Jack Capstaff | Music Director
Jack was appointed Music Director of Derwent Brass in 2018 and bought with him a wealth of enthusiasm, talent and musicianship as a conductor, composer and soprano cornet player.
Jack studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) under the late Peter Reynolds, Dr. Robert Spearing and Michael McCartney for composition, and Dr. John Traill, Anthony Negus and David Jones for conducting in the contemporary music department. His specialism now lies in the creation and performance of contemporary repertoire, harnessing skills from this and other experiences to adapt to classical genres and beyond.
Jack has been conducting since the age of fifteen and cut his teeth with the York Railway Institute Brass Band. Whilst in York, he was the director of various musicals and under the tutelage of Liz Dunbar gained a place to study composition and conducting at the RWCMD.
Whilst at university, Jack took his first foray into brass band conducting at a more senior level, taking on Foresters Brass. Within his first year the band gained entry to the prestigious Spring Festival by delivering an 'alternative' entertainments programme at the Wychavon Festival of Brass, most of which was penned by Jack himself.
Whilst in Cardiff, Jack also led the City of Cardiff M2 band where he was not only able to develop the band, but also help players to progress to the senior City of Cardiff M1 band where Jack was also a player for some time.
Upon moving back to Yorkshire, alongside freelance orchestral conducting and teaching, Jack worked with the South Yorkshire Police Band and Ripon City Band, as well as an ongoing residency with the symphonic brass group “Harlequin Brass”.
More recently Jack worked with the famous Yorkshire Imperial Band, before becoming the full time Music Director of Derwent Brass in September 2018.
As a composer, Jack has had the opportunity to write commissions for some excellent, and varied, ensembles, such as 'Black Diamonds', which was commissioned for an anniversary concert by Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band under Leigh Baker to commemorate the closure of the village mine, and 'Fahla', commissioned by Sinfonia Newydd in collaboration with Artes Mundi which premiered in the National Museum of Wales.
Jack also made progress within his musical career as a player, playing with some of the top brass bands in the country including the likes of the Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band, the Yorkshire Imperial Metals Urquhart Travel Band, the Shepherd Group Band (whose Junior, concert and senior band Jack developed his playing through the years with), BTM and the City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) band.
David Holling | Assistant Music Director
David began his playing career on Euphonium at the age of 6 coming from a banding family of father and two brothers who were all members of the famous ‘Band for Britain’ - the Dinnington Colliery Band. His mother is an accomplished pianist; the piano being another one of David’s interests, particularly in the field of Jazz.
At 18 David embarked on a course of study at Huddersfield University where he completed his Bachelor of Music with first class honours. It was during this time he concentrated his study on the baritone and joined Sellers Engineering Band under the wing of famous cornettist Phillip McCann and Euphonium virtuoso, Geoff Whittam.
Completion of his degree led to a PGCE and a career in teaching after gaining the Sellers Engineering Scholarship and the Harry Mortimer award for exceptional brass studies.
Through his early teaching years David was Solo Baritone with Desford Colliery Band, Rhodian Brass and Stocksbridge Asda Band before hanging up his baritone to concentrate on conducting and his instigation of and prevailing successes with the Peak District Youth Jazz Orchestra, who were Music for Youth Outstanding award recipients on numerous occasions under his leadership.
As a brass band conductor David has enjoyed unrivalled success with his late father’s band Thurcroft Welfare where he cut his teeth as a conductor. This success has continued throughout his career with The City of Sheffield Band, Silk Brass, Strata Brass, Dronfield Band, Kibworth Band and Thoresby Colliery Band. David is now the Musical Director of Oddfellows Band after a brief dalliance at the helm in 2016 where an obvious chemistry was formed and friendships were made. David joined Derwent Brass on Baritone in 2021, at the same time accepting the position of Assistant Music Director.
In addition, David is a published composer and arranger of brass band and choral music. In 2014 his piece ‘Phoenix’ was selected as a popular choice for the Butlins Mineworkers 2nd Section Championships and many of his arrangements can be heard on bandstands and in concerts around the UK.
Keith Leonard | Music Director Emeritus
Keith was appointed the Musical Director of Derwent Brass in 1993 when the band was just 1 year old and what a relationship it has proven to be. Following a successful 25-years at the helm, we are now fortunate that he maintains his alliance with the band as Music Director Emeritus.
Keith is well known in East Midlands banding circles, having worked with many bands in the area, as a conductor, player and music arranger. Being born into a banding Salvation Army family he was greatly influenced by being surrounded with quality brass band music. He took up the cornet at a very early age, playing in both junior and senior bands of Peterborough Citadel where his father was the Bandmaster for several years.
As a principal cornet player, Keith was regularly featured as a soloist at musical festivals and events and enjoyed one-to-one tuition from David Read MBE.
Over the years, playing cornet, trumpet and tenor horn, Keith has performeed with Brass Bands, Orchestras, Wind Bands and 'Pit-Orchestras' for live stage shows, but will readily admit that his true allegiance lies with Brass Bands.
Keith occupied the principal seats in County Youth Brass Band and Orchestra before progressing to playing in Championship Section Brass Bands with several fondly remembered opportunities of playing under some of the famous names in banding circles in Europe and the UK.
Keith's earliest conducting experiences were in the Salvation Army receiving conducting tuition at S.A. Music Schools whilst still a teenager. Later he was appointed Bandmaster of the Leicester Foresters Band at just 22 years of age.
After being a member of the Leicestershire Symphony Orchestra, Foresters Brass Band and William Davis Construction Band, and performing with a raft of other bands including local rivals Ransomes and Desford, Keith took a sabbatical from the demands of top level banding prior to being appointed as Musical Director of Derwent Brass in 1993, one year after its formation. This proved to be a most successful relationship. Keith's relaxed style, whilst demanding the highest standards, coupled with the enthusiasm of the members of Derwent Brass proved to be a winning formula. He also enjoyed a successful few years as the MD of Hathern Youth (later Hathern 'B') band.
A member of the National Association of Brass Band Conductors, Keith is now called upon by other bands in the area for conducting services and is regularly engaged as an adjudicator.