Vale Winds is a thriving wind band that aims to play good music to a very high standard. The band aims to continually expand repertoire as well as perform several concerts a year. Band members are friendly and hardworking, coming from all walks of life, with playing abilities ranging from Grade 8 to professional standard.
We welcome players of any age who are of this standard; particularly clarinets, horns and percussion. If you are interested you would be welcome to come to one of our rehearsals; just pop over to our contact us page to get in touch.
Meet the Players
Robert Wicks – Musical Director
Robert Wicks was appointed as our conductor in January 2022. He brings a wealth of experience having been the music director for many shows and musicals, and a conductor of other wind bands. He is also an accomplished pianist and accompanist and plays the clarinet.
Robert was born in Northamptonshire. He has worked in many areas of the country working with a wide range of performers, from professional companies to award winning amateur societies. He has worked as a Conductor, Singing Coach, Musical Director and a Musician including several Regional Premieres. As a musician, Robert played with many of the local concert bands and orchestras in Northamptonshire before being relocated to Buckinghamshire in 2004.
In 2013, Robert toured with Talkwood Productions working as Musical Director for a production of A Christmas Carol, The Musical which finished with a 3 week run at The Charing Cross Theatre in London.
When not taking part in musical activities Robert is a doting Father, and enjoys skiing when he can (though preferably not not just before a concert).
Bill Skelton – trombone and Band Chairman
Bill was born in Sheffield and developed an early interest in music, particularly the trombone, which he took up at the age of 11. He swiftly gained proficiency and his emerging talent took him to the New Sheffield Symphony Orchestra aged 15. Bill was always in demand, playing in several Sheffield bands and orchestras, and at tea dances as part of Sheffield City Hall dance band. Following his successful audition for the Syd Lawrence band, he filled trombone slots in many big bands with his expanding professional career taking him from Coventry to Bristol and finally to Blackpool, playing with many stars of the light entertainment world such as Mike Reid, Peters and Lee, Dickie Henderson and Arthur Askey.
His career took a different tack as he joined the RAF Music Services and played in RAF bands for a wide variety of events, including the Royal tournament, the Edinburgh and Berlin tattoos and as a soloist with the Massed Bands of the Royal Air Force during the tour for the Battle of Britain anniversary. He worked in Germany for over three years and served as a medic in the Gulf war.
In 1998 Bill left the RAF and, having gained a performing diploma from the London College of Music, started sharing his passion for music with the next generation, conducting children at the Amersham Music Centre and teaching brass and theory of music at several schools. During this time, Bill also led the BBO (Berks Bucks and Oxon Big Band) for 14 years. He continues to perform regularly with the BBO and a number of other local bands.
Shortly after joining Vale Band we found ourselves without a conductor at short notice, and Bill valiantly stepped into the breach and directed two concerts. He has now happily returned to the back row and his trombone.