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
At the end of August we embarked on a remarkable tradition – a six day journey to our friends in the Musikzug Viktoria Hille band from Germany. For 30 years Gillingham and Hille have been coming together.
Both bands came together in the local school to perform a brilliant joint concert – both bands began by playing their opposite country’s National Anthem and the audience was particularly impressed by the way Gillingham all stood and sung the ‘Queen’ with gusto whilst Hille played on.
Our bass trombonist Nigel Perrin then made a speech and presented Stefan Kruse from Musikzug Viktoria Hille with a lovely banner commemorating the 30 years of music making between our two bands. Hille’s Deputy Mayor Heinz Grannemann made a reciprocal speech welcoming us and presenting a bottle of sparkling wine, and a book about the area around Hille.
The two bands then came together to form a huge ensemble of nearly 70 musicians. Musikzug Viktoria Hille’s conductor Konrad Adamitz took the baton for ‘Young Amadeus’ whilst our MD Paul Williams conducted a selection of Polkas and the popular finale ‘Hootenanny’.
A late breakfast on Sunday and both bands met up again at a glorious location. There are five traditional Holland style windmills in the town of Hille, the town is famous for them and even the town crest has a windmill on it. Musikzug Viktoria Hille and Gillingham proceeded to entertain the crowds with an outdoors concert. The performance of ‘The Bare Necessities’ with our very own Pete Gatehouse on Eb Bass soling as Balloo plus our rendition of the James Bond hit ‘Skyfall’ went down very well.
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!!!