Bratton Silver Band has been awarded funding from the Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants Fund and from the Brass Bands England Norman Jones Trust Fund towards its 160th Anniversary Project. The funding will support the commissioning of a piece of music about the ‘lost village’ of Imber, near Bratton. 

Imber is part of the MOD training ground on Salisbury Plain. Villagers were evicted in 1943 to provide an exercise area for troops preparing for the invasion of Europe and were not allowed to return to inhabit their homes. On a few occasions each year, when military activity ceases, the public are permitted to visit the village ruins.

The composer of the music, Christopher Bond, has been described as “one of his generation’s most exciting compositional voices for brass” and his work has been broadcast both locally and nationally. He has been chosen for his experience in composing music reflecting the atmosphere and history of memorable events and places and has visited to research this intriguing site, a ‘ghost’ village, once full of rural community life.

Bratton Silver Band members have participated in the Salisbury International Arts Festival activity “Imber: You Walk Through”. This was an imaginative immersive experience designed by Wiltshire Creative and stimulated thoughts and ideas for the composition.

The local community was able to contribute their ideas for the music through 'Imber – from Photography to Music’, a community engagement experience held as part of Bratton Silver Band’s 160th Anniversary Exhibition, held at Bratton Pavillion on Saturday 6th July. This included photographs of the band which dated back to the late 19th and early 20th century and a wide range of newspaper cuttings, programmes, posters and other memorabilia, including many clippings and photos of band member Vic Beer, who first performed with the band in the 1950s. The ‘Imber – from Photography to Music’ experience continued on the 20th, with visitors to Bratton Art in the Gardens participating in the shared memory project.