and Contests

“there’s nowt like a bit of competition”

Shipston Town Band and many of its members are dab hands at either entering and coming away with the silverware or putting up a creditable effort in local and national competitions.

This page is dedicated to the extra effort put in by the many capable musicians of Shipston Town Bands

Coventry and Warwickshire Brass Festival

Coventry and Warwickshire Brass Festival, Bablake School, Coventry - Sunday, 28th June, 2015

    On Sunday June 28th nine young members of Shipston Town Band entered various sections in their respective age groups at the Coventry and Warwickshire Brass Festival held at Bablake School in Coventry.

     In the youngest age group 10 and under Slow Melody we had five competitors.  Cornet players Sasha Turner was placed second and Theo Whalley Hoggins third out of 15 entrants. Seven years old Peter Coates also playing cornet received the trophy for the youngest boy.

    In the ’12 -to-14-years-old Slow Melody’ we had a clean sweep in the awards with our trio of cornet players Luke Barker, Grace Coates and Bethan Bown coming first second and third out of a field of 13 entrants

    In these two sections Luke Barker the Principal Cornet with Stour Concert Brass was awarded the best instrumentalist award.

    In the ’15-to-18 Age Group’ Sarah Davies our Euphonium player was placed second .

    All competitors were encouraged to enter the sight reading competition and out of a field of 28 entrants, Luke Barker was placed first and Sasha Turner third.

    Five different combinations were entered in the duet section and once again we achieved a clean sweep out of 12 entries. Luke Barker and Grace Coates were placed first with Grace joining Bethan Bown for second place and the young combination of Sasha Turner and Theo Whalley Hoggins coming third.

    There was a quartet section for players up to 19 years old and our young quartet of Luke Barker, Grace Coates Bethan Bown and Sasha Turner all under 13 years old were victorious playing ‘Battle Pavanne’ by the 16th Century Belgian Composer Tylman Susato.

    Three of our youngsters  cornettists Luke Barker, Grace Coates and Euphonium player Sarah Davies also took the chance to enter the open age air varie competition. They pitted their skills against the stars of local Championship section bands Jaguar Landrover and  Bilton amonst others. No prizes were earned but much valuable  experience was gained.  

David Birch, 27/06/2015

Musical Chairs And

Contest Thingamabobs!

Midland Area Brass Band Championships 2015 - Sunday, 8th March, 2015

     Sunday 8th March saw the band perform in Section 2 at the Midland Area Brass band Championships at Bedworth Civic Hall.

     The band performed ‘Variations on Maccabeus’ by Kevin Norbury. The piece was originally written for the Salvation Army and proved a most enjoyable piece to play and rehearse. The performance on the day marked the culmination of two months of concentrated rehearsal. This period presented the band with numerous problems more than the band had experienced in any previous contest.

     With solo cornet Anne Mercer still out of action after her fall from a loft ladder and solo cornet Simon Clifford making a move to Thurso on a six month contract replacements had to be sought to fill the gaps and Chris Bosley and Julia Jenkins came on board to help out. Rob Wallis joined to replace Bb Bass Ben Lewis Skeath who had moved to Leicester. Stour Concert Brass solo horn Mary Cox offered to fill in on second horn but due to registration problems when she had transferred to another local band we fell foul of the six month rule. Former member Martin Snape helped out when his current band Phoenix West Midlands folded.  Kate Oatley travelled 50 miles to help out on trombone but we still played with only two trombones. This whole scenario was played out against the need to change conductors when long serving conductor Howard Gibbs was finally  programmed to enter hospital for a heart operation. Dave Lea of Jaguar Land Rover kindly offered help but it soon became obvious to all concerned that it was going to be impossible to schedule the necessary rehearsals for both bands. Mark Allen of Bilton Band who had begun his contesting career with Shipston was asked to help and readily agreed.

     With all these changes going on how did the band do. On coming off the stage the band was buoyant and generally happy with their performance. We did not find favour with adjudicators but felt we had done ourselves justice. All concerned were full of praise for the bands young percussion team of Matt Lane and Amy Matthews.

