We strongly suspect that our Musical Director, Rob Willis, arrived on Earth as part of an interplanetary gap-year. He extended his stay having joined Exeter Children's Orchestra as a young player, developing a love of all things brass. He's currently building a trumpet-shaped spaceship in his garden shed.
"Rob joined ECO whilst in year 10 and has never really left! As a trumpeter, he progressed to 1st Trumpet and brass principal and then, on leaving, returned from university each weekend to tutor the brass section during term time. Except for terms when University Students have come in to take section rehearsals Robert has been a familiar face around the orchestra for over 25 years. In 2015 Richard Bowyer, the Orchestra’s long-standing conductor of over 40 years stood down and Robert was appointed Director of Music – which, as he says, is a hard act to follow.
Robert’s musical experience extends to handbell ringing where he conducts the 5-Octave team Ockment Valley Ringers and plays in the family group Tor Bells. He’s been ringing and directing since he was 15 and has conducted ringers at well over 100 events locally, regionally, nationally and has presented workshops at international symposia in the UK and in Canada. Robert also served 8 years as Chairman of the SW Region of the Handbell Ringers of Great Britain."