Conductor David Birch - Is a familiar face in brass banding circles, being an extremely experienced  euphonium player, having spent many years encouraging and mentoring many future players, he launched the community-based concert band to complement Shipston Town and Training Band.






3rd CORNETS:    



1st Eb HORN:

2nd Eb HORN:


2nd EUPHONIUM:     









Stour Concert Brass is the 'new kid on the block' founded by conductor David Birch,  the  brass band has proved highly succesful with players and audiences alike. The band welcomes players of all abilities and proves the next stop for players after their early training, as well as experienced players as an alternative to contesting. The band meet every Friday evening and fulfill a full engagements calender throughout the year.

Bob Pitts

Kieran Bown

Charlotte Gasson, Laura Holme, Nick Smith,

Karen Wears

Caroline Banks,  Jim McLeman,

Anne Witts,

Chris Bown, Roger Rippen  

Mike Butler

Mary Cox, Karen Pitts

Norma Begley

Angie Weaver

Eugene Gratwohl

Alan Birch, Keith Hudson

Gordon Sharp

Tim Banks

Rufus Gallagher

Sandra Butt

Richard Barker

Alan Robbins, Ken Smith

Roy Flitcroft

Jo Smith

we know you're out there

     And exactly who are we talking about - all those former bandspeople 'just taking a break', all those former players having 'a rest' or perhaps looking for somewhere new.

     For 'those taking a break', well it's time to open your instrument case and blow the cobwebs out of that: Trombone, cornet or bass, for those former players it could be time to catch up with a little banding and for those who are playing and fancy pastures new - here we are!

     Stour Concert Brass is not Black Dyke, but somewhat of a success story, as a number of years ago Dave Birch, alarmed at the retention of experienced players and an idea for somewhere for new, players from our Training Band to go.

     We are a concert band, we don't contest - we are a gathering of experienced and less-experienced new players who get together every Friday at 7.45 just for the pleasure of playing as a group.

     The results of this idea has been quite surprising, from just a few players over twenty years ago, Stour now has over twenty players on its books and has turned out to be quite a tour de force locally, entertaining audiences throughout South Warwickshire, from bandstands, to fetes, shows and concerts.

     So if this appeals to you, why not call-in one Friday night around 8 p.m. and take a look at us, you will be made most welcome.

bass players please!

     As the 'we know you're out there' article suggests, we have over the last twenty years we have built a full-strength community brass band.

     However, there is just the 'small' matter of one weak spot - Eb and Bb bass players, we get by thanks to the stirling efforts the likes of Ken Smith, Alan Birch and Alan Robbins, but our Santa's list obviously has four bass players, so if you're out there an you're looking for pastures new - get in touch, we'll be delighted to hear from you.

     If you don't play and fancy a go on one of our magnificent Eb or Bb basses, we can fix that for curious 'wannabe' brass bass players.

just for the record

     Three weeks ago the band was rather intrigued as David Birch announced there was a little something different on the cards for Stour Concert Band at the end of November as an initiative to celebrate ‘the band back in the bandroom’ was to involve Shipston Town Bands.

     Darren Lea currently in the line-up for Fodens Band had made contact as some  money was available to enable bands in Warwickshire to record a video, containing three pieces, two of their own choice and one all bands would play.

     The selected piece for all bands was the Ray Farr arrangement of the Barry Manilow hit ‘One Voice’, which featured Stour euphonium Eugene Gratwhol, the ultimate goal of this piece was that euphonium Steven Mead would commence the solo to be joined by all the euphoniums and bands recorded.

     David’s choice for Stour’s offering was Kenneth Alford’s well known march The Middy and a well loved hymn tune arrangement by David Bishop-Rowe of Clement C. Schofield’s ‘St. Clement’, better known as The Day Thou Gavest

     David’s choice for Stour’s offering was Kenneth Alford’s well known march The Middy and a well loved hymn tune arrangement by      David Bishop-Rowe of Clement C. Schofield’s ‘St. Clement’, better known as The Day Thou Gavest. The next couple of Fridays saw Stour polishing up their contribution and on Friday, 12th November, members arrived to find Darren setting-up his video equipment for two final takes of the selected pieces.

