MCBB Conductor


Gordon Ward, Interim Conductor

Gordon was born in Hull, Yorkshire, England and started learning the cornet at age 6 with his father. After attending the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester he was employed as a brass teacher and conductor of the Hull Youth Concert Band. He also attended the University of Hull and gained a post graduate certificate in education.

He was offered the position as Director of Music for the Salvation Army for New York in 1980 and emigrated to the USA on New Year’s Eve of that year. He became the conductor of the Greater New York Youth Band and oversaw the music programs in 30 centers as well as extensive summer camps and conservatories at the famous Star Lake Camp. Under his musical direction the GNY Youth Band undertook tours throughout the USA, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Italy, Spain, Holland and the UK.

Gordon was appointed as a member of the New York Staff Band and became principal cornet for over 25 years. During that time he gained a master's degree in trumpet performance and featured on numerous recordings and tours throughout the world. He was also privileged to have solos written for him by Brian Bowen, William Broughton, Stephen Bulla, David Catherwood, Terry Camsey and Peter Graham. He has had the opportunity to play with the New York Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic Brass and the Canadian Brass and has been a guest conductor at summer music schools/camps through the USA, the UK, Argentina, Chile, Italy and Spain.

In 2019 after leaving New York he moved to Michigan residing in Northville he was asked to become President of the Five Lakes Silver band and became a playing member of that band. He also joined the Royal Oak Salvation Army Band as principal cornet and the Eastern Michigan Divisional Band. Gordon assumed the Interim Conductor position with Motor City Brass Band in January 2022.


Craig Strain, Music Director Emeritus

Motor City Brass Band was fortunate to have Craig Strain as its Musical Director and Conductor from the band's inception in 1996. Craig received a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Performance and Political Science and a Bachelor of Music Education as well as a Masters Degree in Music Composition and Trumpet from Eastern Michigan University. Following an extensive career in teaching which included high school, community college and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Craig is currently performing and arranging music, owner and operator of a 24 track digital recording studio, directing and/or leading several musical organizations.

In 1996 when this fledgling band concluded its second rehearsal one of the tuba players, a friend of Craig’s, invited him to rehearse the band. By the end of the session the affinity between the musicians and Craig was evident and he was asked to be the Music Director and Conductor. Since then he has played a vital role in the band’s growth. There has been growth in membership and, because of Craig's understanding of the musical and technical capabilities of brass instruments and his experience as a brass performer, teacher, arranger, and conductor, he has taken Motor City Brass Band to ever higher levels of musicianship and performance.

A prolific arranger for many genres, his clients include drum and bugle corps, marching bands, brass quintets, brass bands, (many of these for Motor City Brass Band), orchestras, professional and school jazz bands, and national as well as local acts and bands. For more about Craig's arrangements and other musical organizations go to