To celebrate almost half a term with our wonderful, new MD, Tom Hodge, here is everything you ever wanted to know about him…and more!

A short bio of my career to date…
I have worked as a musician, teacher and conductor, as well as being involved with many wind bands, big bands, function bands, orchestras and more. I have been privileged to work with world renowned musicians. Over more recent years, my work as a composer and arranger has taken priority and has included commissions for a number of organisations.

Why MD of the Southdowns Concert Band?
The Southdowns Concert Band, in my opinion, is the leading amateur concert band in West Sussex and it is a privilege to work with a great number of musicians of all backgrounds, from ‘hobbyists’ to ‘side hustlers’, to ‘music teachers’ and ‘retired professionals’. What brings us all together is our love of music and performing.

What instruments do you play? 
I started trumpet when I was very young, then moved onto Piano, which is where most of my professional career was focused, returning to trumpet about 5 years ago. I’m really enjoying playing in a number of ensembles.

Which side of the conductor’s stand? 
I enjoy both sides. For conducting, it is rewarding to take a rehearsal and hear the improvement. It can be hard work with lots of preparation for both rehearsals and concerts, but the satisfaction of a ‘note-worthy’ performance is worth the effort. On the band member side, I enjoy playing the dots and striving to achieve my own personal best performance.

Favourite piece of concert band music of all time?
One that I’ve really enjoyed conducting is an orchestral transcription by Butterworth – “The Banks of Green Willow”; beautifully written. Also, “An American in Paris” was a real pleasure too. However, from the original wind band repertoire, it would be Stravinsky’s “Symphony of Winds” at one end of the spectrum and Holst’s “English Folk Song Suite” at the other. I have lots of favourites!

Favourite pop song?
Again, tricky to pick just one! Right now, it is “Shotgun” by George Ezra. Mainly because I smile whenever I hear my 6 year old singing all the words… I have no idea how he has learnt it – certainly not from me!

If you could be any car what would it be?
It will be an old classic. An Austin Healey, I think; sleek, sophisticated and in reasonable condition for an older model…just need to make sure you keep the fluids topped up…red wine usually does the trick!

Thank you, Tom, for some great rehearsals thus far!

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