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West Chiltington Silver Band
West Chiltington Silver Band was formed in 1908 by landscape gardener and Salvation Army Bandsmen Mr. Juden of West Chiltington. He formed the band with Mr. P. Slater, a builder and Mr. Edwin Pullen, a wheelwright, who lent them £20 to buy some instruments. Mr. Pullen went to London, toured the music shops, and returned home with enough instruments for all ten members. Ed Pullen didn't actually play an instrument but used to walk in front of the band carrying the flag.
Most of the players had no idea of music when they joined, but by Christmas of 1908 they were proficient enough to give their first performance. They gave a concert of hymns and carols under the leadership of Mr. Juden, who remained their conductor for the next five years. Mr. Nash followed him as conductor and then by Mr. Chatfield, who remained for 20 to 30 years until 1950.
The band started to enter competitions in 1930, and competed in the Brighton Music Festival. On only its second attempt it won a second prize. Many more prizes were to follow in the coming years, hence the name 'Silver Band', due to the amount of silverware they won. The band's silver instruments were to come later.
The band owes much to local family the Slater's. Phil (Grandfather) Slater and his eldest son Albert were founder members and there were four other Slater brothers who also played. Between them they played cornet, tenor horn, baritone and trombone, and were later joined by other members of their families. Albert took on the role of conductor in 1950 and also taught ex-conductor Doug Golds to play. The last Slater to play in the band was Reg, son of Fred, one of the original brothers. He left in the early nineties.
Doug Golds is now the longest serving member of the band. He joined in 1945 when he was twelve and was given a cornet to practise on, which he had to share with another boy, Jimmy Weeks. They had it for a week each but Doug got so fed up with not being able to practise enough that he asked what else he could play. He was given an old dilapidated tenor horn, much in need of attention, and has been playing the tenor ever since. Doug has had a good spell in front of the band too - stepped into the breach after the sudden retirement of Tony Deacon.
In September 2006 the band recruited Annette Clifford as conductor and musical director.
July 2008 marked the band's centenary.