Shanklin Town Brass Band

Rylstone Chalet, Popham Road, Shanklin, PO37 6RG

Registered Charity Number: 1172098



About The Band

Shanklin Town Brass Band was founded in 1993 by Karen and Malcolm Lewis after their arrival on the Isle of Wight.

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 community, intermediate, youth and senior sections, as well as a dedicated Saturday school, the Brass Academy.

In September 1995, the Band was awarded an Arts Council Lottery 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 1987 hurricane.

In 2002 we were privileged to have the renowned Dennis Wilby become our Band President, an office he continued to hold until 2015, but 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 Southern 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 contesting, although they have since performed in Rylstone Gardens on the bandstand - and they thouroughly enjoyed it.

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.

2023 was our thirtieth birthday year and so to celebrate this momentous occasion, we performed four 'birthday concerts' in Ventnor, Ryde, Bonchurch and of course Shanklin - at the United Reformed Church.  And then in 2024, Malcolm Lewis decided that it was time for him to step down as our Musical Director and make way for someone younger.  However, before he did that he conducted the Senior Band one last time at the West of England Fourth Section heat of the National Brass Band Championships - and we came third, and the consequence of that is that we have now been promoted to the Third Section.  A fitting end to Malcolm's last contest.

Even Further Back

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 04 April 2024

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