Musical Director

Musical Director: Nigel Cooper

Nigel was born in Leeds into a Salvation Army family attending the Leeds Central Corps. His father tells him that he regularly went and sat with the great Wilf Heaton during the Sunday morning services and perhaps this influenced Nigel’s love of music.

Nigel began his association with brass banding at the age of 11 learning to play the Euphonium in the YP Band at Blackpool Citadel Salvation Army. Various moves around the country saw him playing principal Euphonium in the Salvation Army Bands at Maidenhead, Wood Green and eventually Chelmsford Citadel where he was also appointed deputy bandmaster and where his interest in conducting really took off. His playing has taken him around the country and abroad as both a member of a band and a soloist and has allowed him the privilege of playing under the baton of some of the great Salvation Army Conductors and composers including Ray Steadman-Allen, Steve Cobb and Norman Bearcroft.

Having left the Salvation Army in 2010 he returned to brass banding by playing Euphonium with Thundersley Brass Band competing at both regional and national brass band competitions. Here he had the privilege of playing under the musical direction of some of their most successful conductors including Jeremy Wise and Nigel Taken.

Nigel’s interest in conducting led him to accept an invitation to audition for the Musical Director role for the Essex Police Band and he was appointed Musical Director in May 2012. Having spent four fantastic years with the Essex Police Band performing concerts across the country, he was invited to audition for the Musical Director role with the East of England Co op Band (Ipswich and Norwich Co-op Band at the time).

This new role gave Nigel the opportunity to return to the challenge of brass band contesting but unfortunately began with supporting the band as they were relegated from the Championship section after just two years in that position. However, since then, the band has grown in both playing ability and strength under Nigel’s direction with a greater ‘team spirit’ developing that has been reflected with wins at both the 2022 NEMBBA Contest and the 2022 L&SC Area contest. This latest win sees the band returning to the Championship Section and receiving an invite to the 2022 National Finals.

Outside of brass banding, Nigel lives and works in Essex and is married with two children who both enjoy music as a hobby outside of their jobs. He plays trombone with the Real Swing Band and also takes part in triathlons when time and training permits.

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