“Waving the conductor’s baton is a little like being in Harry Potter; except with music, the magic is very real” – Callum Rookes.
Our current conductor and musical director is Callum Rookes. Callum’s journey into the dark art of conducting has been an unconventional one. Picking up the baton at the cock-sure age of fifteen, it soon became clear that he had a natural affinity for conducting, always excelling in his conducting exams at Trinity College of Music.
He soon started picking up directorship of many bands and orchestras. Whilst in Denmark he became the MD of the Vejle FDF brass band whilst having a fruitful life as a freelance conductor. Simultaneously, he was invited to conduct and coach the Cambridge Youth Wind Orchestra in the UK; an engagement he continues to this day.
In 2014, on his return to London, Callum became the Musical Director of the Thame Concert Band where he reenergised, rebuilt, and transformed the band, successfully growing the band from an enthusiastic twelve, to a band of thirty-five. He also built their audience base from a modest few, to a hall of hundreds. Callum continues to push the TCB, and is proud to lead them for their annual “A Last Night At The Proms” Concert.
Shortly afterwards, Callum became the Musical Director of the Sound Force Big Band in High Wycombe, which he held until January 2018 when he went on to become the principal conductor of the London People’s Orchestra, the Enfield Film Orchestra, and the The Highgate and Muswell Hill Brass Band; positions he held until late 2019 when Callum decided to audition, and consequently win the audition to be the Musical Director of the Aylesbury Concert Band, following in the footsteps of it’s previous esteemed conductors such has Claire Lawrence (former Band Master, Coldstream Guards Band), Duncan Stubbs (former Principal Director of Music, RAF Music Services), and Rob Wiffin (former Principal Director of Music, RAF Music Services).
Callum also gives masterclasses to other ensembles in the UK seeking fresh ideas for their playing. Most recently, Callum was invited as a guest conductor to the Woodwind Orchestra Playday, London, 2020, alongside James Rae, and Paul Harris, where he led a total of seventy-seven musicians.
You can find out more about Callum on his website: www.callumrookes.com.