4BR has been informed of the death of Dennis Chalk BEM, who passed away on 5th September, aged 90.
Dennis was a pillar of the brass banding community in the South of England. He starting playing the cornet with the Broad Chalke Band and enjoyed a successful spell as an Army musician.
In 1960, Dennis joined the Woodfalls Band where he was a key part of several contest successes, including a Grand Shield victory in 1974 and numerous appearances at the National Finals.
Inspired by MD Courtney Bosanko, Dennis began teaching young musicians in the local area. In 1965, he formed the Wilton & District Schools Band which flourished and soon became the Wilton & District Youth Band.
Dennis conducted the band for an astonishing 43 years before handing over the baton in 2008. Throughout this time, he inspired so many musicians with his unforgettable warmth, humour and expertise.
Highlights included an appearance at the National Youth Championships and a variety of memorable tours across Europe and the United States.
Dennis was also involved in the wider banding community and enjoyed conducting other bands in the South West, including Downton, Mere Manor Youth, Michelmersh and Hyde.
His service to music and education was recognised when he was awarded the British Empire Medal in 19874BR
In addition, he was a respected adjudicator at solo and quartet competitions, President of the Wessex Brass Band Association and a tutor at the Wessex Band Summer School for 30 years.
His service to music and education was recognised when he was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1987.
A memorial service will be held and full details of this will be announced in due course.