Director of music and conductor

Our Director of Music, Frank Huxham, has been associated with band music for most of his life. He was born in Exeter in 1931 into a very musical family; at one time he and ten others in his family played together in the same Brass Band! Frank began playing the cornet at the age of nine with the Young People's Salvation Army Band Frank. His father, Stan Huxham, played trumpet in the Exeter Theatre Royal, and Frank was lucky in being able to sit beside him and gain valuable musical experience from the age of eleven. He also played with the Exeter Southern Railway Band and the local ATC Band. Aged 14 (1945), Frank entered the All Britain Solo Championships and came 6th in the finals at Belle Vue, Manchester (he takes comfort in the fact that the winner was Norman Burgess who eventually became Principal with the BBC Concert Orchestra). The following year Frank became the West Country Junior Champion, and at the finals that autumn he gained 7th position in the All Britain Finals. In 1947, aged 16, he joined the Palace Theatre Orchestra in Plymouth.

In August 1949 Frank was called up for National Service, and after basic training became Solo Cornet for the Staff Band of The Royal Army Service Corp under Major Dean. He returned to the Palace Theatre in 1951, and the following year he was approached by the Torquay Municipal Orchestra where he accepted the position of Principal Trumpet and remained there until the orchestra disbanded in 1954. He then played Solo Cornet in the Hazell, Watson and Viney Printing Works Band (Championship Section) at Aylesbury that won through to several appearances at the Championship Finals at the Royal Albert Hall. In 1959 Frank joined the famous Morris Motors Band under Harry Mortimore, and two year later he returned to Plymouth to become a freelance player undertaking theatre and dance band work with such names as Ted Colman, Frank Fuge and Harry Pook. In 1979 Frank became a peripatetic Brass Teacher with the Devon Education Authority travelling around the schools teaching young people. There followed many busy years teaching in schools, teaching private pupils and dance and theatre work.

Frank was a founder member (together with Charles May and Charles Chapman) of the City of Plymouth Wind Band in 1982. Later it became the City of Plymouth Concert Band. Since then the band has accompanied many of the South West's soloists and choirs and because of Frank's theatre experience now performs annually with The Plymouth Theatre Company in stage show mode as well as accompanying choral works by Bruckner and John Rutter and, twice, Rhapsody in Blue with a Russian concert pianist.

Although in his eighties Frank is a very active and enthusiastic musician, conducting the City of Plymouth Concert Band - he'll be conducting throughout our full 2014 programme as well the Summer Music Club for young people. He still has private pupils and enjoys frequent dance and theatre work. As Frank says: It's a wonderful life, isn't it?