Shanklin Town Brass Band

Rylstone Chalet, Popham Road, Shanklin, PO37 6RG

Registered Charity Number: 1172098




President & Musical Director

Band President - Gilbert Taylor

Gilbert (or Gil as he's known) was born in South Molton into a musical family where his father (Jack) was the conductor of the South Molton Town Band, and he along with his brothers were taught to play a musical instrument (probably from about the age of 5 or 6).

He started to play the euphonium, but at that age he found it a bit heavy to carry, so was given a tenor horn to play instead, which has been his main instrument until in 1968 when took over the baton from his dad to conduct the band, and continued to be the Musical Director, until 1985 when he moved to Exeter to live.

Because brass banding, and South Molton Town Band had been his lifelong hobby, he replied to an article in the North Devon Journal in 1987/8 saying that the band was in need of a musical director, and offered his services until a new MD could be found, and during the year or so that he was acting as MD, his wife Carol, learnt to play baritone, although she has since transferred to tenor horn.

A new MD was appointed after a year or so, and there were 2 or 3 MD’s since then, but he has been the bands regular MD again now for the past 6 or 7 years.

Gil and Carol still live in Exeter, some 35 miles away from South Molton, and travel there at least twice a week. South Molton Town Band has been his lifelong hobby and passion, and feels a very committed member of this very talented organisation.  The band take the name of South Molton throughout the Southwest and beyond, and he feels they are a great ambassador to the town and an organisation he is honoured and proud to be a member of.

In April 2012, he was honoured to receive Citizen of the year award from the Rotary Club of South Molton, in recognition of outstanding service to the community.

Music has played a major part in his life as a hobby, and for more than 20 years he was also the musical director of Barnstaple Amateur Operatic Society, which involved a major show each year, as well as various concerts.

Gil has also spent a number of years as MD and guest conductor for Tiverton Town Band. All this as well as his commitment to South Molton 

A few years ago at the annual regional championships in Torquay Gil met Laura Kay (Solo Cornet), and asked her what she was doing and what band she was playing with. She said that she was with the Shanklin Town Brass Band from the IoW, (he has known Laura for several years as she and her dad were former members of South Molton Town Band).  When he said that he and his wife visit the Island for a holiday 3 or 4 times a year, she invited them to come and join Shanklin whilst on holiday. This they have done ever since, and have always been made very welcome. Gil has been given the opportunity to play at rehearsals and concerts, and also invited by Malcolm to conduct on many occasions.

They were both invited to take part in the band’s 21st anniversary concert in October 2014, and Gil said that he was honoured to be asked to conduct one of the programme items.

In June of that year he received a letter from Malcolm and Karen inviting him to become the bands president as Dennis Wilby was retiring in 2015.  He accepted this position and was really proud and honoured to do so. As Gil said, "To follow in the steps of Dennis, and all the work he has done for the band is a hard act to follow, but I will do my best and look forward to working with this very friendly, and talented band. "

Band Honorary Vice President - Dennis Wilby

Dennis was elected President of Shanklin Town Brass Band in 2002 but when he retired in 2015 he was given the post of Honorary Vice President, which he gratefully accepted.

Dennis talking at the 2007 Whit Friday MarchesBorn in Horbury, West Yorkshire, he commenced playing the cornet at the age of seven, later becoming a member of many of the well-known brass bands in his native county.

Dennis served for three years in the Army as Principal Cornet with the Royal Army Service Corps Staff Band and on release was appointed Principal Trumpet with the BBC Northern Ireland Orchestra in Belfast, the start of his professional career in music. During his ten-year stay with the orchestra, he was Chairman. It was during this period that he was appointed conductor of Agnes Street Band, one of the famous banding names in Northern Ireland.

Returning to live and freelance as a trumpet player in Yorkshire, he was associated with many of the big bands and theatre orchestras, backing the famous show business personalities of that era. But he never lost sight of his roots in brass bands, soon becoming involved with some of the well-known names. In the 1970’s he was appointed Resident Conductor of Grimethorpe Colliery Band, he had a two-year spell as Musical Director of the Wingates Band and in 1978 and 1979 conducted Harton Colliery Band and Wingates Band respectively at the National Brass Band Championship Finals at the Royal Albert Hall. During this era he was invited by James Shepherd to become the first conductor of the newly-formed all-star 10-piece group The James Shepherd Versatile Brass, with whom he made two LP recordings and conducted the group’s first appearance as guests at the National Brass Band Championship Gala Concert. 

