Jon Cranston, Director – Hampshire County Youth Bands
Jon grew up in Hampshire and played tuba in the Hampshire County Youth Bands between 1994 and 1999. In 2003, following graduate and postgraduate studies in which he won awards for solo and ensemble playing, Jon joined Hampshire Music Service (HMS) as a visiting music teacher. Jon joined the staff team of HCYBs in September 2005. Initially, this was as an Endangered Species Tutor, before conducting the Training Band in 2011 and taking on the Directorship of the HCYBs in 2021. Jon worked with the Portchester, Gosport, and Fareham Youth Brass Bands for 12 years and also directed the Gosport and Fareham Youth Orchestras for 10 years. Jon has been part of the HMS Leadership Team since 2009, becoming Deputy Head with responsibility for music in September 2021. Outside of his HMS work, Jon enjoys playing in orchestras and brass ensembles, as well as spending time with his family.
Matt Watling, Conductor – Hampshire County Training Band
Matthew Watling grew up and was raised in Hampshire and became a member of Hampshire County Youth Brass Bands in 2003. Since then, Matthew went on to study the euphonium at the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music, has played in all of the major English brass band competitions and has performed with some of the world’s leading ensembles. In 2018 he decided to follow a teaching career and whilst training was awarded the highest mark for his teaching and the ‘Dean’s list award’ for exceptional ability for his PGCE at Southampton University. Matthew started working with Hampshire Music Service in 2015 and in recent years has become conductor of the Hampshire County Training Band and Director of the Gosport and Fareham Youth Orchestras and Brass bands. Matthew takes great pride in leading the HMS brass and Beyond the Beat teams encouraging students across Hampshire to play brass instruments.
Kiri MacDonald-Jones, Conductor – Hampshire County Junior Band
I auditioned and joined HCYB as a student in September 1999 and left in 2005. I played the flugelhorn for the first time when I joined, which has always remained my favourite brass instrument. I was very proud when I had the opportunity to perform in the Albert Hall with County Band. But my biggest achievements are when we won BBC Radio 2’s Youth Brass Band of the Year and when I had the opportunity to perform a solo to approximately two thousand people at the San Sebastian Jazz Festival, whilst on Tour.
My love for music, especially brass meant I studied a music degree and majored in Trumpet. I decided to take what I had learnt and apply it to becoming a teacher.
I care so much about young people learning music, especially brass and I am so happy and proud to become one of the HCYB conductors and look forward to our musical future together!
Mark Streather, Percussion Tutor
Mark started to learn percussion, brass and recorder from an early age and continued with these during his time in education. Mark studied at King Alfred’s College (now Winchester University) with Ernest Piper and June Boyce-Tillman combined with Trinity College, London, where he obtained LTCL Mus Ed. He has worked for Hampshire Music Service since 1997 and before this he worked for the Caroline Chappell School of Music and at the Elizabeth Foundation for hearing impaired children in Portsmouth teaching in the music studio.
Mark continues his work as a percussion teacher for Hampshire Music service as well as being percussion tutor to the Hampshire County Youth Bands. For 19 years he was Assistant Director of the Hamble Area Youth Bands and then Director of WASO for 7 years.
As a performer, Mark works as a freelance percussionist working in musical theatre, orchestras and brass bands.