Five Long Service Awards, Seven Classic Conductors
and a First Class Cornet Soloist
When Shipston Town Band planned their gala Centenary Concert, they knew it had to be something special and on Saturday, 27th October, 2012, Shipston’s Townsend Hall witnessed just that, as a packed hall prepared to be delighted as the Band celebrated this most auspicious event.
The programme was just like a perfect cake: Layers of the confections that have made up the Band’s history. Test pieces - old and new, significant solos and features, and of course the cream that finished our celebration cake was the superb and delightful playing of former Principal Cornet from a few years back - Kirsty Abbotts.
The first layer of the cake was present as Howard Gibbs took the Band through their paces as they opened their performance with Kenneth Alford’s renowned march 'The Middy', after some rousing applause former Bandmaster Bert Smith’s personal favourite, the hymn tune 'Colne'. To Europe next as the band played a former prize winner for them in the guise of Eric Ball’s ever-popular piece ‘In Switzerland’, followed by Kirsty Abbotts as she opened the box and played ‘Pandora’ and followed that with an encore by playing the delightful ‘I Hear You Calling Me’. Bang up to date next as Howard lead the Band through Michael Buble’s ‘Haven’t I Met You Yet?’ which saw Pete Stevens take up the baton and conduct an old favourite from his era ‘All In The April Evening’. Another old friend in the guise of Dave Williams took the stage next as he took the Band through their paces with the spirited ‘Amparito Roca’, a particular favourite of another of the Band’s conductors - the late Dennis Abbotts, who so often slipped this number in at the start of any of his programmes. Finally Dave Lea concluded the Band’s first half, as he lead the Band through a piece from the ‘English Fok Songs Suite’ - ‘Folk Songs From Somerset’.
The first half action had not finished yet . . . as Shipston Junior Band who had waited patiently at the foot of the stage to present their set: Two pieces had been chosen by conductors Charles Matthews and Tim Wilson, first came Charles with ‘Mango Tango’ and then Tim with the popular ‘La Bamba’, which were well received by the audience. After this piece, the evening’s Master of Ceremonies Charlie Cox, invited the audience to take refreshments and purchase more raffle tickets! And so ended a successful first half for Shipston Band as the audience made their way from the hall.
The second half commenced with Stour Concert Brass, who had positioned themselves on the hall just in front of the stage and proceeded with a little advice from the 1940s insisting that were not to: ‘Sit Under The Apple Tree’ in true Andrew Sisters style, courtesy of this arrangement by bandsman Ken Smith. This lively ‘40s piece was followed up with something else from the USA an arrangement of the film theme of the same name - ‘Dances With Wolves’.
Not wishing to denegrate the efforts of the bands, our guests, soloists and the like came the highlight of all band concerts - THE RAFFLE! the drawing of which was capable conducted by a former conductor Mr. Charlie Cox.
Now sooner was the last raffle prize collected, than the lights dimmed, the curtains swept back to reveal Shipston Town Band who ripped through at speed the well known circus march ‘The Waltonian’ from the pen of J. J. Richards. After this express delivery, our old friend Pete Stevens mounted the stage and brought back memories of another late conductor of Shipston Band, the competent and gentle Welshman Richard Nash as the Band played the classic Welsh Melody - ‘All Through the Night’. Time now for some fire and a piece beloved of all cornet soloists down the years as Kirsty Abbotts successfully tackled ‘Hailstorm’ by William Rimmer and the applause was to prove that it really did go down a storm! Kirsty’s final offering proved a complete opposite to the tripping up and down of a waterfall of cadenzas in her previous piece as she offered up the popular and sublime ‘You Raise Me Up’ a cornet solo by Rolf Lovlund. This piece has enjoyed some success recently as one of the many boy bands chose it and as a result bands have featured this superb hymn tune regularly.
Dave Williams returned to the podium to offer us a well loved and appreciated piece from the pen of Sir Malcolm Arnold with the ‘Rondo’ from his ‘Little Suite for Brass’, a swift little number from a very distinctive suite that brought Shipston so many prizes in the past and on this occasion they executed it with an accomplished style. Charlie entertained the audience briefly as the Band got its breath back in readiness for David Birch’s solo and Dave Lea took over the stage from Dave Williams. Dave Lea brought the band in to Charlie Cox’s arrangement of the Glenn Miller classic ‘I Know Why’ and David Birch did the rest as he sonorously serenaded the audience with this fine solo for Euphonium, this piece had again seen a little silverware brought home after the Band’s numerous airings of this piece.
Proud recipients of the coveted Long Service Awards
Paul Sergent, Alan Birch, Paul Lay, John Smith and David Birch, show off their well earned awards.