     Two postscripts. Due to the vagaries of the NHS, Howard’s operation was postponed and he was scheduled to go in on March 15th so he was disappointed when he realised this as it meant he could have conducted the piece after all. Amazingly his operation was postponed again and will now take place on Monday, 23rd March. Mark Allen has kindly agreed to conduct the band until Howard’s return.

Up in Yorkshire Kirsty Abbots our most famous alumni had a very successful day at the Yorkshire Area with Carlton Main winning the championship section and Kirsty herself winning the prize for the best soloist of the day.                                                                                                                                                                                                              David Birch, 20/03/2015

     An aggregate of the scores in the two sections determines the winner of the overall champion trophy the Sid Peachey Cup. With a difference of only one point Grace Coates was awarded the trophy placing Luke Barker second and Sasha Turner third. Grace had scored highest in the Slow Melody and Luke in the Air Varie.


Eight-and Under:               Peter Coates

Nine-and-Under:              1st Theo Whalley Hoggins, 2nd Henry Fifield

Ten-and -Under:              1st Sasha Turner, 2nd Cian Pyne, 3rd Ed Coates

Thirteen-and-Under:       Luke Barker

Fourteen-and-Over:        Grace Coates


Fourteen-and-Over:     Grace Coates

Thirteen-and-Under:     1st Luke Barker,

                                         2nd Sasha Turner


Theo Whalley Hoggins, Sasha Turner,

Luke Barker and Grace Coates

For showing significant progress during the last twelve months.


Youngest Player:                    Peter Coates

Best Performance by a

player not in a senior band:  Theo Whalley Hoggins

Best performance by

a first time competitor:          1st Cian Pyne, 2nd Henry Fifield

Best Lower Brass:                      Ed Coates

Sweet Airs & Melodies on a November Eve!

Junior 2015 Solo Contest, Shipston Methodist Church - Saturday, 14th November, 2015

     This competition is by now becoming a regular feature of the banding year for younger members of Shipston Town Bands, which has provided junior musicians within the bands to compete against each other and has always proved a close fought event.

     This year proved no exception as Shipston Methodist Church was once again the venue for Shipston Bands Junior Solo Competition, on Saturday, 14th November when competitors who ranged from the age of seven years to fourteen of age, were judged by David Stanley, the conductor of Arrow Valley Brass.

     All competitors played a slow melody and three of our more experienced players performed an air varie, which ensured a thoroughly entertaining evening all round.

Banbury Young Musician of The Year 2016 - Qualifying Heats - Saturday, 16th January, 2016

Brilliant Day at Banbury

     Once again, a very successful day for some of our young players as they competed in the qualification rounds for the Banbury Young Musician Of the Year 2016.  Every entrant qualified for their finals.     

Beginners Piano: Sasha Turner

Junior Brass: Sasha Turner and Theo Whalley Hoggins

Junior Duets: Sasha Turner and Luke Barker

Intermediate Brass: Luke Barker and Grace Coates

Intermediate Duets : Luke Barker and Grace Coates

Ensemble the cornet choir of : Luke Barker, Grace Coates, Bethan Bown and John Bosley.

     The adjudicators of the cornet choir were so impressed with their playing that they asked them to play a short concert at the end of the Junior Section.

Banbury Young Musician of The Year 2016 - Finals - Saturday, 27th February, 2016

     Six young cornet players from Shipston Town Bands qualified for the finals of the Banbury Young Musician organised by the Rotary Club of Banbury and held at Sibford School on Saturday, 27th February.

     Competing in both solo and duet sections and also playing as an ensemble the youngsters enjoyed a lot of success. In the Junior Brass Sasha Turner was placed second with Theo Whalley Hoggins placed third. Sasha also won the Junior beginners piano and combined with Luke Barker to win the Junior Duet. Sasha was also awarded a separate trophy to reflect her success in a variety of different sections. In the Intermediate Brass Luke Barker was placed first with Grace Coates second. Luke and Grace then combined to finish second in the Junior Duets. Grace and Luke were then joined by John Bosley and Bethan Bown to form a winning quartet which was also awarded the trophy for the most entertaining performance for their performance of ‘Meisterschutzen’.

