Glorious Day Crowned With A Call For 'More!'

Bandstand Concert, Abbey Park, Kenilworth - Sunday, 3rd July, 2016

     Stour Concert Brass visited Abbey Fields Park in Kenilworth, on Sunday, 3rd July for their latest bandstand concert. The weather was kind and there was a good audience throughout.      

     It was great to have our friends from Singapore back with us again The Hill family are here for a slightly longer stay this year and the influx of five players was most welcome. The varied programme was much appreciated and we were able to feature the horn section in ‘Hey Jude’ and the front row cornets were featured in ‘Three Jolly Airmen’. Luke Barker was in stunning form with Tico Tico and Neil Kelsall gave a delightful performance of ‘Music Of The Night’ from Phantom Of The Opera.

     The shouts for ‘more’ after the final piece reflected the tremendous reception we received all afternoon. Chris and Bethan Bown deserve a special congratulation as they attended a christening near Blackpool jumped in the car and drove back down the M6 to arrive bang on time. Excellent planning!

Success Comes Charlotte's Way . . .

Charlotte Hill Gets  Letters After Her Name - 17th August, 2016

Visitors to our website may recall a return visit by the Hill family from Singapore, who all play brass. Dad Adrian, mum Lisa and their three daughters, who we were delighted to see again in 2016 as they took their annual vacation here in the U.K., a greater part of which they spent with Shipston Town Bands.

     The whole family are now back to regular term-time activities, however, it seems Adrian and Lisa have been stricken by ill health, but are responding to medication and hope to back to top form later this week. That hasn't stopped their eldester daughter, who has with an understandable sense of pride achieved diploma status on her trombone,which along with the certificate means she can now add the letters A.T.C.L. after her name - "Way to go Charlotte!".

        We're sure both she, her sisters and mum and dad are delighted with this news, as are we. Charlotte is a very talented young lady, whom we hope to see again in the future if they decided to take a U.K. holiday. It's always great to hear from former members of Shipston Town Bands and the Hills are no exception - hope to see you again soon Charlotte!                                                                                                         G. Sharp - 1st August 2016

Ms. Kench (Former Junior Band member) Wedding - Friday August 12th

     Periodically our band gets a pleasant alternative to concerts, bandstands, fetes and the like - A Wedding, ‘now we likes a wedding’, particularly when there’s a Band connection.

     Friday, 12th August was such a booking as 15 members drawn from both the Shipston Town Band and Stour Concert Brass played for the wedding of Ms. Vikki Kench as she and her husband-to-be were joined by family, friends and band at St Edmunds Church in Shipston at a church service to celebrate their marriage.

     Jim Kench, the brides father, gave over 40 years service to the band and Vikki herself was a former member of our Shipston Junior Band so it was with great pleasure that the band supplied the music.

     The band was conducted by another former member of the Town Band, Charlie Cox and the band played for the entry and exit of the married couple, as well as playing for the hymns during the service, and also during the signing of the register.

'Jim Calls In The Brass For Daughter's Wedding'

Stour Stay Calm On A Blustery Weekend!

     The weekend of the 20th and 21st of August proved a very eventful one. Tysoe Show is a fun job to do and has a lot of attractions on offer. We had an extra ingredient this time with a gale force wind which made even keeping the music on the stands a work of art. Stands were blown over even one gust blew over Amy Matthews drum kit.

     Principal cornet Luke Barker was very resourceful and brought a supply of plastic fence posts which he hammered into the ground and these held his stand and the soloist stands in place.

     The band played its normal varied programme and featured the horns in the ‘Hey Jude’ and the cornets in ‘Three Jolly Airmen’ as well as cornet solos from Luke Barker, Bethan Bown and a Euphonium Solo from Colin Elliott.

     With all the regular bass players unavailable the band was very grateful for the help received from Avonbank’s Alan Robbins who held the fort on his own all afternoon and did a tremendous job. Avonbank’s Andrew Scarborough also helped on solo trombone and their help was much appreciated.

     Sunday saw a small band of fourteen players travel to Meon Vale which is a new village built on the side of the former Royal Engineers camp at Long Marston for a ‘Songs Of Praise’.

     Having arrived to find the hall had been double booked, the band and organisers carried chairs to a sheltered spot to carry on outside only for it to start raining. After everything was returned, the congregation and band moved en-bloc to the village hall in nearby Quinton. Despite all this we only started fifteen minutes late and all had a fantastic time.