For 20 years Dennis was a regular visitor to Norway conducting and fronting both wind band and brass band workshops. He was employed for 24 years by Wakefield Education Authority as a full -time Peripatetic Brass Tutor.

Adjudicating has been an important and active part of his life for the past 30 years. He has adjudicated at all the Regional Championships, National Brass Band Championship Finals, British Open Solo & Quartet Championships, Pontin's Festival, Butlin's Mineworkers’ Festival, Irish Championships in Dublin and Belfast, Norwegian and Belgian National Brass Band Championships, plus most of the independent contests held throughout the country. He also officiates at Music Festivals throughout the UK and Ireland. He is a member of the Association of Brass Band Adjudicators and is on the official list of The British Federation of Brass Bands.

In 1998 Dennis relocated from his native Yorkshire to live in East Sussex, during which time his involvement in the band movement has continued. He was Chairman of the Southern Counties Amateur Band Association from 2002 until 2005 and in 1999 was awarded his Certificate of Long Service Award from The National Association of Brass Band Conductors. He is Editor of Brass Review (Britain’s only free band magazine).

In 2020, he published his memoirs and it is available from Amazon and they say:

"Dennis Wilby's career as a professional musician could not have been planned or expected. These memoirs provide an insight into the career of a professional musician and his journey from brass bands to orchestras to big bands and back to brass bands again. These memoirs are full of interesting and amusing anecdotes from the varied stages of his career and journey."


Musical Director - Ashley Wicks

Details to follow

Honorary Musical Director - Malcolm Lewis

Malcolm and Karen LewisMalcolm founded Shanklin Town Brass Band with his wife Karen in 1993 after moving to the Isle of Wight. He is a dedicated Brass Band musician with a long career in Banding. His contribution was acknowledged in 2001 when he was awarded a Diploma of Honour in recognition of outstanding contribution to the Brass Band Movement by the Worshipful Company of of Musicians.

Malcolm began his career playing 2nd Euphonium for Ware Brass Band in 1956. At the age of 18 he went to the Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall, and discovered a talent for conducting. On leaving the army in 1971 he joined the Tilbury Band, and then moved on to become Musical Director of the Castle Point Brass Band in 1975. At the time the Castle Point Brass Band consisted of a group of young players aged between 6 and 14 rehearsing in the chairman’s living room. Under Malcolm’s leadership, they went on to become a prize-winning band, crowning a decade of achievement with the title of London & Southern Counties Third Section Champions in 1988.

In the same year, the Castle Point Youth Band retained the title of London & Southern Counties Youth Champions, giving Malcolm a remarkable ‘double’. The Band also featured in numerous television appearances, and among the many talented players to pass through the Castle Point ranks were Philip Harper, who began his brass band career under Malcolm’s tutelage, and is now a world-renowned composer of brass band music, and Malcolm’s own son Graham, who won a scholarship to Guildhall School of Music in London, where he was given the position of Principal Cornet in the Guildhall Brass Band.

At the end of 1989 Malcolm moved on to become Musical Director of the Harlow Brass Band, rebuilding them from a low point of 12 players to become once more a prize-winning contest band with a full complement of youth and senior players. In 1991 he and his wife Karen moved to the Isle of Wight, and, surprised at the lack of serious brass band presence on the Island, decided to form a band.

On the 19th October 1993, they held their first rehearsal in a church hall, using a few instruments from the walls of local pubs and Malcolm and Karen’s own instruments. Four children turned up to rehearse, and became the founding members of the Shanklin Town Brass Band. The rest is history.

In 2009 Malcolm had great privilege at being asked to adjudicate at Southern Counties Amateur Band Association's Solo, Ensemble and Quartet contest.

Malcolm retired from Lake Middle School in 2010, where he was also Musical Director of the brass band, and has since been working on the restoration and now maintenance of Rylstone Chalet.

In 2024, Malcolm took the decision to retire from conducting, to make way for a younger person, but before stepping aside he took the band to Torquay one more time to take part in the fourth section of the South West heat of the National Brass Band Championships - and we came third, thereby gaining promotion to the third section, as champions of the fourth section.

Page last updated 04 April 2024

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