‘And Now’ as they say ‘For Something Completely Different’. Not a Note was played, not a fanfare in sight, but we did get to meet another old friend of Shipston Town Band - Mr. Dave Stanley from Arrow Valley Band who appeared in an official capacity for the Brass Band Association to present Five Long Service Awards for long serving players from Shipston Town Band who received framed awards to reflect over 50 years service to brass bands in general and Shipston Town Band in particular. Soprano player Paul Lay played for Coventry School of Music (now City Of Coventry) Poynton and Shipston. Solo Cornet John Smith saw service with both Shipston and Jaguar Cars. Solo Euphonium David Birch, his brother and fellow Euphonium Alan Birch and Bb Bass Paul Sargent have only been registered with Shipston during their playing careers. Next year 2013 Paul Sargent will have completed 60 years with the band.
The presentations done Shipston Town Band sadly reached their last piece of the evening, Howard Gibbs returned to the stage to take them through something new, the big band number by Jim Swearingen 'Valero' which had closed the Band’s programme at this years Wychavon Festival of Brass . . . but we weren’t at an end quite just yet. Charlie Cox thanked all those to be thanked and then took the stage to conduct the final pieces - Stour Concert Brass and Shipston Town Band were now joined by one or two older members and for one night only the two ensembles formed a massed band and struck up with ‘The Chieften’ by J. Jubb followed by Charlie Cox’s arrangement of Wild West themes in his arrangement, simply called ‘Cowboys’. Hard on the heels of these two pieces and the audience stood for ‘The National Anthem’.
A gathering of conductors: (from the back, left to right):
Tim Wilson, Charles Matthews, David Birch, Howard Gibbs, Pete Stevens Dave Lea and Dave Williams.
Seven Conductors In One Night
When Shipston Town Band celebrated their centenary concert on this Saturday they were fortunate to have no less than SEVEN conductors on parade. Howard Gibbs led the Town Band through most of the programme but three former conductors returned to conduct TWO items each. Dave Lea M.D. of JaguarLandrover Band who conducted the bands in the ’90s, Dave Williams who conducted the band in the late ’80s and early ’90s and Peter Stevens who was the band’s conductor in the ’70s and early ’80s all brought their expertise to bear. Stour Concert Brass the band’s non contesting arm was conducted by David Birch and Shipston Junior Band was conducted by Tim Wilson and Charles Matthews. Kirsty Abbotts Principal Cornet of Carlton Main Frickley Colliery and Shipston’s most famous Alumni was the band’s guest soloist. With seven conductors and the sheer excellence of her playing a great concert was almost a foregone conclusion.
and finally . . .
In concluding this editorial it is only fitting that after thanking ‘on the night’ as it were, so many, we must never forget - all the others. All the men and women, who through the years added their contribution to make Shipston Town Band what it is today, to them too, we say thank you, everyone of you . . .
It’s official . . .
We’re 100 Years Old
Shipston Town Band 1914 - Conductor Charles Holman
In 1945 the good folk of Shipston celebrated the end of the Second World War, three later they celebrated the ‘Austerity Olympics’ and in 1952 a new Monarch. Of course this year once again Shipston folk will celebrate 60 years of Elizabeth II’s reign, along with the 2012 Olympics. But this year in the Warwickshire Town something just as important takes place . . .
When it was announced 'we' were to have a ‘big society’, it’s doubtful as it came as something of a surprise to the folk of Shipston - they’ve been running their own for years! With a plethora of thriving clubs and societies which the Town can be justifiably proud is Shipston-on-Stour Town Band . . .
Take a look at the photos of just some of the local businesses that gave us there support by agreeing to include band memorabilia in their windows displays
Charles Holman with the pre-War Band
All those other anniversaries on
May 16th down the years
takes its first steps.
This was the year Charles Lindberg planned a little trip to Paris later that year, the First Translatlantic Aeroplane Flight. Two other aces were due to fly earlier this year, but had a bit of a bust up and missed the opportunity.
reaches it’s first milestone.
Whilst the Town Band celebrated its 25th, the Hindenberg Airship crashed, the Spanish Civil War raged, the French had a General Strike, George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) ascended the throne, Neville Chamberlain become our new Prime Minister, Wallis Simpson and our former King Edward VII married, The Hobbit, Snow White and the Dandy comic all turned up.
The Beatles, Stones
At this point the whole of Britain was allegedly swinging, four young lads from Liverpool auditioned at the Decca recording company (John, Paul, Ringo and Paul - The Beatles), Acker Bilk serenaded us with Stranger on the Shore, Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones made their debut performance, thanks to Telstar live television from America arrived, Marlyn Monroe left us, Dr. No arrived in the UK and President Kennedy told Cuba what to do with their missiles, courtesy of the USSR.
Marj, Homer, Bart,
Lisa and the Baby arrive
Yes this is the year ‘The Simpsons” made their appearance, the French and Disney signed up to build EuroDisney, the first ever Rugby World Cup took place, it was now estimate there were five billion of us living on this planet, we had a Black Monday as the stock exchange plummeted, naughty boy and jockey Lester Piggott when to prison for not paying his taxes, we and the French started to build the Channel Tunnel and Intercity 125 clipped along at 147.88 mph to break the World diesel powered train speed record.