     Our small but well balanced group played really well and it was a special event for Kieran Bown who has just had his ninth birthday and is now our youngest member having performed with band for the first time.

     The band have been booked to return for a ‘Christmas Songs of Praise’ on Saturday, 10th December, 2016 and look forward to entertaining the folk of the Quinton area again as part of their festive celebrations.

Kieran Makes Up New Family Trio     

Over the years brass bands have tended to be very family based, as brothers, sisters, mums and dads have so often featured amongst the membership, so it is with pride Stour Concert welcomes another family member to their midst.

     Kieran Bown joins dad Chris on the back row of the cornet rank as he proudly takes his place in our concert band having developed his musical talents at school. Kieran had previously ‘dipped his toe in the water’ with Stour as he joined them playing carols last Christmas and had been seen collecting some time before, so there’s little surprise that he’s joined in the band as a full playing member.

     His sister Bethan too is in the band as part of our successful front rank line-up, regularly heard and seen playing solos and joining her colleagues in trios and cornet features. So we say welcome to young Kieran and look forward to great things in the future as he becomes our latest new member, joining the ranks of so many, dads, mums, sisters and sons who have enjoyed their time spent brass banding over the years - many of whom them are still with us today.

Texas Jack

Rides Into Town!

     2016 has certainly been the year for foreign visitors.

     We enjoyed our second visit from the Hill Family from Singapore and also had a visit from Clive Burnell a friend of Liz Smith from her days at Gisborne Band in New Zealand, so we were only too pleased when Jack Robertson of the Austin Brass Band from Texas contacted us through the website and wondered if he could join us for a rehearsal when he was holidaying in the area.

     He really wanted to have a blow with a British Brass band and got to play with not one but two as he joined the rehearsal of Stour Concert Brass and Avonbank Band for their forthcoming joint concert in aid of the Tracey Sollis Trust, on Friday, 23rd September, 2016. We provided him with a baritone and he had a most enjoyable evening

     Featured on the pictures are Jack Robertson, Steve Lane, Nick Smith, Luke Barker and Gordon Sharp.

Massed Band Concert, Bengeworth Church, Evesham - Friday, 23rd September, 2016

     An enthusiastic audience at Bengeworth Church enjoyed an excellent joint concert from Stour Concert Brass and Avonbank Band as £400 was raised for the Tracey Sollis Trust to help fund its work in Leukemia Research.

     Both bands presented individual programmes before joining forces concluding the programme with the atmospheric ‘Highland Cathedral’ and conclude a thrilling evening with the ever popular ‘When The Saints Go Marching In’. 

Stour Help To Re-Roof Church

Roof Appeal Concert - Friday, 14th October, 2016, Cherington Parish Church

     When the church was targeted by thieves who stripped the lead from the roof the church was faced with a leaking roof and a large bill to put the damage right.

     The band’s young Principal cornet Luke Barker regularly worships here and the band offered to perform a concert to help raise funds. Friday, 14th October saw the big day arrive. The church was absolutely packed and the band gave an inspired performance.

     From the opening march ‘The Waltonian’ to the closing notes of ‘Highland Cathedral’ the band was on top form. Luke Barker played ‘Tico Tico’ to sustained applause and his young colleague Bethan Bown also rose to the occasion with a fine performance of ‘Solitaire’.

     Solos from Eugene Gratwohl and Colin Elliott were tinged with sadness as this was to be the final performance for Colin our popular Solo Euphonium who is leaving the band to join Avonbank Band. The band was thanked profusely by the vicar who persuaded the band to reprise the theme music from ‘The Great Escape’ to wish the audience on their way home.

     It was great to have the support of Band President Ronnie Murphy who was very impressed with the standard of performance and also enjoyed the fact that like the audience she recognised most of the tunes.

     The evening proved a financial success and over £600 was raised for the roof fund of the church.

Stour Returns To Wellesbourne

Harvest Festival Concert - Friday, 7th October, 2016, Wellesbourne Methodist Church

     Every year for the past seven years we has visited the Methodist Church in Wellesbourne for a concert on Harvest Festival weekend.

     The performance saw a stunning performance of ‘Tico Tico’ by Principal Cornet Luke Barker and solos by euphonium player Colin Elliott and baritone player Eugene Gratwohl who played ‘Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair’ and ‘Donegal Bay’ respectively. Bethan Bown played a cornet solo ‘Solitaire’ and the horn section were also featured with in ‘Hey Jude’.

