Our band conductor, Simon Nicholls

Read all about our band conductor Simon Nicholls’ musical background and love of rugby… 

Profile of Simon Nicholls band conductorBorn in Bristol, Simon began playing trombone aged eight with his local Scout and Guide Band. In 1989, he successfully auditioned for the Royal Marines Band Service and in September that year began three years’ training at the Royal Marines School of Music (RMSoM) in Deal, Kent.

Performing around the world with Royal Marines bands

During this time Simon was chosen to represent the Royal Navy at rugby at both under 19 and under 21 level. After completing training, Simon spent the following 15 years in various Royal Marines bands around the country. This provided opportunities to travel extensively. He performed in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, The Falkland Islands, much of Europe, and in Tchaikovsky Hall in St Petersburgh.

In 1992 Simon was deployed onboard HMS Invincible for a four-month tour of the Far East, with concert appearances in Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and South Korea.

Playing the trombone

In 2004 Simon was appointed as principal trombone of Royal Marines Band Scotland. During this time he was a regular soloist with the band. This culminated in playing as a featured soloist with the Massed Bands of HM Royal Marines at the Royal Albert Hall – dressed as a nun!

2006 saw Simon appointed as the trombone instructor at RMSoM, now relocated in Portsmouth. Together with Gordon Campbell – principal trombone of BBC Big Band and current professor of trombone – he was responsible for selecting and training all new trombone players in the Royal Marines. This was a hugely rewarding period of his career and saw Simon achieve diplomas in performance and teaching as well as graduating with a BMus(Hons) from Portsmouth University.

Following his time at RMSoM Simon was appointed as Volunteer Band Instructor. With periods in Portsmouth and Plymouth, he spent the next five years as the professional Bandmaster and Conductor of the Royal Navy’s equivalent of the Army’s TA Bands.

In recent years Simon has had the opportunity to conduct several civilian community bands. And he’s continued his passion for rugby both as a coach and qualified referee.

He was invited to become Principal Conductor of the Bournemouth and District Concert Band in September 2018 and is looking forward to a long and successful collaboration with the band.

Read Simon’s exclusive interview where he reveals what it’s like leading us from the front; how he got into conducting and his musical inspiration.