I began my musical career in small town Alberta many years ago with piano lessons. During junior and senior high school, I was exposed to several brass instruments starting with trumpet, French horn and trombone. Following graduation at the tender age of 17, I signed up with the Canadian Forces as a musician where I spent the next 25 years as a professional musician, retiring in 1994 as a Master Warrant Officer, first chair French horn player. During the last two years of my military service, I was recruited to form and direct the local Fire Department Band in Calgary which I directed for seventeen years until 2010 when I moved to Southampton. When I arrived here, it was evident that there was lots of music in the area and I quickly moved to become a part of it. I performed with the Bruce Brass quintet for a few years and was signed up with the Georgian Bay Symphony for a stint. I am presently still performing with the Port Elgin Community Band as a French horn player. I was asked to direct the Southampton Concert Band in 2016 which is now my principal musical occupation.
Ridley is a retired teacher and administrator who worked for the Bluewater District School Board for 32 years. During these years, he taught vocal and instrumental music in both elementary and secondary schools and was a vice principal in three different secondary schools. At the end of his teaching career, Ridley was a behaviour consultant who worked with students and parents with mental health issues.
Ridley has been involved with the Southampton Summer Music camp since its first year in 1986. He recently resigned his position as Artistic Director of the camp after serving in that role for 20 years.
Ridley is a trombonist and plays in three local bands.