HE may have only just turned 19 – but when Chris Grabham raises his baton, men and women old enough to be his grandparents do exactly what he says.

Chris has just become the new bandmaster for Wiveliscombe Town Band and in July the public saw him in action for the first time as music played on a perfect summer afternoon at the town’s church fete.

Chris takes on his new role with a healthy record of musical experience already behind him, including being assistant conductor for Taunton Deane Male Voice Choir since January last year.

“There are not many professions where you can wave a stick as a job, I found I love it,” he said.

Chris was always very interested in music, studied it at school and was heavily involved with the orchestra, so it was inevitable he would do an A level in music when he studied at Richard Huish College in Taunton.

“I realised this is what I wanted to do longterm and not just as a hobby,” said Chris, who plays instruments himself including orchestral percussion, the double bass, keyboard, organ and piano.

While at the college he composed a rock opera for 40 piece orchestra and a choir, wrote special pieces which sometimes involved professional players, and conducted their orchestra.

He now works as a music technician in two Taunton secondary schools and as well as composing for their orchestras and choirs, he also conducts there.

Chris has conducted a host of school orchestras and bands, composed and produced his own music, and has now also just become musical director for Wellington Pantomime Group’s next production.

“I’ve never done pantomime before, so that will be a very interesting new direction,” he said.

He was deterred from going to university because of the cost, so decided to get work experience and make sure music was really what he wanted to follow.

Now he aims to spend at least another year working while he considers whether to pursue music even more seriously and go on to study further.

Although his parents do not play music they have always been very supportive, Chris said, and both his sister and brother play a number of instruments too.

He had piano lessons from the age of four and went to stage school at the age of five.

“I’m not sure where my love of music came from but it has certainly been nurtured by my parents’ support,” he said.