GISB ends the year on a high

Gillingham Imperial Silver Band recently celebrated another successful year at their annual Christmas concert on Sunday 13th December, organized by their ever faithful Supporters’ Club. Gillingham’s mayor, Councillor David Walsh, presented the annual prizes which this year went to Jess Hudson, most improved under-18 in the senior band, Sarah Barnes received the John Fricker shield for highest rehearsal attendance, and Tom Malleson was awarded the Tim Baker memorial trophy for the greatest contribution to the band over the year. In the training band Megan Bokker received the award for most improved player; and in the beginners’ group this award went to Ellie Stiles. The award for the youngest player went to Maddie Currie. 

The Dorset band ended the year on a high with a number of successful events, in particular their recent 3rd section win at the Wessex Brass Band Association’s winter contest in Bournemouth. Playing a hidden gem of the brass band repertoire, Granville Bantock’s “Prometheus Unbound”, the band thoroughly enjoyed their performance at Bournemouth’s Life Centre, with the cherry on the top being the adjudicator placing the band 1st in the 3rd section and 11th overall, only one place behind Championship Section Bournemouth Concert Brass. 

This result comes at a time of rebuilding for Gillingham. At the end of 2014 the band lost 3 regular players due to relocation to Devon, one on maternity leave and one to University, and later in 2015 another 2 players leaving for University left a large number of vacancies to be filled. However over the year the band have signed some great new players. Star Flugel horn player Michelle Hudson returns to the band after a 16 year sabbatical with some of Cornwall’s finest bands, Elaine Laurence joins the solo cornet bench and Sam Vaughan and Clare Chapman join the back row cornets. 

Band Manager Tom Malleson said “We are delighted to welcome Michelle back to the band, bringing experience of playing at the highest level. She joins her mother Jackie Adams on solo horn and daughter Jess, who at only 14 is an exciting prospect for the future on solo cornet.” He added; “Elaine started playing with Mere Manor Band many years ago, so we are delighted that following her recent relocation from London, she is joining her sister Mary Burfitt to boost our cornet section.”

“Clare has been a regular helper with the band for a while now, and Sam Vaughan is another promising young cornet player who is new to brass banding. Great thanks must go to our stalwart 2nd cornet Marcus Adams, who teaches most of the band’s youngsters and gives help and support to those joining the back row.” 

The band also recently held a very successful beginner’s open evening. Organised entirely by training band percussionist Lottie Dean as a school project, the evening attracted over 20 people, of which 9 are now regular members of the Monday evening beginners group. 

With a packed schedule for 2015 now drawing to close, including a fantastic weekend visit from German friends Musikzug Viktoria Hille, and a feature concert with the Cory Band’s Glyn and Helen Williams, GISB are looking forward to 2016, starting with their “Winter Warmer” concert in early February, and the annual trip to Torquay for the West of England Regional Championships. 


The band still have vacancies on Euphonium, Cornet, Tenor Horn, Trombone and Percussion so please contact Tom Malleson on 07890 661259 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details. 

Solid 4th place finish at West of England Championships

With a mere hint of spring in the air, the band took the annual trip to Torquay this year on Saturday 12th March. The band were brimming with confidence this year, with the recent return of Malcolm Francis on Principal Euphonium, wife Val on 3rd Cornet, Rob Stone playing Timpani and Martin Perrin on 2nd Trombone. In recent months we have also welcomed to the band Elaine Laurence on Solo Cornet, Claire Chapman on 3rd Cornet and Holly Chapman on 2nd Baritone. 

With these additions to our regular ranks the band were well rehearsed, in good spirits and functioning as a highly cohesive unit!!!

Taking to the stage in rather a hurry due to the contest running ahead of schedule (an unusual occurrence for a band contest!), the band gave a highly detailed, confident and musical account of Michael Ball's delightful take on Welsh tunes, "A Cambrian Suite". 

Here are the comments made on our performance by brass band website 4barsrest, who were present broadcasting live critique of every performance over the web:

Nice relaxed style in the opening movement and all sections contribute to one of the few really consistent openings we've heard so far.
Excellent lead into 2nd mvt where soloists all play with a touch of panache. Best moment of the day so far from the lovely, delicate solo horn, but soprano and flugel don't let her down at all!
3. Very secure opening and but for a moment of poor tuning in the horn section it is very good indeed. Continues in similar vein through a well-controlled return of the main theme. We liked this one, a lot!

And here are the live comments from the British Bandsman Magazine, on Twitter:

Bags of style from @GillinghamBand & it’s all delivered with precision. Solo horn player the star but there was quality all round

Unfortunately they then gave us the kiss of death by predicting us to win!!!:

W3: OUR PREDICTION: @GillinghamBand @BrattonSilver Weston @phoenixbrass @CINDERFORDBAND @PorthlevenBand. Real result soon...

All in all 4th place out of a strong field of 18 bands was very satisfactory and secures the band's place in the 3rd section for another year. 

Special thanks must go to Ruth Eshelby who stepped in at the last minute to play 2nd horn following an illness, and Scott Mills who learnt to read music and play percussion in just 4 weeks, and both played fantastically well on stage!!!

We will endeavour to post the adjudicator's remarks on our Facebook page as soon as possible. 


Surprise invitation to National Finals!

A nice surprise arrived recently in the form of a letter inviting GISB to compete at the National Finals in Cheltenham on 18th September. After the recent West of England qualifying contest in Torquay, the top three bands in the 3rd section received the invitation, with the top 2 or 3 from the other seven regions also invited. However, this year's 2nd placed band from Weston Super Mare were unable to accept the invitation due to a band member's wedding, so the invitation is the sent to the 4th placed band.

Needless to say the band are delighted to be accepting this invitation, the last time qualification was achieved was 2006. All bands in the 3rd section will be playing Belgian composer Kevin Houben's fabulous "Lake of the Moon". Watch this space for details of an open rehearsal nearer the time, a great chance to hear this wonderful music.

Attending this prestigious event doesn't come cheap, with travel costs and entry fees totalling nearly £1500, so the band will  be working hard to raise these funds over the summer. Join us on 30th April for a "Transatlantic" concert, 7:30pm at the Olive Bowl Gillingham. Our wonderful training band will also be performing. Entry £6 on the door, with a raffle and the bar open!

Our next coffee morning will be on 7th May at the Bandroom, with light music from the band, cakes and tombola.

We would also love to hear from any local businesses willing to make a contribution to our National Finals fundraising. In return we can promote your business on this website, and at local events such as the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you can help!

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