Craig Johnson - CANBERRA CITY BAND MD
Craig Johnson, born and raised in Sydney, NSW, joined the Australian Regular Army as a musician in 1977. He subsequently served in Army bands in Sydney, Perth and Canberra before being selected to attend Army Band Officer training at the Defence Force School of Music in Melbourne. Upon graduation he was awarded the Commanding Officer’s Prize for the Best Conductor of the Course. Since then, has served as Music Director of Army Bands Wagga, and Perth, and of the Royal Military College Band in Canberra. His final two appointments before retiring from the Army were as the Commanding Officer/Chief Instructor of the Defence Force School of Music, followed by Commanding Officer of the Australian Army Band.
During his Army service, Craig has taken bands to Bougainville, East Timor, the Solomon Islands, Gallipoli, the UK, Switzerland and France. His deployment to East Timor in 1999 was a highlight, and included assisting in the arrangements for the “Tour of Duty” Concert in Dili - featuring John Farnham, Kylie Minogue, Doc Nieson and James Blundell - coordinating the Royal Military College Band tour, and forming and recording a 100 voice multi-national INTERFET choir from soldiers of the participating nations to accompany Jon Stevens at the 1999 Myer Music Bowl “Carols by Candlelight.”
In addition to his extensive service in the Army band branch, Craig has been very successful as a conductor and musical director of musical theatre. He has conducted many successful musical theatre productions including “Westside Story,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Grease,” and “Hello, Dolly!” amongst many other shows. Craig has undertaken advanced orchestral conducting studies in Venice, Italy, and Varna, Bulgaria – where he conducted a public performance of Brahms’ “Ein Deutsches Requiem.”
Craig continues to be active as a conductor of bands and orchestras, and as a music director, principally with Canberra City Band.
Neille Williams - JOHN AGNEW BAND MD
Neille grew up in Sydney as the daughter of a successful jazz musician and learnt to play just about anything she could get her hands on. She completed a Bachelors Degree in Music with Honours from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and undertook further study with Ros Dunlop and Mark Walton (clarinet), Kerrie Biddell (singing) and David Birks in Seattle (saxophone). She also completed an ABODA-certified conducting qualification through the Jerry Nowak School of Conducting.
After graduating, Neille worked in Sydney as an in-demand musician and singer, performing with such notable musicians as Jon English and Natalie Bassingthwaite. She also conducted several school, college and community ensembles and wrote music for productions such as “When I Get My Name In Lights” and ad campaigns such as the “National Clean Up Australia Day”. Neille also designed and wrote an early-years music program to introduce pre-school children to music in a fun and creative way. After more than a decade in Sydney, Neille took her talents abroad, completing several international contracts on cruise ships and in hotels throughout Asia.
In 2013, Neille moved to Canberra, where she currently maintains a busy schedule of performing, teaching, conducting and composing as well as being a mother to two rambunctious boys.
Justin Buckingham SPECTRUM BIG BAND MD
Justin Buckingham is a multi-instrumentalist based in Canberra. Having played in outfits such as the Divergence Jazz Orchestra and afro-fusion band Lyre Byrdland, he currently leads swing band Rhythm Capital and plays in accordion/clarinet duo Groove Tango, the Australian Wind Orchestra on Baritone Saxophone and trad-jazz band Zackerbilks. Possessing degrees in both Music Education and Jazz Performance from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Justin has many years’ experience teaching saxophone and other woodwinds to beginners through to tertiary in individual settings and in small to large ensembles. This teaching practise is informed by a deep experience playing and composing in a wide range of styles such as jazz, classical, funk, reggae, afrobeat, contemporary wind band, musical theatre doubling and more. Justin currently teaches woodwinds and conducts ensembles at three schools in the ACT and is the MD of Spectrum Big Band and Connexion Big Band.