Foden's star soloists go down a storm

On 18th April Gillingham Imperial Silver Band were honoured to welcome Glyn and Helen Williams to North Dorset for a brass band workshop and feature concert. Held at The Exchange in Sturminster Newton, the afternoon's workshops hosted participants from 7 local bands as well as GISB's own senior and training bands. Glyn and Helen, both highly successful brass band conductors and soloists of international acclaim, imparted some of their wealth of knowledge to the participants, whose ages ranged from 9 years old to over 75! 
In the evening the audience at The Exchange were treated to some delightful solos from both the Foden's Band stars, including James Curnow's "Rhapsody for Euphonium", "Myfanwy" and "La Belle Americaine" from Glyn on Euphonium, and "Share My Yoke" and the flamboyant "Children of Sanchez" from Helen on Flugel Horn. Helen is no stranger to Gillingham, having visited the bandroom in 1997 as Principal Cornet of the Marple Band, shortly after their famous win at the British Open. 
One of the highlights of the evening was a Euphonium duet, "Deep Inside the Sacred Temple", featuring Glyn and GISB's very own Stuart Ingham. 
As well as accompanying the soloists most ably, GISB also performed a varied programme including their signature march "The Australasian", Albert Ketelbey's delightful "In a Persian Market", and a current concert favourite, "Conga del Fuego Nuevo". 
The evening was rounded off with a finale which saw all the day's workshop participants on stage as a massed band, conducted by Glyn Williams. With a selection of music based around a movies theme, the massed band performed music which most of them had learnt from scratch during the day - including "Circle of Life" from the Lion King, "Concerto de Aranjuez" from Brassed Off, and the wonderfully upbeat "Happy" by Pharrell Williams. 

The band owe huge thanks to Glyn and Helen for giving up their time and energies for the workshops and concert. Huge thanks also to our Supporters' Club for providing a delicious buffet to feed all the workshop participants in the afternoon. Many thanks also to the wonderful volunteers at the Exchange, and to our audience for supporting us!

Watch this space for more events like this in the future!

Hille visit a resounding success

Over the recent late May bank holiday Gillingham Band hosted friends old and new from twin band Musikzug Viktoria Hille in Germany. The latest in a serious of biennial exchange visits started in 1983, this year was the turn of Gillingham to host the Hille Band for a long weekend of music making, drinking and good times.

The weekend kicked off with the traditional Gillingham welcome party in the band's social room. As all visitors to Gillingham Band know, no Gillingham or Hille Band social event is complete without a steady flow of "Moorbrand" - the fiery german liquor local to the Hille area. 

Fuzzy heads brushed aside, the bands assembled on Saturday morning for a rehearsal of the evening's concert music. After an afternoon with the host families, and welcome music from Gillingham's training band, the evening concert proceeded with the 2 bands performing alternately to a packed audience at Gillingham High School. Entertainment was the name of the game, with both bands performing a huge range of music in many styles. Featured soloists for Gillingham performed "Live and Let Die" (Soprano cornet), "Children of Sanchez" (Flugel Horn) and for Hille a great rendition of "Yackety Sax" on the saxophone. The bands came together at the end for a massed performance, rounding off the evening as ever with the audience on their feet for "Hootenany". 

On every visit of the Hille band, Gillingham take their guests for a day out to see local sights, and this time the Sunday outing was to Cheddar Gorge and Wells in Somerset. On the Sunday evening Gillingham's exchange visit organiser Nigel Perrin fired up his garden pizza oven for another "build your own pizza" night. 

The weekend's music making continued on the Monday with both bands performing to record crowds at Sherborne Castle Country Fair. The bands also took part in the dragon boat racing on the castle lake, with a well organized Hille Band winning hands down, local friendly rivals Sherborne Town Band in 2nd place and Gillingham a close 3rd! 

With hardly time to draw breath, this year's leaving party was held at the Coppleridge Inn in Motcombe. Band members, family members, host families and friends gathered for a great meal and a party late into the night to the sounds of local ska band "Ratrace". 

Gillingham Band would like to offer sincere thanks to all the host families, guest players, organisers and sponsors of the weekend, and also to the Hille Band for their great company and for the invitation to visit Hille in summer 2017. 

Another successful trip to Germany for Gillingham Band

 Gillingham Imperial Silver Band recently returned from another successful visit to their German friends, Musikzug Viktoria Hille. This visit marks the continuation of a wonderful friendship between the two bands which now stretches back 34 years.

After a long coach journey the hosts in Hille treated Gillingham Band to their famous hospitality with plenty of great food, refreshments and good company. The weekend saw the bands perform 2 concerts together, the centrepiece being in the school in Hille, with a visit to the magnificent Schloss Buckeburg providing the venue for the second performance.

The weekend also marked two anniversaries for the bands. The first was the 50 anniversary of the formation of the Musikzug Viktoria Hille, the second being a significant birthday for Gillingham’s trip organiser Nigel Perrin. Both were celebrated in style! Gillingham Band would like to offer heartfelt thanks to Nigel for all the hard work in organising the trip.

Also to guest players who joined the tour from as far and wide as Manchester, Burnham-on-Sea, Verwood and Southampton. Warm words from these guests sum up the spirit of the weekend:

The whole experience will stay in my memory forever… this weekend has just confirmed something I already knew... World rankings don't make a band... I thank each and every one of you for your kindness and friendship... friendships that will last forever.” “I don't think I've ever met a more friendly band! Thank you all for looking after me and making me feel so welcome.

Gillingham Band always welcomes new and returning players of all ages and abilities. The Beginner Brass group offers expert tuition and hire of a musical instrument for only £1 per week.


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