Town Band

Town and Stour Get Christmas 2016 Off To A Cracking Start . . .

Christmas 2016 has begun - and Saturday, 26th November saw players from both Shipston Town Band and Stour Concert Brass performing at two longstanding engagements as they provided the music at Bishops Itchington and Wellesbourne, as they held their Christmas Light Switching On ceremonies. Thankfully the weather was a good deal better than last year and both venues placed the band in a gazebo which made life a lot more comfortable.

Christmas Concert Proves A Real Cracker . . .

Sunday December 4th Townsend Hall  Shipston

     Shipston Band gave their annual Christmas Concert at the Townsend Hall before an enthusiastic audience on Sunday, 4th December.

     The band was conducted as always by their conductor Howard Gibbs. They presented an assortment of Christmas music including Leroy Anderson’s famous ‘Christmas Overture’ and an arrangement of ‘Old English Carols’ by the band’s Eb Bass Player Ken Smith. This included a rarely heard setting of ‘O Little Town Of Bethlehem’ and concluded with the medieval ‘Coventry Carol’.

     Anne Hume as always was present to provide some highly entertaining readings including a ghost story involving carol singers and a highly amusing tale of the fate of a Christmas cake decorated with ball bearings.

     Two soloists were featured, Principal Cornet John Smith played ‘Silent Stars Go By’, an arrangement of the tune Forest Green collected by Vaughan Williams a hundred years ago and associated with the words ‘O Little Town Of Bethlehem’. Euphonium player Jamie Raffell played the Polish carol ‘Infant Holy’. The concert concluded with ‘Kingdom Triumphant’ which included the Advent Hymn ‘O Come O Come Emmanuel’.

     Shipston Town Band are pleased to announce that Luke Barker their young solo cornet player has been offered and accepted a place with the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain.

     Luke began his playing with Shipston Junior Band at the age of seven. He joined Stour Concert Brass the band’s non competitive community band at the age of 9 and was appointed Principal Cornet at the age of 10 a position he still holds.

     He currently also plays with the Town Band where he is assistant principal cornet.  He has achieved many successes in Solo Competitions and in 2015 he auditioned for and was offered a place in the National Childrens Brass Band. In 2016 on his second course he was promoted to Assistant Principal Cornet. In October 2016 he auditioned for the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, the country’s premier youth band and after passing his audition he was offered a place on this year’s Easter and Summer Courses with concerts at Cambridge, The Barbican, The Albert Hall Nottingham and Repton School. The age range is up to 19 so Luke will undoubtedly be one of the younger members. Luke also retains his membership of the National Childrens Band and will be attending their course in the summer. It goes without saying that the band are extremely proud of Luke.

Chair in National Youth Band for Luke . . .

Sixth Place For Town Band in Regionals . . .

     Sunday March 12th saw the band visit Nicholas Chamberlaine School in Bedworth to compete in the Midland Area Brass band Championships.

     The set test piece was 'St Andrews Variations' by Alan Fernie. The performance was excellent and the 4bars rest adjudicator had us in the lead from when we played until band number 20 Warwick University had finished. She favoured them and put us second. Sadly when the adjudicators pronounced their result we were played 6th and Warwick University, they were 16th.

   Fourteen members from the Shipston Town Band and Stour Concert Brass travelled to Cradley Heath Salvation Army when the West Midlands Brass Bands Association hosted the Association’s very successful ‘Big Brass Band Concert’.

     The aim was to revive the spirit of ‘Harry Mortimer’s Men Of Brass’ and 70 players from no less than 20 bands came together to recreate the massed band sound.

     The programme included a number of traditional items such as ‘Grand March from Aida’ and Harry Mortimer’s own composition ‘The Medallion’. All nine solo cornets were featured in ‘Bugler’s Holiday’ which made a spectacular solo item.

     Conductor Dave Bishop Rowe had produced a special arrangement of ‘The Day Thou Gavest’ and this was dedicated to the late Dave Hodgetts Principal Cornet from Arrow Valley who suddenly passed away a week before the event. Dave was scheduled to play Principal Cornet and was well known to many present which added a sad touch to what was otherwise a happy and successful day. Jaguar Landrover’s Lisa Organ stood in at short notice and her help was much appreciated.

     The assembled band had such an enjoyable day that many have already contacted WMBBA and asked if we are going to have another one. They enjoyed the music, the chance to meet old friends and make new ones and the thrill of playing in such a large group. Plans are already afoot to organise a second event.

'Big Blow' For Shipston Band and Stour Concert! . . .

     The audience were fulsome with their applause but to many the highlight of the concert was the simplest piece on offer. Three young cornet players from the band’s junior section played an arrangement of ‘Away In A Manger’ with the band accompanying them. They drew thunderous applause and eight-year-old Tallula Matthews , nine-year-old Alec Banner and ten-year-old Theo Whalley Hoggins undoubtedly stole the show.                                                                                       David Birch - 6th December, 2016

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!