Musical Director – Howard Taylor began playing through the Salvation Army in the South West of England. He progressed to become Principal Cornet of the Plymouth Exeter Hall Salvation Army Band and Youth Band conductor at the age of only 17. In 1985 he joined Championship section Bodmin Town Band of Cornwall and soon took up the position of Principal Cornet and Deputy Conductor. In 1993 he led them to three successive South West and Cornish Championships.
In 1997 Howard left the UK and became Musical Director of the Waitakere Band, (TVNZ) Auckland. That year they won two of the three sections at the National Contest and in 1999 were crowned New Zealand National Champion Band winning every stage event, also winning three consecutive New Zealand Entertainment “Band of the Year” titles.
In 2002 Howard was appointed Musical Director of Brisbane Excelsior, Australia. He has led the band to seven State Championship wins, and the Australian National A Grade Championship in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010, missing the 2009 Nats after an invitation to compete at the prestigious British Open in 2009.
Howard also won both the 2007 and 2008 New Zealand National Championship with Excelsior, creating history on both sides of the Tasman with six consecutive victories.
He has also enjoyed contest successes with the St Marys Band, Warratah Brass, Gunnedah Shire and Willoughby Bands.
Howard was appointed Musical Director of The National Band of New Zealand in 2007 and held that position until leaving for the UK in 2010.
After a brief spell in the UK working with The Fairey Band along side Russell Gray, he returned down under as Professional Conductor with the NZ Band of the Year Dalewool Auckland Band.
In 2012, Howard led the Gunnedah Shire Band to victory at the Australian Championships.
He has now returned to Brisbane XLCR as Musical Director, and has recently assisted Professor David King with the first ever National Australian Youth Band. Along with weekend workshops and adjudicating he is also a current playing member of the National Band of Australia.
Michael Purtle has been playing trombone in Brisbane Excelsior Brass Band for a number of years during which time the band has won five A Grade Australian National Band Championships and two consecutive New Zealand A Grade titles. He has toured with the band to Japan, Hong Kong, England as well as the Solomon Islands and brings a world of expertise to Windsor Brass.
Michael is highly involved in community music as well as school music, believing that music is a life long skill and should be pursued after students leave school. He is also the music co-ordinator of Park Ridge State High School, a rapidly rising musical school.