Bud Nicholls this year’s Paris Gibson Award winner

Bud Nicholls of the Great Falls Municipal Band has been named this year’s recipient of the Paris Gibson Award.

Nicholls started as a teenager in the public schools and has been the lead music director and organizer of the Great Falls Municipal Band since the middle 1980s.

“From his dad’s (Harold Nicholls) Big Band to the Great Falls Municipal Band, he has made music accessible and fun in Great Falls,” according to a release from the Paris Gibson Award committee.

He performed trumpet with the band before taking over as director.

“Bud has transformed a bunch of random musicians into an amazing band to listen to, with only one rehearsal per concert. He has picked music that not only the audience enjoys, but that the band can perform well with limited rehearsal time. Bud’s favorite has been Henry Mancini which the audience has loved,” according to the release.

Nicholls has organize and performed with the Harold Nicholls Big Band, a jazz band dedicated to his late father. The band has performed at the Ozark Club in the History Museum and other venues in and around Great Falls.

Nicholls still runs a music store on Central Avenue in downtown Great Falls, but due to health reasons, he has passed the torch of the Great Falls Municipal Band board to Dusty Molyneaux and John Gemberling. Work formerly done by Nicholls will now be done by five people, according to the release.

To be eligible for the award, selected by previous Paris Gibson Award winners, a nominee must meet the following criteria:

  • currently a resident of Great Falls;
  • provided significant impact to the City of Great Falls;
  • provided leadership for the community through volunteerism; and performed selfless action for the betterment of the community.

The award winner will receive a $500 check provided by Jimmy and Debbie Filipowicz of Steel Etc, which may be given to a local charity of the winner’s choice; a tree, donated by Steve Tilleraas of Tilleraas Landscape Nursery, planted in West Bank Park in their honor, with a granite marker donated by Montana Granite; a plaque donated by Greg and Leanne Hall; a dinner for two at P. Gibson’s, donated by P. Gibson’s Sports Grill; and a ride in a 1918 Model T Ford at the Fourth of July Parade provided by Kurt Baltrusch of the Skunk Wagon Club.

Formal announcement of Nicholls as the winner of the 2022 Paris Gibson Award will be made during the first concert of the season by the Great Falls Municipal Band at 7 p.m. at the Mansfield Convention Center on June 29.

Susie McIntyre, chairman of the Paris Gibson Month Celebration Committee will make the announcement. The concert is free and open to the public.

Former winners are:

  • Doug Wicks, 2010;
  • Norma Ashby, 2011;
  • Greg Hall, 2012;
  • Ian and Nancy Davidson, 2013;
  • Gene Thayer, 2014;
  • Bill and Joan-Nell Macfadden, 2015;
  • Arlyne Reichert, 2016;
  • Sheila Rice, 2017;
  • Brad Talcott and Linda Caricaburu, 2018;
  • Chuck and Gerry Jennings, 2019;
  • Judy Ericksen, 2020;
  • David and Tanya Cameron, 2021.

For more information about the award, contact Norma Ashby Smith, 406-590-6798.