Our Conductor

Bruce Houston has directed bands and orchestras in the public schools of Massachusetts for the past 35+ years. Mr. Houston holds degrees from Syracuse University, Harvard University, and Southern Oregon University. He recently began Advanced Graduate Study in Conducting at Southern Oregon University’s American Band College.

As a bass trombonist, Mr. Houston has performed with the Concord (MA) Orchestra, Boston Jazz Orchestra, Sabby Lewis Big Band, Claudio Roditi/Mark Harvey All-Stars Big Band, Metropolitan Wind Symphony (Boston), Bay Colony Brass Ensemble, and the New England Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also toured with the U. S. Army 5th Division Band. 

 Mr. Houston has studied conducting at workshops under the batons of Frederick Fennell, Robert Ponto, Alfred Reed, Karel Husa, Francis McBeth, Donald Matran, Mike Bankhead, Philippe Langlet, Claude Pichaureau, and Tim Lautzenheiser.  

Mr. Houston is a member of Massachusetts Music Educators Association, Music Educators National Conference, International Association of Jazz Educators, and the National Band Association.

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Previous Conductors

James O'Dell

Mr O'Dell conducted our performances from 2003 through 2004 He has been professionally active in instrumental music and music education for the past twenty-four years. Mr. O'Dell holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Southern Oregon University (1978), a Master of Music in Tuba, Euphonium, and Bass Trombone Performance from the University of Oregon (1983), and doctoral studies at Arizona State University (1983-84). Mr. O’Dell is currently the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs at The Boston Conservatory, a post he assumed after a nine-year tenure as Director of the Conservatory’s Music Division. 

Mr. O'Dell’s previous full-time faculty appointments include Director of Bands at Boston University (MA), Mansfield University (PA), and Phoenix College (AZ). His adjunct appointments include Lecturing Professor and Director of the Festival Jazz Ensemble at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MA), jazz and applied faculty at the Rivers Music School (MA), graduate teaching fellow at the University of Oregon, and applied faculty at Lane Community College (OR). He has taught in the Oregon public schools as Director of Bands and Elementary Music Teacher (Eagle Point and Phoenix OR), and more recently, as Supervisor of Instrumental Music for the Chelsea Public Schools (Boston University/Chelsea Partnership). 

A distinguished and versatile educator, conductor, and musician, his collegiate conducting tenures have included marching, pep, concert, and jazz bands, wind ensemble and brass ensemble. He is founder of the New England Collegiate Jazz Festival, Boston TubaChristmas, and cofounder of the Boston Tuba Quartet and The Brass Consortium. 

As a tubist he has toured, recorded, and performed with the Ken Shaphorst Big Band, True Colors Big Band, Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra, Darrel Katz Jazz Orchestra, Greg Hopkins Nonet, the Boston Globe Repertory Jazz Orchestra (Gunther Schuller, conductor), Orange Then Blue, and as soloist with the Harvard Summer Band. He has been a member of the faculty brass quintets at the University of Oregon and Mansfield University (PA), and principal tuba with the Eugene Symphony Orchestra. A low brass doubler on bass trombone and euphonium, he has performed with the Rogue Valley Symphony, Ashland Summer Band, Starlighters Swing Orchestra, and the Eugene Symphony Brass Trio. 

Within New England, Mr. O'Dell is past President and Vice-President of the New England College Band Association (NECBA), and on the executive board of IAJE/MA unit as the jazz composition contest chairman. He has remained active as guest conductor, adjudicator, and clinician for NESBA, MENC, MICA, MMEA, NYSMA, Rhode Island Music Educators Association, Maine Music Educators Association, Performing Arts Consultants, and Music Festivals. He is an honorary member of Phi Kappa Lambda, Kappa Kappa Psi, and Tau Beta Sigma, and an active member and faculty advisor of Phi Mu Alpha. His national and state associations include CBDNA, MMEA, MENC, IAJE, and NECBA.


Larry Isaacson
Mr Isaacson conducted our performances from 1999 through 2003. He is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Music, his trombone teachers were Frank Crisafulli and Arnold Jacobs.. He has studied at the Academy of Conducting at Aspen under Maestros David Zinman, Muray Sidlin and Jorma Panula. He has studied at workshops under such masters of the podium as Michael Tilson Thomas, Christopher Wilkins, Larry Rachief, Daniel Lewis and Simon Rattle.

As a trombonist, Mr. Isaacson has been heard worldwide in concert and on recordings with such ensembles as the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, Detroit Symphony, Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Symphony and the Empire Brass Quintet. He is also Music Director of the Barrington (RI) Pops Orchestra, the All Newton Music School Chamber Orchestra and the Old South Brass Ensemble. Other ensembles he has led include the Marlboro Symphony (MA), Boston Conservatory Repertory Orchestra, the IAP Symphony and Chamber Orchestras at the Massachusetts Institue of Technology and the Harvard University Wind Ensemble. A champion of new music, he has commissioned new works by Daniel Pinkham, Kevin Kaska, and Roshanne Etezady. 

Mr. Isaacson's current (at the time) teaching duties include a faculty position at the Boston Conservatory of Music, where he teaches trombone and is Chair of the Brass and Woodwind department.

David Wayne Baily

Mr Baily conducted our performances from 1993 through 1998. A graduate of Eastman School of Music and Boston Conservatory, he served on the faculty of the Boston Conservatory for several years. 

He was a composer/arranger for the Air Force Field Bands and arranged much of the music for the bicentennial celebration. He has guest conducted concerts in Yugoslavia, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

Previous ensembles led include the Torrington Civic Orchestra, Framingham Symphony, Northwestern Connecticut Concert Band, and Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble. 

James Babbin

Mr. Babbin conducted our performances from 1987 through 1992. He received a Bachelor of Music from the University of Lowell and has completed graduate work in conducting and performance. He was a playing member of our band for five years before becoming its conductor. He has conducted in several Massachusetts school systems including Medway Public Schools.