Wesley M. David Bradford
Wesley (Wes) Bradford, a French horn player, conductor, and singer, has taught for over a decade at the academy level. He is also active as a performer, often singing as a soloist and serving as principal horn player in several ensembles for nearly twenty years.
Wes was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, one of four children of Stephen L. Bradford and Debra R. Windh. Although Wes lived with his stepfather and mother during his childhood, he had meaningful contact with his father, a singer and player of gospel music. While he did not take lessons as a child, he developed a love of music and an admiration for musicians at this time.
Like his twin sisters, Lisha and Lana, he attended Auburn Adventist Academy. Their musical talent had impressed band director Brandon Beck, and when Wes enrolled at the school, Beck encouraged him to try an instrument. One of his sisters loaned him a trumpet and in a short while, under the tutelage of Beck, he was playing in that section of the band. In his second year, Beck introduced him to the French horn, and it immediately became obvious he was a gifted natural on the instrument. By that fall he was playing well enough to win a chair in All-State Band.
Wes played principal horn in the band during the rest of his time at AAA and in his senior year was offered a performance scholarship by La Sierra University. He had been inspired by his work under Beck and the affirmation provided by the scholarship led him to decide to pursue a career in music. Following graduation in 1995, he enrolled at LSU as a horn performance major and played principal horn in the LSU Wind Ensemble under the direction of Barbara Favorito.
In 1996 he transferred to Southern Adventist University, where he enrolled as a music education major after taking woodwind methods class. During his time at SAU, he studied horn with Gordon James and was principal horn in the orchestra, conducted by Orlo Gilbert, and band under Pat Silver, during her final year before retirement. He then played under her successor and his former academy band director, Brandon Beck. He also studied voice with James Hanson and Julie Boyd Penner.
By the end of the 1999-2000 school year, Wes had completed most of his degree and accepted a position teaching all aspects of music at Gem State Academy in Idaho. Prior to this time he had started dating Tanya McCreery, a piano major at SAU who was the accompanist in his voice lessons and also a member of the percussion section in both the band and orchestra.
After attending Walla Walla College, now University, for a quarter, she transferred to Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. Following Wes's graduation from SAU in 2001, he accepted a position as band director at Auburn Adventist Academy, close to Tacoma. They married in January 2002, and she graduated from PLU the following winter.
For the next six years he worked full-time conducting the band and teaching band instruments and strings at the academy and nearby Buena Vista Elementary school. While at AAA, he completed an M.Mus.Ed. at Vandercook College of Music in Illinois. Tanya also worked part-time in the academy music program, assisting him with the band, teaching piano, accompanying the choir under the direction of John Neumann, and playing harp for special events.
During their time at AAA, the Bradfords had three sons, Benjamin, Daniel, and Timothy. In 2008, Wes accepted a position at Avalon Adventist Junior Academy in Canada, to serve as principal, direct the band, and teach classroom guitar and physical education. In December of that year Tanya was diagnosed with cancer at an advanced stage, and Wesley resigned in January so that he could accompany her as they pursued different treatments. Her family, who lived nearby, provided ample support and helped with the children. In spite of heroic efforts to restore her health, she succumbed to the disease on December 4, 2009, at age thirty.
After teaching during the 2010-2011 school year at Collegedale Adventist Middle School and A.W. Spalding Elementary School in Tennessee, Wes accepted a position teaching music at nearby Bowman Hill SDA School/Oltewah Adventist Kindergarten and School and conducting the OAKBOW Concert Band, a position he presently holds. During his time in Tennessee he met his wife Summer Campbell. In May 2012 their son Camryn, was added to the family.
Since returning to the Southeast, he has continued singing and has worked to develop his skill as a pianist. He is also still active with his horn, playing as a member of a brass sextet and as needed in the SAU band and orchestra. The children, who also are active in music, sing and play for church services. They each enjoy playing piano and various other instruments.
Source: Information provided by Wesley Bradford, September 2011, February 2012, and January 2014.