Wiltshire Publications

Bratton Silver Band’s 160th Anniversary

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Bratton Silver Bandhas been awarded funding from the Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants Fund towards its 160th anniversary project.

The Arts Council funding will support the commissioning of a piece of music about the ‘lost village’ of Imber near Bratton. 

Imber is part of the MOD training ground on Salisbury Plain. Villagers were evicted in 1943 to provide an exercise area for troops preparing for the invasion of Europe and were never allowed to return. On a few occasions a year when guns fall silent, civilians are allowed to visit the village ruins.

The composer of the music, Christopher Bond, has been described as “one of his generation’s most exciting compositional voices for brass” and his work has been broadcast both locally and nationally on BBC Radio 2, 3 & 4, and ClassicFM. He has been chosen for his experience in composing music reflecting the atmosphere and history of memorable events and places and has visited to research this intriguing site, a ‘ghost’ village, once full of rural community life – a manor house, cottages, a pub which now lies abandoned, little more than shells damaged by military activity and in the midst, the Church of St Giles. 

Bratton Silver Band members have participated in the Salisbury International Arts Festival activity “Imber: You Walk Through”. This was an imaginative immersive experience designed by Wiltshire Creatives and stimulated thoughts and ideas for the composition. 

The local community will be able to contribute their ideas for the music through ‘Imber – from Photography to Music’, a community engagement experience to be held as part of Bratton Silver Band’s 160th Anniversary Exhibition which will be held at Bratton Pavillion on Saturday 6th July from 5.30pm. Bratton Silver Band, including the training band, will also be performing a Picnic in the Park concert from 6.30pm in aid of the charities Jacob’s Ladder and CLIC. The ‘Imber from Photography to Music’ experience will also be an activity in which visitors to Bratton Art in the Gardens can participate, on Saturday 20th July.

The composer will hold several workshops with Bratton Silver Band during which they will try out ideas for the music and work on the new music as it is composed. The band will also participate in a workshop and perform with the Cory Band, current European Champions.

Lucy Scott, Bratton Silver Band president said, “We envisage that this will be an outstanding piece of music, uniting an acclaimed composer with a theme of great historical interest. 

“Within the tradition of brass band music, historic stories and events are kept alive through performance and we foresee the project bringing cultural, educational and musical interest and entertainment to the local community and beyond. In addition, a significant musical composition will be published and available to the whole brass band movement to purchase, perform and entertain audiences.”