Meet the Conductors


Assistant Conductor Bruce Gatchell

Music Director

Bruce Gatchell – Music Director and Conductor

Bruce Gatchell has served as Assistant Conductor for the Strafford Wind Symphony since 1999 and became the SWS’s Music Director in 2013. Mr. Gatchell, a graduate of Keene State College, received a Ford Fellowship Teaching Assistantship under Stanley Hettinger at the University of New Hampshire before beginning his musical education career in Rochester as director of instrumental music, followed by fifteen years in the Concord Union School District as vocal and instrumental director at Concord High School. He has also served at Plymouth State College as adjunct professor of low applied brass, and as the interim director of the Symphonic Band. In addition, Mr. Gatchell has served 29 years as a teacher, conductor, and head counselor for the University of New Hampshire Summer Youth Music School (SYMS).

Now retired after fifteen years as instrumental music teacher in the Epping Public Schools, he continues as Music Director for the Leddy Center for the Performing Arts’ Broadway Musical productions. Mr. Gatchell brings with him a wealth of conducting experience with specialty bands throughout the Northeast at the junior high, high school, and collegiate level.



J Smith Photo Jeffrey Smith – Assistant Conductor

Jeffrey Smith earned his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Music Education from Western Connecticut    State University, with numerous additional graduate credits from University of Bridgeport, Massachusetts College, New England College, and Fitchburg State University.  Mr. Smith taught in Norwalk, CT Public Schools for thirty–five years, where he served as Chairperson of Music and Art at Norwalk High School.  Mr. Smith also taught at Western Connecticut State University, conducted the Darien (CT) Community Band, conducted the Strafford Band at this summer’s University of New Hampshire’s SYMS, and is currently University of New Hampshire Wildcat Marching Band drill designer.

During his tenure as a music educator, Mr. Smith received numerous awards including Norwalk High School Alumni Association Wall of Honor Recipient, twice Connecticut Secondary Music Educator of the Year (1991 and 2010), CMEA Student Affairs Commission Award; Western Connecticut State University Alumni Band Director of the Year, Norwalk High School Wall of Fame, and more.  His Norwalk High School performing groups consistently received superior ratings on the nationally competitive level.

Mr. Smith is a member of the many national music educator associations including the National Association for Music Education.  He served as Connecticut Music Educators Association’s Western Region Director, Student Affairs Commission Chairperson, and President.  Mr. Smith regularly guest conducts on the middle and high school levels.  He serves as Judge Coordinator for Musical Arts Conference and as clinician for Cavalcade of Bands, CMEA, and Musical Arts Conference.  Mr. Smith is an active music arranger and marching band drill and visual designer.

Mr. Smith plays clarinet and Eb clarinet in Strafford Wind Symphony as well as several other area ensembles.