Resident Conductor & Musical Director — Christopher Bond
Christopher is a professional composer, conductor and musical director, originating in Cornwall and now based in Cardiff where he graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music in 2014. Since 2015, he has been Composer in Residence to the world-famous Cory Band and has had his work performed extensively across five continents. In the United Kingdom, his work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 2, 3, 4 & Classic FM.
As a composer, his works have been chosen as the set-works at the UK Regional Brass Band Championships, the National Brass Band Championships of France, Switzerland and Ireland as well as both the National Youth Brass Band Championships of Great Britain & European Youth Brass Band Championships. Additionally, in 2012 The Royal Diamond Jubilee Fanfare was commissioned and performed in the presence of HM Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh as part of the Diamond Jubilee Tour. In 2015, Christopher won the Cyril Beere Award for the Best New Composition at Brass in Concert at The Sage, Gateshead.
As an adjudicator and judge, Christopher has sat on panels for BBC Young Musician, the National Youth Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, UniBrass (University Brass Band Championship of Great Britain & Northern Ireland), UK Regional Brass Band Championships and Cory Band’s Composition Prize, amongst others. Christopher is on the Executive of the Association of Brass Band Adjudicators.
In theatre, Christopher regularly works as a Musical Director for UK-based production company Imagine Theatre on their productions. He has recently finished co-writing a children’s musical, Scaredy Bugs, which has received its workshop performance and will be released for international licensing later this year.
As a conductor, Christopher was Resident Conductor at Tongwynlais Temperance between 2014-2017, where he worked with the band on preparation for four successive National Finals qualifications, two Welsh Open wins and the European Brass Band Championships. Since 2019, Christopher has been Musical Director of City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) Band, with the band rising up the rankings and qualifying for the National Finals in 2022.
In 2022, Christopher was appointed Resident Conductor and Musical Director of the GUS Band.
Professional Conductor – Dr David Thornton
Dr David Thornton is regarded as one of the foremost euphonium players and teachers of his generation and has a global reputation. His work as a soloist, conductor and educator is renowned throughout the brass playing world to have the hallmark of extreme virtuosity, professionalism and an ability to connect with audiences like few others in his field.
His work within the brass band world has seen him at the top flight for almost twenty years. He has held solo euphonium positions with the Fairey Band (1997-2000), the Black Dyke Band (2000-2010) and the Brighouse & Rastrick Band (2011-2015) having won five National titles, three British Opens and one European Championship during this time.
David is a course director for the Bolsover Brass Band Summer School and has been a course tutor for the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, National Youth Brass Band of Wales, National Children’s Brass Band of Great Britain, National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain, the International Brass Band Summer School (Swansea) and the Wessex Band Summer School.
David also tutors at the RNCM, the University of Huddersfield and Chetham’s School of Music.
Associate Conductor — Stephen Bell
Belfast-born Stephen Bell has built a hugely diverse career in both commerce and music spanning over 35 years. Stephens association with Brass Bands stretches back to his time at Laganvale Brass Band firstly on Eb Bass and then on Timpani. It was studying music at Southampton University and subsequently M.Mus (performance) at the University of Surrey that set Stephen on course to develop as a musical director in a variety of genres, encouraged and championed by Mike Sheppard and Professor Peter Evans.
Stephen has worked with choirs and other ensembles in and around Northampton since 1987. Most notable was the performance with Northampton Chamber Choir in 2001, of Mozart Requiem in St Giles Church with the Guildhall Orchestra: an Orchestra which Stephen formed and directed in 1997 for the Brahms centenary. Notable successes with the Guildhall Orchestra were the performances of Walton’s Viola Concerto with Martin Outram, Dvorak’s ‘Cello concerto with Michal Kaznowski, Bruch violin concerto with Jan Kaznowski and performances of all of the Brahms Symphonies. Stephen also directed the Guildhall Orchestra for a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No 3 with the internationally recognised pianist Nicholas Austin.
Stephen was appointed as the Musical Director of the Northampton Concert Band in 2005-2015 and has enjoyed considerable success with the band in the NCBF festival finals, winning numerous Gold and Platinum award. Stephen was appointed Musical Director of the St Cecilia Singers of Rushden (2007-2012); a tenure culminating in a memorable performance of Brahms German Requiem with the international soloist David Wilson-Johnson as the solo Baritone in November 2012. After a period conducting the Abingdon Concert Band (2010-2013) Stephen enjoyed being the musical director of the Rushden Windmill Brass Band (2012-14) the Northampton Male Voice Choir (2011-current), Market Harborough Orchestra (2012-current) and occasional concerts with the famous all-ladies “Boobs and Brass” and of course the mighty GUS.
Stephen is in demand as an adjudicator and has enjoyed working with the Milton Keynes, Wellingborough and the recently formed North Northampton Festival.
Whilst not making music Stephen has cultivated an impressive parallel career within the automotive industry. Stephen held a very senior position within Mercedes-Benz in Milton Keynes for 10 years (2004-2014) and for the last 7 years has set up and run his own training company Red Kite Training & Development Limited providing consultancy and training services for the Passenger Car, Commercial Vehicle and Truck network for Mercedes-Benz.
Stephen has two daughters both of whom are professional violinists. When not making music or running his business Stephen can be found training hard for Marathons, reading musicological books and listening to good old-fashioned LPs.
Stephen lives in Oundle with his partner Sarah.