Motor City Brass Band Introduces Gordon Ward as New Music Director

Motor City Brass Band (MCBB), a 30-piece British-style brass ensemble based in Southfield, Michigan, is pleased to introduce Gordon Ward as its new Music Director and Conductor, preserving a long-standing tradition of providing innovative musical entertainment in Southeast Michigan and beyond.

Only the second Music Director in MCBB’s 26-year history, succeeding Music Director Emeritus Craig Strain, Ward assumes leadership of MCBB after a long and distinguished career. Born in Hull, Yorkshire, England, Ward started learning cornet at age six with his father. After attending the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, he became a brass teacher and conductor of the Hull Youth Concert Band. He also attended the University of Hull, earning a post graduate certificate in education.

He was offered the position as Director of Music for the Salvation Army for New York in 1980. Emigrating to the USA on New Year’s Eve of that year, he became the conductor of the Greater New York Youth Band. Ward also served for over 25 years as a member and principal cornet of the New York Staff Band. During that time, he gained a master's degree in trumpet performance and was featured on numerous recordings and tours throughout the world. He has had the opportunity to play with the New York Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic Brass, and the Canadian Brass.

After leaving New York in 2019, he moved to Northville, Michigan, and joined the Five Lakes Silver Band, led by his son, Christopher Ward, where he became a playing member as well as the band's President. He also joined the Royal Oak Salvation Army Band as principal cornet and the Eastern Michigan Divisional Band. Ward assumed the Interim Conductor position with Motor City Brass Band in January 2022, and last week accepted the permanent position as Music Director and Conductor.

“After leading MCBB for five months as interim conductor, I was thrilled to be offered the permanent position as Music Director and Conductor,” said Gordon, following last Sunday’s concert The Music of John Williams in Dearborn. “Members of the band have worked very hard to achieve success at the recent North American Brass Band Championships and I look forward to the coming months, achieving new musical heights in southeast Michigan and beyond.”

Michigan bands are no strangers to the British Brass Band tradition of competition and have done very well. Michigan was well represented in April at the North American Brass Band Championships in Huntsville, Alabama. Led by Gordon Ward, Motor City Brass Band placed at the top of its section, taking First Place in the Second Section. Five Lakes Silver Band, led by the younger Ward, placed Second in the First Section, and Oakland University Brass Band, led by Dr. Kenneth Kroesche, placed Third in the First Section. Motor City Academy Band, led by MCBB’s Bona Opatich, placed First in the Open Section of the competition.

In addition to playing festivals and events throughout southeast Michigan, Motor City Brass Band has a three-concert series for 2022-2023 that will lead off with its annual Horns & Howls concert on Sunday, October 16, at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center in Dearborn. Tickets will be available soon; visit MCBB at for more about upcoming performances.

Sponsors keep the British Brass Band tradition alive. Individuals and organizations interested in sponsoring this award-winning entertainment powerhouse are welcome to contact for more information.