2017 All England Masters International Champions
Gillian started her playing career at the age of 14, on EEb tuba, and played for Rochdale Music Service’s Orchestra before joining their Brass Band. At 17 she joined the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain and was principal EEb on their concert tour to Denmark. Whilst at University she played for the Huddersfield Philharmonic, Orchestra and was co-organiser of Girls of Brass, which brought together some great female brass players at a time when opportunities for women to play in top flight bands in the North were few and far between (or non-existent.)
Gillian started her teaching career at Wardle High School and was fortunate enough to conduct a brass band through from complete beginners (about 80 of them) to become Butlins National Champions and Music for Youth finalists. During this time she played for Stalybridge before moving to Fodens for a while, under the baton of Howard Snell, where she enjoyed some fantastic fantastic playing opportunities but wore the worst fitting band jacket of all time.
As a tuba player, Gillian played professionally with orchestras including the Manchester Camerata, where highlights included working with Sir Charles Groves and Owain Arwel Hughes.
She joined the North West Co-op Band and enjoyed moving up through the sections with them, before ‘retiring’ from playing for the first time – but somehow ended up on percussion with them in the Championship Section at the North West Area, playing John Golland’s ‘Sounds’ where two players fight over several timps and where she forgot to put the brake on the tubular bells.
Gillian joined Milnrow on EEb tuba in 2010, after her son joined as a percussionist, finding coming back to playing was less stressful than watching from the audience. Being Headteacher of a local high school is a busy job, and being part of the Milnrow family provides a great change of perspective.
In 2012 she moved onto Baritone – an instrument she has grown to love, not only because it fits in the boot of a sports car and doesn’t get stuck in lift doors, but also because of its mellifluous sound and versatility (at least when played by Adam Snape.)