Musical Director and Principal Conductor - Mr Stephen O'Doherty

Stephen has been playing in, conducting, teaching, leading and writing for community music groups continually since 1972.

Stephen began a long association with bands when, as a beginning clarinettist in Year 7 at Carlingford High School, he was asked to join a newly established community band.

The year was 1972, the invitation from Victor Grieve and the band was the Hornsby Concert Band (later the Golden Kangaroos), which Vic had founded in 1970.

Starting on 3rd Clarinet, over a 15 year period Stephen progressed to Solo Clarinet, Bandmaster and an Assistant Conductor. He regularly compered the Band’s many performances, played in small ensembles including a jazz band, gave solo performances, conducted rehearsals, concert items and band performances, served on the committee, and wrote an original composition for the Band.

In 2009 Stephen returned to the Golden Kangaroos (Hornsby Concert Band) as a guest conductor. He was appointed as Musical Director and Principal Conductor in 2010.

Stephen has founded and conducted a number of school bands. He founded and is currently directing the Pacific Hills Christian School Concert Band.

From 1986 – 1989 Stephen was the founding Musical Director of the Jersey St Wind Ensemble, which specialised in concert performances of wind music, usually with one player per desk.

He has written original works and arrangements for both bands and choirs.

Stephen is an active church member, and has regularly been involved in church and worship music.

Stephen continues to enjoy playing clarinet, alto and soprano sax. He enjoys playing in concert band, jazz ensembles and worship groups. 

Stephen is grateful for his involvement in the band during his formative years, and sees a major ongoing role for community music organisations such as the Golden Kangaroos.

“Outside parents and school, Hornsby Concert Band was my single biggest influence on during my development through adolescence and into adulthood,” Stephen said recently.

“It provided opportunities to grow in so many ways – as a musician, as a performer, communicator, as a member of a fun, safe community, and in leadership and teaching roles.

“These were great years. My experiences as an HCB member without doubt were foundational to most of the things I have done since - in both professional and community activities.  

“I have immense gratitude for those key figures who founded and sustained the band. Vic Grieve was, both for me and probably thousands of others, a valued role model and mentor.

“I am also thankful to other senior musicians and conductors of the period who passed on their skills, including Alan Mewitt and Mike Butcher.

“The efforts of committee members – in those days usually parents of band members, including my father Ron – were wonderful exemplars of community service.

“The high standards of musicianship attained, the values of service and community involvement and the sheer fun of sharing great times in a safe community of fellow musicians - these are the ideals that I remain committed to as the Musical Director of this great organisation.”

Personal and professional

Stephen is married to Georgina, who he met through the Jersey St Wind Ensemble (one of eight marriages between members of that group!). They have two children – James and Daniel. Both have been involved in music. The family lives in Dural in Sydney’s north.

Stephen’s professional life has involved public policy, education and media.

From 1981 – 1992 Stephen was a prominent broadcaster and journalist in radio and TV, the largest proportion of which was spent at 2GB as an on-air current affairs journalist and presenter of the Sundown Rundown.

From 1992 – 2002 Stephen was a member of the NSW Parliament, serving as Member for Ku-ring-gai, and (after a redistribution) Member for Hornsby.  Stephen served as a member of the Shadow Cabinet from 1995 - 2002, holding the portfolios Shadow Minister for Education, Shadow Minister for Community Services and Shadow Treasurer.

In 2002 he resigned from the Parliament to become the inaugural CEO of Christian Schools Australia, a peak group representing around 140 independent christian schools Australia-wide.

Stephen has degrees in Media Communications and Educational Leadership.

Community engagement

Stephen has served on many boards and committees of community organisations.

Stephen currently chairs the Board of Hope Media Ltd, the nonprofit organisation behind Hope 1032, Sydney’s Christian FM station.

Stephen is Patron and serves on the management committee of Studio ARTES (Northside), which provides employment training and community engagement for people with disabilities, based in Hornsby.