside funk and pop arrangements. The ensemble is preparing to perform at the 2020 European Saxophone Congress in Trento, Italy.

Larger ensembles such as the RNCM Big Band and Nottingham Jazz Orchestra give Dan the opportunity to grow his experience working in jazz and commercial music genres. Current projects include performances on lead alto saxophone with the RNCM Session Orchestra and the Ben Ward Big Band. A large part of Dan’s work takes place through numerous function bands and horn sections in the North West which have led him to multiple performances at Band on the Wall.

Nathan Holroyd - Alto 2

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Nathan is currently in his second year studying saxophone performance at the Royal Northern College of Music on the ‘Joint Course’ with the University of Manchester, studying under tutors Rob Buckland, Andy Scott, Mike Hall and Timothy McAllister.


Originally from Nottingham, Nathan began studying music at Bilborough Sixth Form College. Whilst in Nottingham, he was awarded the Carlton Male Voice Choir’s prestigious Music Makers award with pianist Konya Kanneh-Mason in 2018. Now residing in Manchester, Nathan is part of a host of well-established ensembles including Canorum Saxophone Quartet, Northern Reeds (Reed Quintet) and the Hughes-Holroyd Duo (with harpist Jess Hughes). 


A keen orchestral saxophonist, Nathan has played with such orchestras as the RNCM’s Brand New Orchestra and the Manchester University Symphony Orchestra. This year, Nathan will be taking part in a placement with the Hallé Orchestra as part of their ‘Adopt-A-Player’ scheme. 


Alongside classical playing, Nathan has also been a part of the RNCM’s Jazz Collective and Session Orchestra, as well as being a regular player with the Ben Ward Big Band.

Ben Jackson - Tenor 1

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Ben is currently undergoing his second year at the Royal Northern College of Music, studying both jazz and classical saxophone performance under Mike Hall, Andy Scott and Rob Buckland. This has offered Ben a huge variety of performance opportunities, including playing in the RNCM Big Band, Jazz Collective and Session Orchestra (with 

acclaimed vocalist Mario Jose) alongside regular classical recitals. 


Separate from the RNCM, Ben frequently plays in function bands, jazz combos and pit orchestras in shows including Greece, Oliver and the Sound of Music. In the summer of 2018, Ben played lead saxophone in the National Scout and Guide big band, as well as the concert band. 


Alongside the saxophone, Ben is a keen jazz pianist, and has achieved his grade 8 in this also. After meeting Ben Ward in late 2018, Ben has performed twice with the big band, as is lucky to have the opportunity to play alongside both peers and professionals.

Billy Rhodes - Tenor 2

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Billy began playing at the age of 6, and wasn’t particularly interested in music until he reached secondary school. Clarinet was his first instrument and still is, and he still works extensively in classical environments. However, his woodwind teacher at secondary school encouraged him to learn the saxophone alongside. This became a gateway into the world of big bands, jazz, and musical theatre. By the time Billy began his A Levels he was proficient, and of an equal standard, in both clarinet and saxophone. This love of playing developed into something that he wanted to take more seriously and he began studying under Peter Glennville at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Juniors’ department. This developed his playing massively and pushed him into more professional work. As a long standing friend of Ben, he became one of the founding players of the Ben Ward Big Band, and loves being a part of the sax section. He was also Ben’s successor in becoming the lead alto saxophone in Nottingham Youth Jazz Orchestra. Billy is now studying Classical Performance at Leeds College of Music under the direction of Hannah McCabe, a successful and vastly experienced clarinettist and saxophonist. Billy cherishes the opportunity he has playing alongside such wonderful musicians that perform with the Ben Ward Big Band.

Josh Mead - Baritone