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The Conductor - Mark Atkins

Mark Atkins

Mark started playing the trumpet at 6 years of age, playing in a brass band on the Channel Island of Guernsey. At the age of 17 he moved to the mainland and joined the Staff Band of the Royal Corps of Transport.

Serving all over the world and several promotions later, Mark was appointed Band Sergeant Major of The Band of the Royal Logistic Corps, a position he held for 6 years.

On retirement from Army Music in October 2000, he started teaching part-time for Hindhead Music Centre and Hampshire Music Service - positions he still holds.

Mark is also a freelance trumpet player and is in great demand, travelling all over the UK. He has performed at all the country's major venues with some of the country's finest bands.

Mark is excited about the future of Farnborough Concert Band of The Royal British Legion. He is looking to challenge the Band and the musicians as individuals with a new and varied repertoire, to maintain and hopefully improve on the high standards already achieved.

Previous Conductors

2015 - 2017 Tom Higgins

Tom Higgins studied conducting and the oboe at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, winning a silver medal with honours in his first year. He commenced his career as an oboist with the English National Opera Orchestra and was also for a time principal oboe of the BBC Scottish Radio Orchestra. Later he continued his conducting studies with James Lockhart, formerly Music Director of the Kassel Opera House in Germany.

Tom Higgins

While he has conducted leading British orchestras, he is also keen to promote Britain’s fine tradition of wind band playing, programming a mixture of challenging repertoire with accessible music of today. He has conducted the New Queen’s Hall Symphonic Wind Band at London’s Cadogan Hall and his recently released recording, The Crown Imperial became Classic FM’s Featured Album of the Week. It is a collection of marches for 20th–century British Coronations and was recorded with the newly-formed London Symphonic Concert Band of which Tom Higgins is the director.

In the world of opera his association with London’s Opera Holland Park led to him directing the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, while from 2002 to 2011 he was Music Director of Opera South where he regularly conducted the Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra. He made his German debut in 2003 when he conducted the New Year’s Day Concert with Dresden's Staatsoperetten Orchestra.

In 2000 he was awarded a Diploma of Honour by the International Robert Stolz Society of Vienna. Returning to wind music, during 2007, 2008 and 2015 he directed the Lewisham Concert Band in a series of concerts in Berlin for the district of Charlottenburg. In 2011 he conducted a concert of Wind Music at the Royal Academy of Music which celebrated the life of the late Sir Charles Mackerras.

He is Music Director of the Richmond Symphonic Concert Band and joint-founder and artistic director of Teddington Summer Music – a new music festival for South-West London.


1999 The Rose of Persia, Sir Arthur Sullivan. The Hanover Band. Conductor, Tom Higgins. BBC Music Magazine/CPO
2009 The Fringes of the Fleet, Sir Edward Elgar. Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor, Tom Higgins. (SOMMCD 243)
2014 The Crown Imperial, Marches for 20th Century British Coronations. London Symphonic Concert Band. Conductor, Tom Higgins. (SOMMCD 0138)

2014 Jez Morrish

Jeremy has long history of both performing with, and conducting, wind bands. He was brought up playing with the Salvation Army and after several years playing for many wind bands and orchestras on mainly brass instruments he joined the Life Guards on Euphonium. Since leaving the Army, Jeremy teaches and conducts Woking Wind Orchestra. He has brought passion, enthusiasm and great ideas to the band.

2003 - 2013 David Smart LLCM

David started his musical life at 13 years old as a trombonist for Barnstaple Town Military Band and Bideford Town Brass Band. In 1987 he joined the Army and was posted to the Band of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment. In 1988 he went to the Royal Military School of Music for two years where he took a change of course and studied flute and classical piano under Graham Mayger and Veronica Clayton respectively.

It was while he was at Kneller Hall that David discovered a passion for writing band arrangements. This has come into great use since becoming the conductor of the Farnborough Legion Band.

David Smart

In 1990 David re-joined the band in Northern Ireland and the Regiment then moved to Cyprus in 1991. 1992 saw another career move for David when he successfully passed an audition for the Life Guards Band of the Household Cavalry. During a series of summer concerts David was persuaded by the Director of Music to take another musical change and he became the principal oboist of the Band, a position he held until he left the army in 1998.

During his service, David has performed all around the world, playing for all the members of the Royal Family, The Lord Mayor of London and many Ambassadors and diplomats.

David was appointed to be the band's second conductor in 2003. He sought to develop the band into a semi professional band, providing a high standard of music for the band and the public's enjoyment. He also sought to raise the profile of the band within the local community. In 2009 David took and passed the London College of Music Licentiate Conducting diploma.

David's philosophy and approach to the band and music is "What can we play/do which will make us stand out from the crowd and get us invited back again to perform.", a philosophy that has served the band well in the 10 years under his leadership. Having moved closer to London in 2013, David has now left leaving the baton for someone new for 2014 and beyond. You can now find David leading the London Based Heroes Band

1987 - 2003 Eddie Brown

In 1987 Eddie Brown and a selection of ex-service musicians and friends formed a Concert Band. Starting life in the local branch of the Royal British Legion, the band became known as the Farnborough Concert Band of the Royal British Legion. In the early 1990s the band moved to McGregor Barracks in Aldershot.

After 15 years under his leadership, Eddie Brown retired from the band in 2003.