Benjamin F. Elkins, age 81, passed away peacefully at home, Tuesday, November 23, 2021.
A former Marion Senior High School student performed in the International Dues Band Reunion, celebrating Berklee College of Music’s 50th anniversary. The band was composed of Berklee College graduates coming from around the globe. The concert was one of Berklee’s largest and most talent-laden alumni reunions ever.
Among the musicians who performed for the concert was bass trombonist Benjamin F. Elkins, Professor, Professional Writing Division, Berklee College of Music. Elkins studied Bass trombone with John Coffee of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. After receiving a Bachelor of Music Degree from Berklee in 1968, he was appointed to the faculty in 1973. In 1979, Elkins formed his own big band, the Back Bay Brass, for which he composed and wrote arrangements.
Elkins is a 1960 graduate of Marion Senior High School, where he played trombone and was Drum Major. Among his professional credits are his performances with Shubert Theatre Orchestra productions of “Dream Girls”, “Annie”, “Dancin’ ”, “Ain’t Misbehaving”, Phantom of the Opera”, and “42nd Street”. Elkin has also appeared in performances by Stan Kenton, Urbie Green, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Joe Williams.
He is the son of the late Ruby and Frank Elkins of Marion.
On May 2, Elkins’ student band, The Back Bay Brass Jazz Orchestra, performed in the Berklee Performance Center the entire Johnny Richards “Cuban Fire Suite”, which was recorded in 1956 by the Stan Kenton Orchestra. This was considered by music critics to be a milestone in jazz composition. Elkins’ students played the first live performance of this music since 1956.
To share memories of Benjamin F. Elkins, please visit www.seaverbrown.com. Care for Mr. Elkins family has been entrusted to Seaver-Brown Funeral Service & Crematory, 237 East Main Street, Marion, Va. 24354.