Geoff Gillard – in memorium

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We write with the sad news that Geoff Gillard has died. A key figure in the world of brass and an MIA Director for many years, he will be sadly missed.

Our good friend Trevor Austin has kindly written the following words…

“Geoff was a son of the regiment. Denis his father was sales director, then Managing director of Boosey and Hawkes the dominant manufacturer in the Brass Band World.

He started work in Rudall, Carte – a group Company (led by Norman Maloney) dealing mainly with woodwind, later transferring to B & H as a representative covering brass, woodwind and percussion. He was well established when in 1968 the momentous decision was made to lower the pitch of brass bands down from ‘high’ to ‘low’ pitch (A 440). Military bands were already playing in ‘low pitch’ as were orchestras and dance bands.

The change brought about a boost in brass sales, because, whilst many instruments had appropriate lengths of tubing added to their length, it opened up a sales market – and delivery of new instruments became extended to 18 months. A challenge (of sales with restricted delivery) Geoff managed with aplomb.

In 1971 Geoff met Janet through a B & H contact and they married in 1973. They moved up to the north west and Geoff covered the strong brass band territory from their Cheshire home.

Upon retirement in 1979, Denis went to take charge of Vincent Bach and in 1981 Geoff succeeded his father as Managing Director, covering the whole of the UK. He gained the trust of USA bosses in negotiating the difficult currency changes.

His hobby of golf was combined with his enthusiastic membership of MIGS the Music Industry Golf Society which embraced all aspects of our industry. Another sporting interest was found in his loyalty to Queens Park Rangers, where he experienced a variety of emotions, and further developed his sense of humour.

When time came to move from Bach’s, Geoff took over and developed the wholesale side of Phil Parker’s activities, where his considerable knowledge of European and other manufacturing markets was a great help. This meant expanding on top of the southern and north western areas that he knew as a rep. to the whole of the UK.

This is where his family background helped with the knowledge of the retail side and business performance. (Not only from his father, but also from his Aunt who worked in the B&H Accounts department).

In 2005 Geoff had a fall on a tube escalator whilst carrying a heavy instrument, which left him with a dent in his skull. He later developed open sores on his body skin that did not heal.

Adrian Parker retired after selling his business to Prozone- and was followed into retirement a few months’ later by Geoff.

Medical treatment at the Royal Free Hospital did not help his problem, and during frequent day visits, he contracted MRSA from which he never recovered. Even so his death on 7th November was unexpected, and came as a shock to his family and many business friends.

There were very few people who knew as much about the music trade as Geoff Gillard. His prodigious knowledge of the trade at a manufacturing and wholesale level and his years of involvement with retailers gave him an overall grasp of our Industry. He will be sorely missed”.

Trevor Austin, Beaconsfield Nov.2018.

Funeral details are as follows:

29th November 2.30 pm  at Milton Chapel, Chiltern Crematorium, Amersham HP7 0ND

Afterwards at Shendish Manor,London Road, Kins Langley, Hemel Hempstead HP5 0AA

Please could anyone planning to attend kindly advise Janet Gillard on E mail  Terpsichore1950@aol.com or text 07725 391 356

The charities being nominated on Geoff’s behalf are The Musicians Benevolent Fund and Scleroderma & Reynauds U.K.