     Before concluding with ‘Highland Cathedral’ the band celebrated the church’s Harvest Festival with a lively version of ‘Bringing In The Sheaves’ by William Himes. Solo Cornet Grace Coates was flying from Birmingham at 4 a.m. the next morning on a school but was still determined to play a part in the concert so played the first half before leaving to finish packing. Her dedication was much admired by audience and band alike. As usual the band were provided with excellent refreshments.

Harvest Time In Great Wolford

Harvest Festival Service - Sunday, 2nd October, Great Wolford Parish Church

     Much loved by the band every year the band performs for the harvest festival service before enjoying a superb buffet lunch at the church.

     The band played a lovely arrangement of ‘Penlan' before the service and after the service played Evelyn Glennie’s ‘A Little Prayer’ and the ever popular ‘Bringing In The Sheaves’ by William Himes. A super morning was concluded with a repeat booking for next year on the spot.

Fayre Stour Performance

Autumn Fair - Saturday, 1st October, 2016, The Manor, Bourton-on-the-Hill

     Cornet player Roger Rippin oversaw a visit to a new venue with a visit to Bourton-on-the-Hill where the band played for an indoor autumn fair at the Manor House.

     The performance in the old Tithe barn proved very memorable and was well received. It was very gratifying to have so many people coming up to congratulate us on our performance. Vaughan Williams ‘English Folk Song Suite’ and various Andrew Lloyd Webber items were among the items that people recognised and thanked us for.

     Over the years  Shipston Bands have found themselves in a variety of different venues, from castles to village halls, greens to gardens. This year found Stour in the unique setting as the band set up in a 16th Century Tythe Barn which gave the instrumentalists a superb setting to entertain visitors in the recently restored building as the band were sited with this magnificent Tudor-style staircase as a backdrop for the bands fine playing. Naturally during the break, members available themselves of the generous slices of cake on sale at this venue - so once again Stour Concert followed the French Queen's advice to - "let them eat cake!"

Big Brass Brings Cathedral Finish To Bengeworth Church

     Both bands presented solo items with Stour Concerts Luke Barker drawing many admiring glances for his performance of ‘Tico Tico’ and Avonbanks Steve Lane performing the ever popular ‘Nessun Dorma’ and Kevin Hamby a humorous performance of the Eb Bass Solo ‘Bare Necessities’.

Theo has a 'Whalley' of a Time


   Congratulations to Concert Brass's young cornet player Theo Whalley Hoggins who has passed his Grade 4 exam with merit.

    On Saturday Theo competed in the final of the brass section of the Banbury Young Musician Competition where he played Russian Galop and was placed second. Well done Theo

Luke Barker Takes His Chair for the 2017 The N.Y.B.B. Of Great Britain

     Congratulations to Luke Barker who has just started his first course with the National Youth Brass Band Of Great Britain. 14 year old Luke had to audition for his seat and is sitting number 8 out of 13 solo cornets.

     This is tremendous for one of the younger members There are about 28 cornets in total. Luke has a week of intensive playing before concerts at Cambridge on Saturday and the Barbican in London the following Saturday.

     The 'eagle-eyed' amongst our visitors who know look, will no doubt have spotted him in the blue, white-striped jumer and jeans, end chair, second row from the front on the left.

Grace Goes Takes Grade Six With Distinction!

     Congratulations to our young solo cornet player Grace Coates who has passed her Association Board Grade Six examination with distinction.

     Grace’s lyrical playing is an aspect of musicianship that is so admired within the Town Bands, particularly Stour Concert Brass where she is a regular contributor, playing a many a delightful solo, as well joining the line-up with her friends in duets and quartets within the band. A regular successful entrant in solo competition, Grace is testament to how hard work and commitment to her competence and skill on her cornet can reap some very satisfying rewards. It goes without saying how proud we are of Grace and congratulate her accordingly - well done Grace!

     A fine, dry April Sunday morning saw Stour Concert Brass out on the streets of Stratford-upon-Avon as members of the local churches came together to celebrate Good Friday with their annual Witness Event.

     The event which sees a gathering of local folk meet on Waterside close to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre to start their celebration to mark the day when hymns and prayers are sung and said at three destination: The Swan Fountain, opposite the Town Hall and finally outside the Library in Henley Street, prior to the cross, which heads up the procession through the streets, being placed at the head of Bridge Street.

     This has now become an annual event for Stour and has proved to be a rather enjoyable first outing for available members of the band in their performing year. A smart turnout of instrumentalists of all ages once again arrived to accompany the hymn singing at this event.

Witness Event Sets Stour Off On Another Successful Year . . .