Gilbert Antell

Bandmaster Gilbert Antell

1911 to 1926

By trade a carpenter and joiner, Gilbert Antell was the son of Boscombe salvationists, and he soon established himself as a solo cornet player in the band. He followed Albert Webber as Boscombe Songster Leader before assuming leadership of the band in 1911. A tall, dapper man himself, the bandmaster was keen on improving the deportment of his bandsmen, but his efforts were inevitably thwarted by a trombone player who insisted on wearing brown boots with his uniform.

Although not the most knowledgeable of musicians himself, he was often exasperated by a few of his bandsmen whose lack of musical education left them content with knowing which end of the instrument to blow into. In despair the bandmaster had been known to walk out in the middle of band practice. Secondary part players would normally bear the brunt of his frustration and in a symbolic gesture he would hold aloft his baton and snap it in two. (In latter days he used a 2 piece ebony baton which probably saved him much unnecessary expense). The band soon acquired a good reputation for its singing, with the bandmaster often being overcome with emotion in the leading of it; but in terms of its playing, it was considered only an average corps band. Nevertheless the band was kept busy, and twice received the honour of playing at the Crystal Palace.

Band in Sunday School Parade c1916-17

Little mention of the band was made in local newspapers at that time, but the visit of Commissioner and Mrs. Booth-Tucker in April, 1926 did prompt the report in the Bournemouth Visitor's Directory:

It should be added that the meeting on Sunday afternoon was much helped by the music of the Boscombe Citadel band who, under Bandmaster G. Antell, played selections before and during the meeting. Their rendering of Gloria from Mozart's Twelfth Mass was impressive.

In 1926 Gilbert Antell retired as bandmaster, handing over to Percy Howard, who had acted as his deputy since 1915. Never wanting to become bandmaster, the solo cornet player assumed responsibility for the band only until the arrival of Bandmaster Walker, and gave valued service as acting bandmaster during this period.

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