|Meet Our Conductors|
Known for instructing and inspiring players to perform beyond their usual level of technical ability, it has often been said that "Rob gets 110%" out of any group he conducts. To each rehearsal, Rob brings the benefits of a diverse musical background, a talent for helping players to visualize and communicate the composer's intent and a commitment to integrating players of differing levels of expertise.
While earning a Bachelor of Science at the University of Western Ontario, Rob performed in the University Jazz Band and the Mustang Marching Band. After completing his Bachelor of Education, Rob began his 37 year career as a high school music teacher. Rob also holds an Honours Specialist in Choral and Instrumental Music from the University of Toronto and a B.M.A. from Windsor University. He studied Symphonic conducting with James Tambourini and Choral conducting with Richard Householder. Rob also performed in twelve professional operas and sang professionally with the Windsor Classic Chorale and the Michigan Opera Theatre for four years.
In 2016, Rob celebrated his 2nd year as Conductor of the Grand River New Horizon’s Concert Band and his 32nd year as the Conductor of the Caledon Concert Band. He has conducted several community vocal jazz ensembles, male choirs and mixed choirs, acted as musical director for community theatrical productions and directed Christian choral camps for over 25 years. Rob has also served the music community as an adjudicator for music festivals and the Canadian National Exhibition Rising Star Competition. Rob has appeared as a guest conductor or performer for the community concert bands of Brampton City Concert Band, Guelph Concert Band, South Simcoe Band, Port Colborne Band, St. Anne's Band, Lincoln and Welland Military Band, Thorold Reed Band, Welland Citizen's Band, Chingacousy Concert Band, Encore Band, Fred Willet Concert Band, Jack Solomon's Octoberfest Polka Band, and Ebytown Brass Band.
Ray is a retired high school music
teacher and semi-professional musician who has lived in the Waterloo
area for over 35 years. He started his musical career in North Bay
playing piano in a country group while in high school and then with
other local groups on sax and string bass. In the summer months of the
early 60's Ray would travel weekly to Dunn's Pavilion in Bala, Ontario
to hear and be inspired by such greats as Ellington, Basie, Kenton, the
Dorsey brothers, the Herman Herds, and the Louis Armstrong All Stars.
While performing with the 8th Field Squadron RCE Military Band on
clarinet and sax, the director
recommended Ray pursue a career in teaching instrumental music. He then
studied pedagogy and later composition and arranging with Rayburn
Wright and Manny Albam at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.
and went on to obtain his Bachelor of Music degree from Queen's University
in Kingston, Ontario.
While head of music at schools in Sudbury, Cambridge (Galt) and Kitchener, Ray directed the concert and jazz bands as well as the pit bands for several Broadway musical productions. During the summer months, he attended music programs including the Banff School of Fine Arts summer program, studying under Eddie Daniels and Lee Konitz. In 1981, his jazz group from Cameron Heights C.I. in Kitchener won the All Ontario Jazz Finals and competed in the Canadian Nationals, an award of which he is very proud. While teaching, Ray continued to stay involved as a musician in the community. Over the years he has been conductor or assistant conductor of several area concert bands. He has also played in small combos of several styles (jazz, Dixieland, rock and ethnic) in the Waterloo area. Presently he plays in the Waterloo Concert Band and the Ayr Paris Band.
Ray says, "I am very happy to be part of the Grand River New
Horizons Music program in Waterloo and I am grateful to the other
volunteers and to the participants who have made this an enjoyable and
productive endeavour. I hope that more former and would-be musicians
hear the music and come forward and join the band."