Stakeholder Board

In 2016, Wiltshire Council and Arts Council England (our major funder) agreed a governance model which delegated decision making powers about strategic coordination of music provision for children and young people to our stakeholder ‘board’.

The Board includes a range of suitably skilled stakeholders to whom the Wiltshire Music Connect team will be accountable. Wiltshire Council remains the ‘accountable’ body for funders and remains the employer of the small Wiltshire Music Connect team.

The Board is a key to the new landscape Wiltshire Music Connect is helping to build – anticipating changes across the sectors in which it works.

It’s also a clear commitment to accountability and one of our over-arching outcomes, “Stakeholder engagement”

It was developed following sessions in autumn 2015 to which a wide range of people, including Associates of Wiltshire Music Connect, were invited.

Stakeholder Board members

Tony Spath (Chair – Following a career as a music recording engineer and producer, Tony joined Dolby Laboratories in 1985. After 28 years in a variety of sales and marketing roles, he left from the role of Vice-President, Business Development. He played a central role in introducing Dolby technology to the music and home video (DVD) businesses in Europe and Asia, the film industries in India and China, and the first broadcast services to include the now ubiquitous 5.1 surround sound in Europe and China. When in 2005 Dolby received an Emmy award for technology from the US Academy of TV Arts and Sciences, Tony was named in the citation. Tony has a degree in music from the University of Surrey. He currently sings with two chamber groups and is organist at Aldbourne Parish Church. Now retired, he spends two days a week in local schools as a volunteer teaching assistant and works as a Mentor for the Prince’s Trust with young people starting new businesses.


Emma North is currently Head of Music at Kingdown, a mixed secondary school and sixth form in Warminster, after starting her teaching career at Sheldon School in Chippenham. Having benefited from a rich and high quality musical education herself, Emma is passionate about ensuring that all children have access to high quality musical activities and opportunities that will enrich their lives as allow them to pursue their talents into a career should they choose. Emma graduated from Bath Spa University in 2005 specialising in music performance and has continued to perform in and around the Bath area as a soprano in Noctis Chamber Choir and as deputy conductor of The Bath Chorus.


Jo French is Headteacher of Box Primary School. Music has always been very important to Jo and after playing in numerous orchestras, wind bands and recorder ensembles while she was at school she went on to do a B.Ed (Hons) with music. Box is a musical school and does over 70 music lessons a week; the school has a choir and orchestra that both performed in the Midsomerset Festival this year and are often invited to perform at other local events. Large musical projects frequently feature in the school’s curriculum and this year pupils have taken part in a ‘Growing Music’ project with the WOMAD Foundation, Singing Together 2016 a singing project with BBC radio and children in key stage two have spent a year working with Kate Courage to write and compose music for a production of The Pied Piper. Jo teaches the recorder to all pupils in Year 4 as part of the wider opportunities music programme, regularly plays the piano in assemblies and plays the flute in the Trowbridge Symphony Orchestra.


Julia Drake is a parent representative on the board of Wiltshire Music Connect.


Maud Saint-Sardos is the young Chief Executive of the Wiltshire Music Centre (WMC), a 300-seat concert hall, Creative Learning and community centre located in Bradford on Avon and working across Wiltshire and beyond. Maud joined WMC in July 2017 after gradually switching careers from the banking world, where she spent more than 10 years in roles as Auditor, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Project Manager across the world. Four years ago she worked part-time at BNP Paribas whilst managing the young Faust Chamber Orchestra and working for established music festival, the Peasmarsh Chamber Music Festival. Having learnt the piano from age 5, Maud is a keen singer – she sang with the London Symphony Chorus from 2010 to 2017 – and has always been an ardent advocate of the power of music to inspire and transform lives.


Nick Howdle Prior to leading Wiltshire Music Connect on a full time basis, Nick was Manager of Wiltshire Music Service. His professional experience over the last 20 years has covered a broad range of organisations and settings within and beyond the arts & music. He’s backed this extensive experience up by undertaking CPD on an ongoing basis including training in facilitation and effective campaigning. Nick is a former Director of Programmes at Youth Music where he led the development of The Youth Music Programme linked to the National Plan for Music Education. He is a former Director of Sound Connections and served on the Music Manifesto Partnership & Advocacy Group, Music Education Council (MEC) Executive and the Mayor of London’s Music Education Steering Group – in doing so he contributed to the key thinking that informed the National Plan for Music Education. When he gets a chance, Nick also writes and plays songs.


Nigel Evans is a parent representative on the board of Wiltshire Music Connect.  At school, he learnt trumpet and later French horn, playing in school and regional youth orchestras and wind bands.  While at university, he performed in several brass ensembles and with the university orchestra; he also founded a non-auditioning concert band to give a wider number of instrumentalists the chance to play for enjoyment.  Nigel has a PhD in Applied Physics from the University of Durham, and subsequently followed a senior management career in high-technology R&D, sales and marketing.


Rob Priestley is in his fortieth enthusiastic year of instrumental teaching and youth ensemble directing, with more than that of playing trombone professionally. He has taught, and conducted/tutored ensembles, from beginner to advanced level, set the music for two ABRSM Trombone syllabuses, and been involved in the Music Medals series, as well as working with several other music publishers. In Music Service management, he has been an Assistant Head of Wiltshire Music Service, Deputy Head of Coventry Performing Arts Service and Regional Head of Berkshire Young Musicians Trust. He is now one of the directors of the Salisbury Area Music Co-operative.


Russ Tunney is the director of Pounds Arts who work across all art forms in Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire. He is passionate about using the arts to make extraordinary things happen in everyday places. Russ is also a theatre director and playwright. He was Associate Director of the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton for ten years where he wrote, produced and directed over 40 plays. His  work has been produced by many theatres in the UK including Salisbury Playhouse, Theatre Royal Bath, Theatr Clwyd, Chester Gateway Theatre, Yvonne Arnaud Guildford and the National Theatre as well as touring or being produced internationally.