     Things got off to a good start as at 8 p.m. a full band made a start and by 9.15 the recordings were in the bag and members left having enjoyed a successful and enjoyable evening. The bands own percussionist was absent through injury so kindly stood-in Alec Banner for Roy Flitcroft.

     At the conclusion both David and Darren were very impressed with the band’s impressive and accomplished performance, crowned by Kieran Bown’s fine cornet playing in St. Clements.

here there and everywhere

     Which would seem to be a pretty accurate description of Stour Concert Brass and Shipston Town Band, who entertain with festive fayre as Shipston Town BandS at this time of year.

     The Band Secretary presents an extensive list of over forty engagements beginning at the end of November right up until and including the big day itself.

     From Christmas Light Switch-Ons, supermarkets, event bookings and bringing carols to the streets of Shipston-on-Stour, members fulfill a pretty heavy schedule each year, both to present the band and brass banding to their many fans and public at large, and also as a valuable fund raiser, as the majority of the bands funds are raised by the band itself by public performance.

     The last couple of years, as we all know, have been pretty restrictive, but towards the end of 2021 our bands were not only able to rehearse again, but make public appearances.

     At present as the dark pre-Christmas nights arrive, the easing of restrictions have enabled us to get out and entertain once again. The support shown to our bands by the folk of Shipston is greatly appreciated and members from our Town BandS are making their way around parts of Shipston to say thank you, as well as attending a host of countywide engagements.

2022 gets off to a good start

     Unfortunately Covid is still with us, hanging around like a bad smell we would sooner be rid of!

     But Friday, 7th January saw a near full compliment of players turn out on a cold first rehearsal of the year and it really was quite bracing in the band room, the heaters were on, but Covid requires open doors and windows, masks and the like. But this did not stop the over twenty members of the band turn up and tackle the new pieces for this year's programme.

second home to some . . .

     What started as an idea by conductor David Birch to retain some and a place for new players to aspire to.

     Stour Concert Brass has become somewhat of a second home to players from other bands who are keen banding types. Players from other local bands can now often be found on Friday nights sat with our resident players enjoying an end of week blow.

     There's no contests to worry about, just producing good, entertaining music that ends up forming the bulk of Stour's public entertainment programme throughout the year, in concert halls, bandstands and show grounds. Since its inception, Stour has enjoyed a fine reputation for the quality of its programme and playing throughout the Midlands. So if you fancy an extra blow, come along and say hello.

a principal with distinction

     It's not that many years past that a very young Kieran Bown stood, collecting box in hand, in front of one of our many Christmas Groups outside Tesco.

     Following in the footseps of dad Chris and sister Bethan, this young chap took up cornet and now, a number of years later holds the Principal Cornet position in the highly successful Stour Concert Brass, one of the two successful bands that form part of Shipston Town Bands.

     Kieran has shown what he's made of, serenading audiences with the odd solo or too, but has now cemented his ability by passing his Grade Eight with Distinction at the age of 14, so it is with pride we say well done Kieran!

never heard that before

     There was a time when 'tuned percussion' was purely the preserve of the championship bands and way out of the league of most lower section brass bands, let alone concert brass bands like Stour.

     Fair dues, the odd kit player was often available to us and over the last few years Roy Flitcroft from Royal Leamington Spa has filled the bill, but recently Jo Smith has popped along on timps and had David scrambling for something he's not needed before 'percussion parts'.

     Naturally were thrilled to see Jo and look forward to bringing some percussion to our highly successful concert brass band.


     Yes, a recent telephone call to the Band Secretary certainly proved that, as former Shipston Town Band euphonium player and stand-in conductor, Ian Young rang informing David he was on holiday nearby and could he arrange to meet up with David and his brother Alan.