A Queen, the Olympics
and a very special celebration
Well here we are . . . 100 at last and so much has change!!! All the Queens soldiers are still spread over much of the globe, as we celebrate in Warwickshire, many will in Afghanistan, Mayor Boris prepares to welcome the world to the 2012 Olympic Games, Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II prepares to host the party of all parties whilst the people “Pass the Torch” along its way to London, David Cameron and his pals endeavour to lead us out of yet another recession, in New York a pastel picture “The Scream” sells for a record US$120 million in an auction in New York City, setting a new world record for a work of art sold at auction.
More importantly members of Shipston Town Band old an new, commemorate the original march undertaken by that 1912 band, following its original route.
Hope you enjoyed that little wander down memory lane, I’m sure readers and band members have lots of their own, but we thought it might be fun just to remember each of the anniversaries and just a few of the notable events that occurred on those years.
From it’s humble beginnings as an amusing side bet between two local wags, that little acorn has blossomed to become the prestigious organisation we see today. Fiercely independent, “The
Town Band” has always endeavoured successfully to raise its running costs and the majority of its finance itself and largely with the support of local communities throughout the year has ensured it has always remained solvent, any support from other local bodies have always been for those exceptional things which sometimes proved a little more difficult to achieve.
Shipston Band circa 1930
Shipston Post Office’s window display
Many years ago a local businessman provided the Band with new instruments and The National Lottery Heritage Fund provided a new set of instruments a short while ago, the rest was all down to the Band. Building on a strong foundation and hard work put in by a succession of members down the years, Shipston Band now boasts not one band but three: Shipston Town Band, Stour Concert Band and Shipston Junior Band, the latter of which now boasts a training ensemble for new players of all ages.
The possession and ownership of a fine, modern, bespoke rehearsal facility, ensures the Band has somewhere to rehearse and practice seven days a week. A hard working and democratically elected committee from within the Band ensures it's always run efficiently by the members for its members for the benefit of the local community.
There are very few musical organisations who can proudly boast they provide 'FREE' training, instruments, facilities, tuition, music and where all the members have to do is turn up and provide the effort and commitment. So often membership of many organisations has a price tag attached - well not now or doubtfully ever is that the case with the Town Band.
Bert Smith with the Band in the Square on May 2nd 1953.
Bert Smith with the 1961 Band
The support of local organisations and businesses is paramount to the town band, with whose support the Band thrives, over the years a succession of local firms have lent their support to the Band, from individuals who played in or supported this wonderful local organisation. Naturally the Band has always repaid this debt to the town, a priority being available to support local functions whenever possible. The reach from this brass band is indeed long, at sometime or another they've gone a lot further than Brailes Hill to entertain or take part in events, from Harrogate to London, over the years has seen bandsmen, women and supporters either boarding coaches or travelling to support one of Shipston's premier musical bodies. Over the years silverware and certificates have been won and brought back as this gathering of locals return triumphant (and occasionally not) from their endeavours outside the town.
Shipston at Blackwell Fete 1964
Glen Coleman and Stan Everson with the Band for the
90th Anniversary in May 2002.
Those 'locals' drawn from a variety of destinations and distances from St. Edmund's Church all had one thing in common - uniform on and instrument in hand they represented Shipston Town and proud of it.
The support of local organisations and businesses is paramount to the town band, with whose support the Band thrives, over the years a succession of local firms have lent their support to the Band, from individuals who played in or supported this wonderful local organisation. Naturally the Band has always repaid this debt to the town, a priority being available to support local functions whenever possible. The reach from this brass band is indeed long, at sometime or another they've gone a lot further than Brailes hill to entertain or take part in events, from Harrogate to London, over the years has seen bandsmen, women and supporters either boarding coaches or travelling to support one of Shipston's premier musical bodies.
The Lavender Basket’s window display
Needlecraft’s window display
Rightons window display
The Bakery window display
Sheldon Bosley’s window display
Spencers’s window display
Taste of the Country’s window display
Over the years silverware and certificates have been won and brought back as this gathering of locals return triumphant (and occasionally not) from their endeavours outside the town. One of the Band's strengths has been not only its ability to provide a musical outlet for people in the town itself, but by the ability to draw musicians from far and wide, ask any of the current and past members and you'll discover a variety of destinations, nationwide. Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire and all points to the south of England, and of course our own county. Many years ago it was commented that "there are more folk in Shipston that have played in the Town Band, that are in it now" - how good is that and it doesn't stop there - visit any local village or town and somebody knows someone who used to, or still does play with Shipston Band. Over the years we've had a few that came from somewhere else and never went home: A cornet player whose retired now and left Sheffield, played with the Band for years and still lives in Shipston; there was another chap who escaped the fens of Lincolnshire, played for the Band for years, retired, but still does the web page, a father and his two sons who popped over to play - dad's sadly passed away but his boys are still there. The list is endless, it does make you wonder if on a busy day in the town if you asked all those present in the Square to put up their hand if they had belonged, played or had a relative in the Band at one time or another, how many hands wouldn't be raised.
Taste of the Country’s