Brandon Gibson Obituary, Death – Brandon Gibson, a Knoxville resident who used his passion for opera to make a significant statement, passed away on Wednesday. He was 36. Gibson, who served as Marble City Opera’s managing director, attracted national notice last year when his opera group debuted “I Can’t Breathe,” a unique social justice work centered on George Floyd’s police killing. Gibson told Knox News that the opera’s lyrics and plot were his first attempts at writing a libretto. “When people hear opera, they frequently assume that it consists only of people dancing and singing erratically in many languages. It has a rather cartoonish appearance and feels unreal.
However, it is a reality just like anything else. In an interview with Knox News for the Scruffy Stuff podcast, he said, “They may be singing in Italian, but they’re singing about the same things that everyone else is singing about everywhere else: sex, love, loss of love, death, all that stuff. The gifted performer and actress was also an emcee in East Tennessee and a freelance writer for regional periodicals. Gibson was raised in Virginia, relocated to Knoxville as a teenager to attend Austin-East Magnet High School, and was born in a small hamlet in North Carolina. Gibson claims that he never had a voice similar to the other students in the class.
However, he admitted to “The Scruffy Stuff” last year that his distinctive singing voice is what first drew him to opera. People didn’t really know how to treat me in high school, he recalled, and at first it was like, “What is he doing? It “kind of went from confusion and whatever to respect as I was there.” Gibson has always sang, beginning in the church choir when he was a little child. His family frequently relocated, and when he was a sophomore in high school, they settled in Knoxville. He started singing in productions with the UT Opera Theater and in the chorus for Knoxville Opera while pursuing vocal performance at the University of Tennessee.
After that, he started acting classes and started performing with the Clarence Brown Theater. Gibson was a real Renaissance man who contributed his voice to a variety of projects, including documentaries and projects for the East Tennessee PBS series “Black in Appalachia.” Additionally, he wrote reviews, essays, and other freelance pieces for the Knoxville publication Blank Newspaper, for which he was recognized with a Golden Press Card Award by the Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists in 2022. Gibson was a member of our knox.biz magazine’s 2021 40 Under 40 class in addition to serving on the boards of the Big Ears Festival, the WUOT advisory board, and the Women LLC of Knoxville microloan review committee.