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Abingdon Concert Band

music for wind orchestra since 1977

Musical Directors

Neil Brownless
Musical Director, 2013–Present

Neil’s musical career began at the age of 7 when he started learning the violin. He soon saw sense and switched to the cornet at 9 and later the trombone at 14. Progressing quickly on the trombone Neil took his grade 8 after just 3 years of playing.

Neil read maths at Portsmouth University where he was director for the university big band and assistant conductor for the wind band. Whilst at university Neil played for many bands across the south coast, including Portsmouth and Chichester University Symphony Orchestras, pit bands for various shows, the Dave Pearson Big Band, Woodfalls Brass Band and Otterbourne Brass Band, who competed at the 2012 National Brass Band Finals.

Now back in Northampton, Neil is working as recording projects coordinator for World of Sound. Neil is Principal Trombone with Northampton Symphony Orchestra, Northampton Concert Band and the Charity Symphony Orchestra. He also holds the positions of Deputy Musical Director for Northampton Concert Band and Musical Director of Towcester Studio Band. In September 2013 Neil took over the role of Musical Director with Abingdon Concert Band; he looks forward to working with the band over the coming years.

Stephen Bell
Musical Director, 20112013

Stephen studied music at Southampton University and subsequently conducting at the University of Surrey.

He was appointed Musical Director of Northampton Concert Band in 2005 and has enjoyed considerable success with them in the National Concert Band Festival finals, winning numerous Gold awards and in 2010 a coveted Platinum award. Stephen was appointed Musical Director of the St Cecilia singers of Rushden in 2007 and is also now working with the Northampton Male Voice Choir and the Rushden Windmill Band.

Stephen lives in Wellingborough and works for Mercedes-Benz Retail Group (UK) Ltd, Milton Keynes.

Philip Burditt
Musical Director, 2003–2011

Philip Burditt has been involved with bands and orchestras for most of his life. After a modest start studying the piano, he took up the bassoon and soon discovered the pleasures of ensemble playing. Later on he added playing the saxophone, euphonium and eventually bass guitar to his accomplishments and has now played in or directed almost every kind of ensemble from chamber groups, brass and wind bands to symphony orchestras, choirs and even rock bands.

After leaving his studies, Philip spent 20 years with the family business, where he became IT director and was involved in the company sponsoring a championship brass band – formerly the GUS band, but at that time known as the Rigid Containers Group Band.

On reaching the age of 40, Philip decided to concentrate on conducting. He is also a regular course tutor and conductor for wind band weekends held at Knuston Hall in Northamptonshire.

David Wirdnam
Conductor, 2000–2002

David Wirdnam joined the Band as Musical Director in May 2000. He began his musical career in the Army at the age of 18 with the Staff Band of the Royal Corps of Transport based in Aldershot, Hampshire. During the 14 years he served with the RCT Staff Band as principal flautist, David performed with the band in countries worldwide as well as performing on CD recordings and radio broadcasts. Since leaving the Army in 1994, David graduated from Sheffield University reading music as well becoming a Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music. In addition to his role as the Musical Director of the Abingdon Concert Band, David is employed as a specialist flute teacher by the Berkshire Young Musician’s Trust.

Anthony D. Sadler