Introducing our new Musical Director, Annie Wilkins

Here at Otley Brass Band, we are really lucky to have an amazing group of people around us. Our players and our community make us who we are and we are so excited to welcome our new Musical Director, Annie Wilkins, to the Otley Band Community.

We caught up with Annie to hear her plans for the band and find out a little bit more about what brought her to banding.

I’m Annie and I’m originally from Northamptonshire, but I moved up north 4 years ago to study music at the University of Leeds. Now that I’ve graduated, I’m a peripatetic teacher with North Yorkshire Music Service.

How did you get into music? What instruments did you learn first and what instrument(s) do you play or specialise in?

I first started playing music in primary school, where I had violin lessons (not something I’m proud of!).

I started playing brass at secondary school, mainly so I could sit next to my best friend in orchestra, and I’ve never looked back! My main instrument is the euphonium, and I currently play with Rothwell Temperance Band.

What led you to conducting?

I had the opportunity to conduct the music society concert band in 2019, and I really enjoyed being able to share my musical ideas and contribute to the running of the society. In my final year I conducted the university brass band, including competing (and winning!) at Unibrass, which was a lot of fun and really made me want to keep conducting.

What made you want to join OBB as Musical Director?

I wanted to keep up my conducting after I graduated, and the way OBB combine a high standard of playing, whilst still maintaining a friendly and inclusive attitude really appealed to me.

What is it about brass bands that you enjoy over other ensembles?

I think the full, blended sound a band can make is something really special that other ensembles can’t quite match. The social side of banding is also great, especially being able to make friends with people from other backgrounds and age groups.

Do you have a particular genre of music, particular composers or arrangers that you like?

It’s definitely good to play lots of different music, and I enjoy a good hymn tune setting as much as pop song arrangements. And of course, I like being nerdy and getting stuck into a test piece as well! 

What are you most looking forward to doing/sharing with OBB?

I’m really looking forward to getting to know everyone properly and becoming part of the band, as well as creating space for newer players to develop (and hopefully also improving along the way!)

Having been with OBB for a few weeks, how are you enjoying your new position?

I’m really enjoying conducting OBB so far; everyone in the band has been so welcoming and it’s been fun picking out rep for our next concert.

How would you summarise the band in 3 words?

Enthusiastic, welcoming, fun!

What positive change, if any, would you most like to see in the banding world?

I’d really like to see more diversity, especially amongst the top-level bands; gender balance has improved a bit in the last few years, but there’s still a long way to go!

You can see Annie and Otley Brass Band at our upcoming concert with the Royal British Legion. The concert is at The Bridge United Reformed Church, Otley, LS21 1RW on Saturday 29th October at 7.30pm. We look forward to sharing an evening of remembrance with you.

We welcome new players throughout the year so do get in touch if you would like to find out more about Otley Brass Band. Email us at: