Stour And Yarnton Aid For Kenya . . .

Massed Band Concert in Long Harborough - Saturday, 5th February 2016

     Stour Concert Brass travelled to Long Hanborough near Witney to give a joint concert with the local Yarnton Band. The concert was in aid of the Nasio Trust which supports under-priviledged children in Western Kenya.  

     The concert was part of a larger fund raising drive which included a sponsored climb of Kilimanjaro by the  team of organising mums. Each band played a short programme and Concert Brass included ‘The Waltonian’ a lively march, two solo items ‘Solitaire’ by Luke Barker and a delightful duet by Baritone Soloist Eugene Gratwohl and Solo Euphonium Colin Elliott concluding with ‘Swingtime Religion’ with Principal Cornet Luke Barker playing the thrilling jazz break. The bands concluded the concert by joining forces for a short programme which included ‘Do Re Mi’ from the Sound Of Music and the theme music from ‘Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines’.  The concert proved a financial success and raised almost £300.00  for the charities funds.

Keith Pens A Possible Winner . . .

   Composer and Bass player Keith Davis has good cause for celebration as one of his compositions looks destined for national success, aptly entitled "River Avon" it has been short-listed the finals of a national competition.

     Entered into the Salford International Composition Competitions Finals and Keith's piece will be performed by the RAF Central Band, on Friday, 15th April. Naturally Shipston Town Band and Stour Concert Brass are delighted to hear of Keith's accolade and send their sincere congratulations and will share in his delight should he succeed in this endeavour.

A Little Bit 'O Brass in Brailes . . .

Charity Concert, St. George's Church, Brailes - Saturday, 16th March, 2016

      On this particular Saturday evening St. George’s Church, Brailes, hosted an evening of music provided by Stour Concert to a full audience in aid of local charities, raising over £200.

     The proceedings with the lively American march 'The Waltonian'. A number of the bands soloists were featured including cornet players Luke Barker who performed 'Zelda', Bethan Bown, Grace Coates and Paul Herbert.

     The excellent duet of Eugene Gratwohl on baritone and Colin Elliot on euphonium gave a lovely melodic performance of 'To All The Girls I Loved Before'.

   The first half closed with an excellent performance by the Training Band conducted by Tim Wilson, who acquitted themselves really well with a performance of a selection of film music themes.

     The second half saw a full range of music including no less than six cornets featured in a double trio 'Three Jolly Airmen'. The concert concluded with ever popular 'Do Re Mi' from the Sound Of Music which saw the audience joining in heartily.

Concert Fit For A Queen

Ilmington R.A.F.A. Concert, Preston-on-Stour - Saturday, 10th June 2016

Burmington Bertie Strikes Again ! . . .

Burmington Village Fete - Saturday, 11th June 2016

      Saturday saw the band visit Burmington for their village show in a slightly different location in a field just behind the church and for once the familiar character of Burmington Bertie made his usual, albeit brief appearance.

The band’s varied programme drew sustained applause throughout the afternoon.  The cornet section were once again featured in "Three Jolly Airmen" and Colin Elliot achieved a near impossible feat when he combined the euphonium and baritone parts of the duet he normally plays with Eugene Gratwohl  into a delightful solo.

      Special mention should be made of Second Horn Angie Weaver who moved up the line due to other players missing and did a really good job. The organisers thanked us personally and booked us on the spot for Saturday, 10th, June 2017.

Smiling Faces on a Soggy Day . . .

Moreton-in-Marsh Hospital Fete - Saturday, 21st May, 2016

     Unfortunately a wet day confronted fete-goers and members of the band arriving early soon had a smile on their face, despite the inclement weather.

      Their humour was raised at the site of the wet weather facility which would have barely accommodated the bass section, let alone a full band, however, some quick thinking and reorganisation by the organisers found the band relocated ideally next to the tea tent - convenient or what - lovely cake too!

