Stephen Deakes began playing music in brass bands in Tasmania and Melbourne. When aged 16 he enlisted in the Australian Army, where he studied clarinet at the Army School of Music at Balcombe near Mount Martha. After completing two years studies, he spent the next 22 years in various Australian Army bands including The Royal Military College Band, The Australian Army Bands Sydney and Kapooka. While at Australian Army Band Kapooka, Stephen also became Music Director of the Riverina Concert Band, a position he held for 4 years. In 2000, Stephen moved into his final position in the Army as the Supervisor of Training at the Defence Force School of Music at Watsonia.
After 24 years service, Stephen retired from the Army. He and his family purchased a business in Gippsland in country Victoria. He remained active in the local music scene, often playing with local jazz bands and also becoming Music Director of the Maffra Band.
In 2006 Stephen and his family returned to Melbourne, and not long after, was approached by the Army to become Bandmaster of the 2nd/10th Field Regiment Band based at St Kilda, a position he held until 2012.
Stephen lives and works locally and joined Eltham Concert Band in 2009, intending to just enjoy playing his instrument. When the position of Music Director became vacant in March 2010, Stephen agreed to take the position, initially as a temporary step to see us through our first concert, before later taking on the role in a full time capacity. At the end of 2013, Stephen decided he should step down from the role of Music Director, but stay on with the band as an instrumentalist. Stephen also directs the Transition Big Band and is an active member of several other bands. In May 2016, Stephen has returned to his role as Music Director of Eltham Concert Band.