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Gary L. Gillett

The Missoula City Band
Missoula, Montana
The history of the Missoula City Band, in many ways, is a mirror image of the history of Missoula, Montana. Since Missoula’s virtual beginning—since the time Montana was only a territory and not yet a state—the Missoula City Band played.
Through two world wars, the Great Depression, through a surge of pioneers moving west, and into contemporary times, its horns blew, reeds vibrated, drummers drummed and cymbals crashed. And our community has enjoyed many great performances!
“The Missoula City Band: Stories in Time” reaches back to the band’s establishment in 1865, and brings you to the end of the Twentieth Century. Culled from the local historical record, including old newspaper articles, city archives, and oral interviews, it presents countless entertaining and illuminating stories of the band through history.
Learn about its maestros, its musicians, its triumphant as well as trying moments. From page to page, you will see that the spirit of Missoula has been embodied, since the town’s virtual start, by its band. And now, thanks to its current director, Gary L Gillett, and a supporting cast of several band members, we have this well presented and insightful look into the band’s history to enjoy.
Gillett recently retired after forty-one years of teaching music. He grew up in the Detroit suburbs, went to the University of Michigan and studied with the greats – including Dr. William Revelli! A command performance at Carnegie Hall capped the “eastern years”. He moved “out west” to Nevada briefly, and then home to Montana. A Master’s of Music Education from the University of Montana and a Fellowship to Northwestern University to study with Dr. John Paynter continued professional development. Conducting the Missoula City Band in weekly concerts at the Bonner Park Bandshell since 1993 has been the thrill of a lifetime for Gary.