     Ian was a member of the band when Dave joined and played Euphonium alongside his father, Ben, in the very successful band around 1960. Obviously Dave invited Ian to a rehearsal of Stour Concert Brass where they could meet up and would provide an opportunity to show our visitor the band’s archive both on the band hall walls and also on Dave’s computer.

     When a member of the band he had conducted the band if our conductor Bert Smith was unavailable and did so at a contest at Cholsey near Oxford when Bert was unavailable, winning two first prizes. On the occasion of the band's 75th Anniversary, in 1987, he returned to conduct the test piece ‘In Switzerland’ by Eric Ball, which brought the band much success.

a blast from the past

good day for shipston trio


     Three of our youngsters travelled to Oxford to take part in the Brass Festival organised by the Oxford and District Brass Bands Association.

     They each played two solos and achieved a very high standard. Alec Banner won the ‘Percussion Section’ with an excellent performance on his marimba and repeated his success in the ‘Junior Solo Championship' for extended technical music up to 19 years of age to win the largest trophy on display which had been last won by Luke Barker, Tallula Matthews was placed second in the '12 to 14 Solos’ and third in the ‘Air Varie section’.

     Rufus Gallagher gave excellent performances in both sections and was awarded a large shield as the ‘Best Boy’ and found he was following on a long tradition of Shipston Winners from Luke Barker back to Matthew Cox, Leo Roberts and back as far as Christopher Stanley for those with long memories.

     Bert Smith’s, the band's conductor had a favourite march, ‘The Middy’  by Kenneth Alford, and as it was currently in the pads it was an ideal choice for Ian to conduct, an experience he really enjoyed.

brass and rugby for the bowns

     Bethan Bown was home from Cardiff University recently and joined her brother Kieran, Stour Concert's Principal Cornet and former bandmates at Stour Concert Brass for an evenings rehearsal.

     Kieran's other love, apart from playing cornet, is Rugby and it was great for him to dep. with his sister in Cardiff University Brass Band at Cardiff Arms Park, prior to a match between Cardiff Blues and Scarlets, making for a great day.

Happy trio: Rufus Gallagher, Alec Banner and Tallula Matthews.

worcestershire destination for first outing of 2022


     It's been really great for the folk of Shipston Town Bands to rehearse - but for what?

     Well engagements just like Sunday, 15th May, 2002 - that's what. Whilst the weather may not have been ideal, a little spotty and all that, the boys and girls of Stour Concert Brass enjoyed a rewarding day at Droitwich Lido bandstand and spent a worthwhile afternoon entertaining a small crowd during the afternoon.

     A little prestigious too as they were joined by the town mayor who arrived to introduce the band and declare the first of this seasons bandstands, well and trully open.

     Stour put on a programme with many familiar pieces as well as several new pieces for this year, commencing their afternoon with one piece formerly used for the BBC Listen To The Band programme, which is now sadly gone, 'Oh Listen To The Band,' and concluded with 'The Great Escape'.

     This new photo of the band says it all, judging by all the smiling faces at the conclusion of the afternoon.

JUBILIEE LUNCH, SHIPSTON SPORTS AND SOCIAL CLUB - SUNDAY, 5TH JUNE, 2022     Some chilly and damp weather did not put off the 25 hardy souls of Stour Concert Brass who entertained an enthusiastic audience for the Platinum Anniversary Lunch held at the Sports Club.

     There were plenty of things to do and see and the band added to this with their varied programme which included 'Barnard Castle March', 'The Bold Gendarmes' featuring the trombone section and a selection of music from 'Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat' before concluding with a medley of popular show tunes 'Breezin' Down Broadway'.

stour go 'undercover' for jubilee


     The programme ranging from 'Chatanooga Choo' and  'Rock Around The Clock' to Jackie Wilson's 'Reet Pette' drew many favourable comments and lots of applause.

'breezin' down' at long compton



Despite a mixture of blustery wind and sharp showers Stour Concert Brass drew an excellent audience for their visit to this brand new village show.