Clossal Cracker of a
Christmas for Shipston Bands
Christmas 2016 was undoubtedly the busiest in the band’s history with 52 jobs scheduled and all but two completed. As always the carols started to flow toward the end of November when the band began performing for the switch-on of Christmas Lights at various locations including this year Long Marston to go with regular visits to Wellesbourne, Bishops Itchington, and Tysoe. We shared our performance with an excellent choir from Quinton Junior School and interestingly they did not want us to play carols but upbeat Christmas music of which we had plenty.
The Victorian Evening in Shipston proved a massive success and the town was really swarming with people. The band played for the carol singing before playing its own programme and then adjourned to The Coach and Horses afterwards for its traditional celebrations.
The Town Band performed its Christmas Concert at the Townsend Hall to an excellent audience and was grateful for Anne Hume’s Christmas readings.
Supermarket playing was the mainstay of the band’s Christmas and no less than 8 supermarkets were visited. Budgens at Moreton-in-Marsh is our longest standing supermarket job and we were welcomed there on two occasions one of which saw the Junior band performing. On Friday nights the band split and played at both Sainsbury in Leamington and Waitrose at Stratford. We ventured to Banbury and played at Sainsbury and Tesco. Sainsbury at Wellesbourne was our base on Saturdays and we had a lovely spot playing round the Christmas Tree. Support for all these spots here and at Tesco was really good and mention must be made of the performance of our sousaphone player Keith Davies who signed for a full four hour session whenever it was offered.
The people of Shipston love to see and hear their band over Christmas and they were very pleased to hear us round the streets playing carols to them and also playing carols in the square on Christmas Eve. In fact Christmas Eve was as busy as ever with carol singing on the Green at Luddington followed by our customary visits to lead the carol singing at the White Hart at Newbold and the College Arms in Quinton where as usual Ding Dong was frequently requested.
Playing carols for the Stratford Freemasons Christmas was a new engagement and it was also enjoyable to play for residents at the MHA home at Bearley where cornet player Bethan Bown had done her Duke of Edinburgh Service.
Formal carol services are a regular feature of Christmas and we played at Moreton Fire College and our own Town Carol Service plus a session of carol singing outside the College Arms at Quinton.
The band has always played on Christmas morning and this year we met at Rainbow Fields Sheltered Housing before moving on to The Ellen Badger Hospital and then to a wonderful new event. Christmas Dinner was organised for those who had no one to share Christmas Dinner with. The transformation of the Townsend Hall was incredible and the band was pleased to be a part of it. Band President Ronnie Murphy accompanied the band on their visits. Christmas finished with our customary visit to Kath Roe who was presented with a lovely bunch of flowers.
It was nice to have former members helping us out and Emily Aston, Francesca Lombardelli and Adrian Birch joined us on Christmas Day.
The band owes thanks to its army of collectors without whom they would not have raised any funds.
The Band's Festive Run-Down for 2016 at a glance.
Saturday, 26th November
Bishops Itchington Lights
Fri., 2nd December
Sainsburys Leamington Spa
Tysoe Christmas Lights
Quinton - Carols 'round the tree
Moreton Fire College
Sainsbury Leamington Spa
Shipston Church, Lessons and Carols
Shipston Hospital, Stour Court, etc.,