Brass Band was founded in 1993 by
Karen and Malcolm Lewis after
their arrival on the Isle of
Malcolm is an experienced
Musical Director and his wife
Karen is a talented percussionist
and brass instrument player. Initially
having no funds, the Band had to
rely on instruments borrowed from
other bands, and even from the
walls of local pubs.
An advertisement brought in the
first players, and the Band has
grown steadily ever since. It now comprises
youth and senior sections, as
well as a dedicated Saturday
school, the Brass
In September 1995, the Band was
awarded an Arts
grant, which enabled them to
purchase a full set of new
instruments, and part of the grant was also
allocated to commission a piece
of music, written by the renowned
composer, Stuart Johnson. The
work has four movements and
features the Shanklin March,
Rylstone Gardens (now
the home of the Band), Tuba
on the Downs and Shanklin
Pier, commemorating the
destruction of the Pier in the
In 2002 we were privileged to have the renowned
Dennis Wilby become our Band President, an office he continued to hold until
he still continues to provide a valuable input into the band, including periodically
taking rehearsals and concerts.
Pre covid, the Band regularly competed at contests along
the south coast of England in
order to continue developing its
sound and to raise its standards.
Prizes have been won at a number
of venues including Brighton,
Folkestone and Poole. In April 2010, the band
was very proud to win the Second Section in the 2010 Southern Counties Amateur
Band Association's Spring Contest, which was held in Hove - they had only been
promoted to the section the year before.
In October 2010 the Youth Band was
honoured to be named by the
Counties Amateur Bands Association as their 2010 Band of the Year,
which meant that they were the best of all the SCABA member bands. They repeated this feat when they were named as the 2012 Band of the Year -
and again in 2014!
Everyone associated with the band was justifiably proud of the achievements of
our young players.
October 2014 saw the band come of age, and to celebrate this
achievement a special concert was held in Shanklin Theatre; a sample of the
concert can be seen below.
In 2015 Gil Taylor took over as President from
Dennis, who after many years felt it was right to step down. In June 2016 the band was awarded the
Queen's Award for Voluntary Service and in 2017 the band came third in the South
Western heat of the National Brass Band Championships - our highest ever placing.
In 2018 we formed Community Band for those aged 50 and over who wanted to
play a brass instrument without the pressure of performing on stage or
2020 saw Covid-19 put paid to any contesting or concerts for that year. 2021
wasn't much different as the only contest we entered was an online one,
organised by Cory Band and in the summer we only performed three concerts, all
in the open air in Rylstone Gardens.
History, however, shows that there was an
original Shanklin Town Band,
which was disbanded in the 1930s.
There are a number of pictures of
the band in these early days,
which at one point was known as
The Rylstone Band -
suggesting there were links with
the gardens even in those early
days. A picture dating back to
1895 is reproduced below.
Page last updated
25 November 2021
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