Musical Directors

Matt Toomata (Nor'west Brass)

Originally from Southland, low-brass specialist Matt Toomata has been the Musical Director of Nor’west Brass since 2020.

Matt learnt to play the tuba at high school in Invercargill and was soon selected as a player in the National Secondary Schools Band, and later the National Youth Brass Band. After moving to Dunedin to attend the University of Otago, Matt also began a long association with both St Kilda Brass and the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra and still occasionally performs with both ensembles. At Otago Matt studied performance euphonium alongside commerce.

After moving to Christchurch in 2014, Bill & Adrian convinced Matt to join the then brand-new Nor’west Brass as a player-mentor. Matt has subsequently held several positions in Nor’west Brass as a player, committee member, and now conductor. He has also been a member of the tuba section of Woolston Brass since 2015. 

Lately, Matt has featured frequently as an adjudicator at the local Canterbury Provincial Brass Band Association (CPBBA), Otago Southland Brass Bands Association (OSBBA) and Brass Band Association of New Zealand (BBANZ) contests. In addition to Nor’west Brass, Matt is also the Musical Director of the CPBBA Youth Band Camp for 2022 & 2023.

Nicholas Scott (Nor'west Zephyrs)

Nic’s chaotic and unusual musical path started when his Year One teacher had an accident and was replaced by the conductor of the local brass band.  Toronto Brass (NSW) gave Nic his start in music-making and from there he eagerly branched out into various community wind bands, big bands, and orchestras.

After high school Nic fell in with a rough band of musical vagrants and traveled Australia playing Balkan Klezmer fusion music at a variety of music venues, festivals, and parties.

Unsure of what to do next, Nic dabbled with other career pathways before an opportunity led to him touring China playing Mozart with Australian International Productions.

Firmly back on the musical track, Nic joined the New Zealand Army Band and relocated to Christchurch.

Currently Nic is Principal Tuba in The New Zealand Army Band, The New Zealand National Band, and Wellington Brass. Nic also does casual work for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO), Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (CSO), and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO), and conducts the Nor’West Zephyrs.

Alannah Vail (Nor'west Cyclones)

Bill Vail (Nor'west 4Bs)

Bill started playing the Tenor Horn at the age of 9 on the South Coast of England. He played in the Hampshire County Youth Band through his teenage years moving up the ranks to attain the position of Principal Horn. His time there culminated with the band winning the title of Champion Youth Brass Band of Great Britain at the Royal Albert Hall in 1983.

Bill moved to Leeds in 1986 to follow a career in the Electronics Industry. This move to the heart of the banding world afforded many valuable opportunities which led to a position as a soloist in the Yorkshire Imperial Band. During his time with this band it was ranked number 2 amongst some big named bands in the Yorkshire area, and around sixth in the Brass Band World rankings.

In 1995 Bill moved to New Zealand and has since held positions of principal horn and deputy director for the Addington and Woolston bands as well as playing horn for the National Brass Band of New Zealand in 2003, 2005, 2014 & 2016. Bill won the NZ Open Horn title in 2001 and has followed this up with nine New Zealand and one Australian national second placings. Currently, Bill enjoys playing in Nor'west Brass as well as working with his daughter, Alannah, to give our new players a great start in ensemble playing.