Band Articles

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. 

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