As a result of his excellent performance of ‘Meditation by Thais’, Luke was invited to be one of the two instrumentalists invited to take part in the area final to be held in Reading on Saturday, 5th March.                                                   David Birch, 27/02/2016

Cracking Finish For Shipston Cornets!

'The Shipston Six' - Luke Barker, Sasha Turner, Grace Coates, Bethan Bown, Theo Whalley Hoggins

and John Bosley, pictured together after a highly successful day at Sibford School.

Happy and smiling, Shipston's young entrants pictured here with other competitors.

Shipston Shine At Marlborough . . .

Oxford Brass Band Association Solo Competition  - Sunday, 24th April, 2016

After a number of weeks of extensive rehearsal a large group of youngsters and more experienced players set off for this years competition.      

     The competition was held once again at the excellent venue of Marlborough School in Woodstock.  

     With our accompanist Paul Webber we arrived at the school for the competition to begin. 9.30 a.m. saw the start of the solos which were held in two halls. The Nine-, Ten- and 11-year-old section drew a massive twenty-one-strong entry and meant a long wait for Ed Coates, Theo Whalley Hoggins and Henry Fifield. In Theo’s case the wait was worth it as he gave a good performance, was placed 4th  and was awarded ‘Best Cornet’ in the age group.

     The Eight-and-Under section saw two of the three competitors Alec Banner and Tallulah Matthews competing for the first time and how successful all our three competitors were. Alec Banner was placed first with seven-year-old Peter Coates second. Alec joined with Talulah Matthews to win the Under-Eleven Duet beating a number of more experienced pairs playing ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’.  In the Twelve-to-Fourteen Age Group, two of our regular competitors Luke Barker and Grace Coates were in direct competition in a field of twenty. Luke was place first and Grace was placed third giving excellent performances of their solos ‘Meditation From Thais’ and ‘Shepherds Song’.

     John Bosley competed in the Under-Nineteen Slow Melody and a delightful performance of ‘Misty’ earned him second place. Grace and Luke combined to win the Fourteen-and-Under Duets, and Grace and Megan Barker combined to win the Under-Nineteen Duet,. The quartet of Luke Barker, Grace Coates, Megan Barker and John Bosley gave an inspired performance of ‘Meisterschutzen’,  which was played without conductor.

     A lively performance of ‘That’s A Plenty’ won the Senior Quartet for Luke Barker, Grace Coates, Eugene Gratwohl and Dave Birch and this group, plus Neil Brownless won the Senior Quintet with a performance of  John Iveson’s  ‘Frere Jacques’.

     Alec Banner had a lovely surprise at the presentation when he found that his Mum’s picture of Alec with two trophies was photobombed by Adjudicators Tom Davoren and Ben Stratford to provide him with a wonderful memento of his first competition

     Luke, Grace and John all completed in the Air Varie Section and were in scintillating form. John showed off his tremendous  range in Virtuosity  whilst Graces’s lyrical version of ‘Carnival of Venice’ drew many advisors and Luke played Erik Leidzen’s ‘Tucker’, which earned him first prize. Luke Barkers award as the Best Boy Under-Fifteen topped off a superb day and made sure his mum has  a shelf full of trophies to polish.

