Welcome to the Gillingham Imperial Silver Band website. We are a friendly brass band located in the south west of England, and we are currently graded nationally in the 3rd section. Please check out our vacancies page as we are currently looking for various players
On Saturday the 8th of March the band competed in the West of England Regional contest at the Riviera centre, Torquay.
This annual event takes place over a whole weekend, with the 4th, 3rd and 1st sections competing on the Saturday and the 2nd and Championship sections competing on the Sunday. This contest decides the qualifying bands for the National Finals, so is an exciting time of year for all involved. This year’s 3rd section test piece was “Partita for Band – Postcards from Home” by Professor Phillip Wilby.
Many weeks of rehearsal included an afternoon with our old friend Simon Dobson, whose inspirational style really helped the band to bring out the music in the piece.
On the day we all rose early to catch our 5:30 coach to Torquay, and this year was the first in living memory that every single band member traveled to the contest on the coach! This is just one sign of the great team spirit we have at GISB at the moment. After a short rehearsal in one of Torquay’s fine hotels, we were drawn number 4 out of 14 competing bands. On stage we all did ourselves proud and gave a good performance of the piece. Several hours and 10 bands later came the nervous moment of the results, and we were delighted to have been placed 4th. This confirms our status in the 3rd section and is a sign of the great amount of hard work that the whole band have done over the last few years.
Congratulations must of course go to our new Musical Director Jim Bennett – this was his first ever contest conducting a brass band and not only did he lead us to 4th place but conducted us without needing his score!!!
Saturday 26th April saw the band perform a short concert at St. Gregory’s Church, Marnhull, in aid of the Church Flower Fund. This was the first in a series of concerts organised by the Church organist Stephen Binnington.
The band opened with a rousing rendition of the classic contest march “Knight Templar” by George Allan. This was followed by the well-known selection from Borodin’s opera Prince Igor, “Danses Polovsiennes”. Next was a complete change of mood in the form of Debussy’s classic piano prelude, “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair”. This piece was the first of several in the programme to showcase our Flugel Horn player Marcus Adams, a band stalwart who has recently made the move to Flugel Horn and is making wonderful sounds.
The band then brought out the drama and power of “Labour and Love”. This was written by Percy Fletcher in 1913 and was the first piece ever written specifically as a contest piece for brass bands, being used in the National Finals of that year. A genuine test of brass bands, this piece requires tight ensemble playing, contrasting dynamics and strong soloists. Well done to Nathan, Sarah and Liam for their lovely cadenzas. We will be playing this piece at the Weston-Super-Mare Contest on 18th May so this was a great opportunity to give it an “airing” before the big day.
Musical Director Jim Bennett then lightened the mood with “Mr. Jums” – a piece by Chris Hazell written in tribute to his scruffy ginger tom cat. This piece finishes with the band’s Soprano Cornet Tom (scruffy but not ginger) doing his best to sound more tuneful than a cat!
The band would like to thank Stephen and Marnhull Church for giving us the opportunity to play to a new audience in such a great venue.