(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
which has been his main instrument until in 1968 when took over the baton from his
dad to conduct the band, and has 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. "