     The rain was persistent but not heavy and even a rendition of ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ had little effect. The band played its normal varied programme though the soloists decided to remain seated for once. Principal cornet Grace brought a smile to many when she gave an excellent performance of ‘When She Loved Me’ whilst protecting herself from the elements with an umbrella balanced on her shoulder. The performance drew consistent applause throughout the afternoon and we hope for a return next year.

Bandstand Concert, Abbey Park, Evesham - Sunday, 22nd May, 2016

     Abbey Park in Evesham the day following the previous days fete at Moreton-in-Marsh proved and slight improvement, not much warmer but at least it was drier.

     The Band’s programme drew sustained applause and a number of people approached the secretary after the performance complimenting the band on an entertaining programmes remarking how impressed they were with our youngsters, which was echoed in an impressive review published on Facebook  which pleased all the band members.

May Sunshine Makes For A Super Day By The Fishponds . . .

     Appreciation of the Band's musical efforts were not confined to humankind either as a visit by one of our members pet dogs proved.

Bit Wooley, But Certainly Not Sheepish . . .

Shipston Wool Fayre - Monday, 30th May, 2016

     Spring Bank Holiday Monday saw the band provide a musical opening to Shipston Wool Fair where all things ‘wooly’ were celebrated, sheep and all.

     The band struck up promptly  at 10 a.m. with the march ‘The Waltonian’ and the programme also included ‘Three Jolly Airmen’ played by five cornets which drew considerable applause from the assembled crowds. A lively arrangement of ‘Do Re Mi’ drew the short concert to a close as the official opening ceremony began.

     After speeches from Town Mayor and Band President Ronnie Murphy and the Duke Of Montrose the band played the fanfare ‘Kingsley’ to open the proceedings. It was great to see Charlie Cox (pictured right) the arranger in the audience applauding.

    The weekend of June 10th and 11th proved a very enjoyable weekend for Stour Concert. A double booking at Ilmington saw our R.A.F.A. concert relocated to Preston-on-Stour Village Hall where we found a friendly reception and some terrific acoustics. The band was on fine form presenting their usual varied programme to a very receptive audience. The soloists were all on song with some stunning performances.

   Grace Coates lovely sound in "When She Loved Me", the calm confidence of both Bethan Bown and Sasha Turner in "Solitaire" and "The Holy City" respectively was much admired. Eugene Gratwohl’s smooth silky sound in "Donegal Bay" and Principal Cornet, Luke Barker's thrilling performance of " Tico Tico" all drew applause in plenty.  To pay recognition to the Queen’s  90th Birthday the audience were given the chance to sing "Jerusalem", "Rule Britannia" and "Land Of Hope and Glory" and they responded with gusto. Keith Moule who organised the concert for RAFA thanked the band for their efforts and gave a vote of thanks before the band closed in thrilling style with "Do Re Mi".

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’. 

Good Friday Brass Shines

Good Friday, Stratford-upon-Avon - Friday, 25th March, 2016

     A beautiful sunny morning greeted the congregation who gathered by the Royal Shakespeare Theatre on Waterside Stratford-upon-Avon  as they gathered to take part in another ‘Procession of Witness’.

 The event, which has become and annual event on the Stratford calendar of prayers and hymns to celebrate the Passion Event which recalls the crucifixion of Jesus Christ once again saw Stour Concert Brass who provided the accompaniment for the hymns.

    The  Bands regular conductor David Birch remarked on the size of this year’s turnout,  as what previously had been a large group, this year proved to be a small band - sousaphone and all.

     Naturally the fine weather saw a large crowd gather as the event commenced on Stratford’s Waterside as Rev. Kay Dyer led the proceedings, after commencing here  the assembly made its way to pause briefly opposite the Town Hall and on to assemble outside the Library in Henley Street for the final hymn, before the worshippers followed the cross to its final resting place adjacent to Barclays Bank at the top of Bridge Street.

     A delighted David remarked that not only had their been a large band turnout, but just how well the musicians had performed - perhaps this year’s sunshine helped make their playing shine similarly and a happy group of players departed having done a good job.                                                                                                                                                                       

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