Robert Thurston is a former high-school band director and the former Chief Arranger-Composer for the United States Air Force Band, Washington, D.C. He joined the Prince William Community Band as a percussionist in 2014 and was named principal conductor in 2016.
Bob has been composing and arranging music professionally since 1980—including a 20-year career with the Air Force’s premiere musical organization—and has written for ensembles of all kinds and sizes, in a wide variety of styles and genres. He has several published school-band pieces to his credit, and he has written commissioned works at every level from 6th-grade beginners through professionals. His duet arrangement of “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” written for cello virtuoso Yo Yo Ma and ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro, appears on Ma’s 2008 CD Songs of Joy and Peace.
A native of Tallahassee, Florida, Bob earned degrees in music education from Florida State University, where he also studied arranging and composition with Charles Carter. He taught high school bands in Florida and Ohio for five years before enlisting in the Air Force in 1994.