Solo - Eight Years and Under

1. Lily Strentz (Bb Baritone) Coleshill Town Band

2. Felicity Angell (Bb Trombone) Bilton Silver (Rugby) Training Band

3. Victoria Cumshaw (Trumpet) Unattached

Solo - Nine, Ten and Eleven Years

1. Thomas Strentz (Bb Cornet) Coleshill Town Band

2. Sasha Turner (Bb Cornet) Shipston Town Band

3. Jimmy Scanlon (Bb Flugel Horn) Bilton Silver (Rugby) Training Band

Solo - Twelve, Thirteen and Fourteen Years

1. Luke Barker (Bb Cornet) Shipston Town Band

2. Callum Davis (Tuba)

3. Grace Coates (Bb Cornet) Shipston Town Band

Solo - Fifteen to Eighteen Years

1. Tom Cowan (Bb Euphonium) Bilton Silver (Rugby) Training Band

2. Jack Lythaby (Eb Horn) Lydbrook Band

Solo - Adult

1. John Emmett (Eb Horn) Filton Concert Band

2. Jodie Fisher (Bb Flugel Horn) Bilton Silver (Rugby) Band

3. Neil Kelsall (Bb Euphonium) Bilton Silver (Rugby) Training Band

Air Varie Solo - Fourteen and Under

1. Luke Barker (Bb Cornet) Shipston Town Band

2. Becky Strentz (Eb Trumpet) Coleshill Town Band

3. Grace Coates (Bb Cornet) Shipston Town Band

Air Varie Solo - Fifteen to Eighteen Years

1. Jack Lythaby (Eb Horn) Lydbrook Band

Air Varie - Adult

1. Jack Lythaby (Eb Horn) Lydbrook Band

2. John Jemmet (Eb Horn) Filton Concert Band

3. Neil Kelsall (Bb Euphonium) Bilton Silver (Rugby) Training Band

Duet - Eleven Years and Under

1. Ben Murray and Leo Dakin (Bb Cornets) Bilton Silver (Rugby) Training Band

2. Isobel Graham and Ben Murray (Bb Cornets) Bilton Silver (Rugby) Training Band

3. Imogen Angell and Felicity Angell (Bb Trombone/Bb Cornet) Bilton Silver (Rugby) Training

Duet - Fourteen Years and Under

1. Luke Barker and Grace Coates (Bb Cornets) Shipston Town Band

2. Grace Coates and Sasha Turner (Bb Cornets) Shipston Town Band

3. Artie Stubbs and William Thomson (Bb Cornets) Bilton Silver (Rugby) Training Band

Duet - Eighteen Years and Under

1. Luke Barker and Grace Coates (Bb Cornets) Shipston Town Band

Duet - Adult

1. Neil Kelsall and Samantha Edwards (Bb Euphoniums) Bilton Silver (Rugby) Band

2. Sheila Allen and Jodie Fisher (Bb Cornets) Bilton Silver (Rugby) Band

3. Luke Barker and David Birch (Bb Cornet/Euphonium) Shipston Town Band

3. Amy Wright and Samantha Edwards (Bb Tuba/Bb Euphonium)  Bilton Silver (Rugby) Band

Quartet - Fourteen Years and Under

1. Bilton Silver (Rugby) Training Band ‘2’

2. Shipston Town Band ‘B’

3. Bilton Silver (Rugby) Training Band ‘1’

Quartet - Eighteen Years and Under

1 Shipston Town Band

Quartet - Adult

1. Shipston Town Band

2. Bilton Silver (Rugby) Training Band

Special Awards - Youngest Boy:

Peter Coates, Shipston Town Band

Youngest Girl

Lily Strentz Coleshill Town Band

New Contest Has Successful First Voyage

W.M.B.B.A. Solo, Duet and Quartet Contest - Studley High School, Sunday, 8th May, 2016

Solo Duet and Quartet Contest 2016

     A fine May day greeted the Association’s inaugural competition at Studley High School.

     The contest proved a big success with entries coming from a wide area including Bristol, The Forest of Dean and Llangollen with big support from local bands Bilton and Shipston-on-Stour.  Adjudicators Nigel Hall and Dave Bishop Rowe were very impressed with the standard of performance and were particularly impressed with the number of parents who had not only taken up playing in support of their children but who were now performing at the contest themselves.

     Association Chairman Barbara Dunscombe summed up the feelings of everyone when she commented: “What a brilliant day - I’m shattered!” and who enjoyed it all particularly the youngsters early on in the day.

Studley Proves An Early Summer Winner . . .

