TULSA, Okla. — Greg Fallis is a 100% true Tulsan.
“I grew up around 51st and Yale.”
Fallis says the teachers at Carnegie Elementary and the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences made the biggest impact in his life.
“[They] set me up to win a music scholarship, a full ride at University of Tulsa, and then a full ride at University of Memphis for my Master’s,” Fallis said. “So I’m forever grateful to them.”
So much so, Fallis has returned home after a successful teaching career in Memphis and New Orleans to help young students at Monte Cassino School realize their love for music.
“Just seeing kids connect with music for the first time that isn’t their parents music, developing their own tastes, and figuring out what they like, is really special to me,” Fallis said.
He didn’t come home alone.
Fallis came back with a new love.
“The sound of New Orleans is beloved everywhere,” Fallis said. “In Spain, Sacramento, New York, France, everywhere around the world people love New Orleans music, and we don’t have it here.”
Fallis has set out to change that and introduce Oklahoma to this one-of-a-kind sound.
“It’s the beat, it’s the percussion, it’s the influence of West African drumming, and it’s the French operatic vibrato that you hear in the brass players,” he said.
As a trombone player who dabbles in the sousaphone, Fallis started the King Cabbage Brass Band.” It’s a seven-piece band with two set-ups. There’s a traditional brass band for parades, funerals with a New Orleans flair, and weddings.
“We play hymns, traditional jazz, and New Orleans music,” Fallis said.
There’s also an electric set-up for public performances.
“[We play] everything from Whitney Houston to Justin Timberlake and Beyonce,” he said. “We just really try to get the crowd pumped.”
Fallis says no matter what’s going on in his life, New Orleans brass band music provides an escape and puts a smile on his face. And he wants other Oklahomans to have the same reactions during this time when everyone needs to let off a little steam.
“My number one priority for the band is that my guys are having fun,” Fallis said. “And the number two priority for the band is that the people out front are having fun.”
Learn more about the King Cabbage Brass Band here.
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