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Meet our Conductors

Andrew Mathers - Concert Band Conductor

Dr. Andrew Mathers

Conductor - Southern Area Concert Band

Andrew grew up in a family of musicians, where both his parents were singers. Andrew admits "failed attempts at piano and guitar" but he played several other instruments and developed an interest in conducting during his high school years. Andrew's tertiary education began with a Bachelor of Education in music from the Melbourne College of Advanced Education. He then traveled to the United States to pursue a Master of Music Education degree in instrumental conducting at Florida State University. While studying there, he trained under James Croft and Rodney Eichenberger, focusing on instrumental and choral conducting, respectively. Upon his return to Australia, Andrew pursued his passion for music further and earned a Ph.D. from Monash University. In addition to lecturing in Conducting and Applied Music at Monash University, he taught as an adjunct faculty member at the School of Music - Conservatorium. Andrew is currently Head of Ensemble Music at St Kevin's College, Melbourne.

Catherine Bates

Conductor - Southern Area Wind Band

A classroom and instrumental music teacher for over a decade, Catherine has a passion for conducting and is thrilled to have taken up the post of Southern Area Wind Band Conductor. 


In addition to conducting many school instrumental and vocal ensembles, first at Trinity College Colac, then Nhill P-12 College, followed by Firbank Grammar School, Catherine has also strayed into the realms of being Musical Director for large community theatre groups such as Horsham Arts Council, Vocal Director of Piggery Lane Players (Nhill), and conductor of Sing Australia – Nhill. 


At the start of 2024, Catherine started a new adventure as Head of Instrumental Music at St Helena Secondary College in Eltham North, where she currently teaches classroom music, is the double reed and vocal teacher, conducts three concert bands and the choir, and is MD for the school musical.


 She is a committee member of Australian Choral Conductors’ Education and Training, and, in her spare time, enjoys playing netball as a goal keeper, being tall and somewhat lazy when it comes to running!

Person Playing Bassoon

Drew Wright

Leader - Southern Stars Stage Band

Drew Wright assumed the position of SSSB Leader in 2018 when his father, Darryn Wright, who was previously the Musical Director, passed away. Drew has been interested in music since he was five, starting with the piano and the flute two years later. However, his love for jazz and big band music was sparked when he learned to play the saxophone at thirteen. Drew has played the tenor and baritone saxophone in various big and jazz bands, performing in some of Melbourne's premier venues and festivals. He has also played the woodwinds in pit orchestras for numerous musical theater productions.

In 2012, Drew founded "Willow Jam," a souls/blues band that performs at weddings and corporate functions in Melbourne and Victoria. With his passion for big band jazz music, Drew plans to take the SSSB to new heights, hoping to make it one of Victoria's top community big bands.  His aim is to elevate the group's profile and showcase the beauty of big band jazz to a wider audience.

Our Committee

The band's committee is responsible for behind-the-scenes administration and organisation of the band, performances and other activities.

Committee members are elected each year at the AGM around April.


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