W.M.B.B.A. Solo, Duet and Quartet Contest - Studley High School, Sunday, 8th May, 2016

     The youngsters of Shipston Town Band had a very successful day at the West Midlands Brass Bands Association Solo, Duet and Quartet Competition held on Sunday, 8th May at Studley High School.  

     Eleven-year-old cornet player Sasha Turner set the ball rolling with a fine second place in the ‘Eleven-Years-and-Under Solo’ section. Fellow cornetist Luke Barker and Grace Coates followed this with first and third places in the 'Fourteen-and-Under Solo' section. The two of them joined together to win the 'Fourteen-and-Under Duet' section with Grace and Sasha playing to finish second.

     The three of them were joined by Theo Whalley Hoggins to earn second place in the ‘Hymn Tune Quartet’ section and by eight-year-old Alec Banner to win the 'Eighteen-and -Under Quartet' section. Luke and Grace were also placed first and third respectively in the ‘Fourteen-and-Under Air Varie’ section before joining with Dave Birch and Val Trim to win the ‘Adult Quintet’ section. Luke rounded off a busy day joining with Dave Birch to win third place in the ‘Adult Duet’ section.

David Birch

     A group Shipston Town Bands talented youngsters visited the annual solo contest held today at Bablake School in Coventry.

     Once again their talents shone through and were rewarded with a whole load of trophies and podium finishes. There were many special highlights but the Band Secretary was particularly satisfied with the playing in the Fourteen-and-Under Duets where Shipston entered  five pairs and all

Shipston entrants played splendidly.

Shipston Players

Pull A Coventry

Cracker in June!

Coventry Solo Contest, Bablake School - Sunday, 26th June 2016

     Throughout the results were excellent and the quartet of Luke, Grace, Dave and Colin Elliot gave a great performance of ‘That’s A Plenty’ to finish second to Jaguar Land Rover whilst the Junior Quartet of Luke, Grace, Bethan and Sasha achieved their fourth consecutive victory playing ‘Meisterscutzen’. Tallulah Matthews who was our youngest girl competitor had an interesting start to the day when her Gran’s car broke down on the A46 and they had to arrive by taxi. Despite this she remained calm and gave two excellent performances.

     Grace did extremely well to compete in the duets and quartets despite the problems she is finding adjusting to life without the brace on her teeth and achieved some good results.

     Congratulations to Henry Fifield who achieved his first podium finish with a third place in the Ten-and-Under Solo, as the results below show, Luke had a very successful day and was awarded the trophy for the Best Instrumentalist Fourteen-and-Under.

The full results were as follows:

Solo Ten-Years-and-Under - Third: Henry Fifield;

Youngest Boy: Peter Coates (aged eight);

Youngest Girl: Talullah Matthews (aged eight);

Solo Eleven-to-Fourteen Years - First: Luke Barker, Third: Bethan Bown; Duets Fourteen-and-Under - First: Luke Barker and Grace Coates; Second: Grace Coates and Bethan Bown; Third: Sasha Turner  and Bethan Bown; Air Varie Junior Section - First: Luke Barker; Third: Sasha Turner; Quartet Under-Nineteen - First: Luke, Grace, Bethan and Sasha, played Meisterschutzen; Senior Quartet - First: Jaguar Land Rover; Second: Luke, Grace, Colin and Dave; Outstanding Instrumentalist Fourteen-and-Under: Luke Barker.

Shipston Town Band are victorious at Oxford Brass Band Contest

     On Sunday, February 26th, Shipston Town Band conducted by Howard Gibbs competed at Marlborough School in Woodstock in the Annual Competition organised by the Oxford and District Brass Band Association.

     Playing against nine other bands drawn from the Midlands, London Counties and the South West they performed St. Andrew's Variations by the Scottish composer Alan Fernie and were placed first by the adjudicator Nicholas Garman who complimented them on their sound and good ensemble playing. He awarded them 191 points out of a possible 200.

     In two weeks time the band will be competing in the Midland Area Championships at Bedworth and will be hoping to enjoy further success.