Town Band

Remembrance Sunday - Sunday, 8th November, 2015

Shipston Remembers

In Flanders fields the poppies blow . . .

     From the conclusion of the Second World War

when Shipston Town Band was reformed,

the town brass band has always led the procession from the

The Square to Edmund’s Church, Shipston-on-Stour on Remembrance Sunday.

     The years may pass swiftly and changes become many, but musicians still gather from the town’s two bands to lead local folk in remembrance of the fallen of  two World Wars and this year was no different as members of  Shipston Town Band and Stour Concert Brass came together to once again lead the procession to the church.

     Under the baton of Charlie Cox, the Band struck up with ‘The British Legion March’ as they led a large procession to church, which was headed by the British Legion, Shipston’s Mayor and Band President Ronnie Murphy, along with local councillors, representatives of Shipston High School, Scouts, Guides, Cubs, Brownies, Beavers, Rainbows, local firefighters and the St. John Ambulance.

Under the direction of Charlie Cox, Shipston Town Bands step off to lead the parade to Church for 2015's commemoration of Remembrance Sunday.

     A crowd six-deep met the procession at the church and after wreaths were laid in memory of the fallen the parade moved inside for the service of remembrance.

     At the appointed time, Principal Cornet John Smith played the ‘Last Post’ and then the ‘Reveille’. During the collection the band played Elgar’s beautiful and moving Nimrod’.

     After the service the band led the procession back to the square playing  the ‘1914 March’, which comprised a medley of songs popular during the Great War. At the parade’s conclusion, Parade Marshall Mike Dobbin dismissed the parade at which point the Band took the opportunity to play an arrangement of ‘The Army The Navy and The Air Force’ by Charlie Cox in tribute to the three services to conclude proceedings.

Lone Sound Ushers In Annual Silence

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old . . .

Armistice Day - Wednesday, 11th November, 2015

     On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month The Town Square fall silent for two minutes as local folk remembered the ‘the day the guns fell silent’ and the 1914-1918 Great War officially ended.

     For this date was not Remembrance Sunday, but Armistice Day and Shipston Folk, in common with people all over the UK paused to remember the fallen from The First World War.

     As a solemn remembrance, local people gathered either side of Charlie Cox who carried the Royal British Legion Standard as Shipston Town Band Principle Cornet, Mr. John Smith sounded ‘The Last Post’ and ‘Reveille’.

STB Trombone and Bristol Band No. 1 at Warwick

Unibrass Contest, Warwick University Arts Centre - Saturday, 20th February, 2015

   Multi-tasking Peter Simmonds, who currently forms part of Shipston Town Band's trombone section,  put down his trombone on Saturday, 20th February and took up the conductor's baton as he lead Bristol University Brass Band at The Unibrass Championships, held this year at Warwick Arts Centre, based at The University of Warwick.

     Peter and his band did not have the luxury of a pre-performance rehearsal as they were drawn in the number one slot to open the competition, which they finished with a respectable 16th position by adjudicators Frank Renton and Russell Gray. It was an early start, commencing at 9 a.m. which meant the band had no time for a quick warm up, but then this is the world of brass band contesting. Peter has a fair way to travel to attend Shipston Band, being based in Bristol and he'll need to enjoy those long journeys as next year's contest is destined for York.

     We warmly congratulate Peter on this recent success for both him and the Bristol-based band and wish them all the best in future assaults on the coveted title in this particular competition. So with one contest under his belt, we're sure he looks forward to another as he rejoins our trombone rank as Shipston make their bid in the Third Section Area Finals in Bedworth on Saturday, 12th March.

   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.

Keith Pens Possible Competition Winner . . .

Expect The Unexpected . . .

Oxford Brass Band Association Award for David Birch - Sunday, 24th April 2016

     Well Sunday, 24th April, 2016 turned out to be a real 'red letter' day for one young man from Shipston Town Bands.

    David arrived fairly confident that the Shipston contingent would, with a bit of luck, end up returning with some silverware, the odd award or two, perhaps the odd commendation perhaps, he personally might end up with something, well he certainly got something he didn't bargain for as the photo left proves.

     By the looks of things, Nikki Jones, Chairman of the O.B.B.A. was nearly as thrilled as he was on David's lifetime achievement . . . way to go David!

     As the years pass and times slips swiftly by we witness folk coming and going in this funny old brass band world of ours, many a learner decides early-on that its not for them, some reach teenage and leave us for pastures new, some leave and return later and so the tooing and froing of personell continues apace.

     Many put in a long spell with regularly and intermittent short breaks and return home again 'for one more time', some of us who did that are still here. But then there are others, the stalwarts of the movement who somehow never want to, or would dream of moving on and for this we salute and thank them for their commitment, capability, companionship and hard work.

     David Birch is one such individual, his perseverance, capability, musicianship and determination to succeed is an inspiration to all his many friends and colleagues in the banding movement. Brass banding has proved to be a life's commitment so it is with this in mind we celebrate his self-less efforts for which we have all benefitted by association.

     Conductors and players have come and gone, or moved on, but this chap from Stratford-upon-Avon has always been there, tirelessly and quietly working away as part of a fantastic team which is Shipston Town BandS.

     That's not all David is more than a banding colleague he is a warm and good hearted friend to all that encounter him so it is with this in mind that the folk of Shipston Town BandS say thank you David and really well done.

     David Birch was originally taught to play by his father Ben who was at the time solo euphonium in the Stratford-upon-Avon Salvation Army Corps Band.

    David played both euphonium, baritone and trombone. He “cut his teeth” fairly early on and his brother Alan recalls David playing solos at other Midland Salvation Army Corps Festivals from the age of seven.


     Eventually the family left the Salvation Army and Ben was persuaded to join Shipston Town Band as solo euphonium and he took his young sons along, where David initially played 2nd baritone, but it wasn’t long before he found himself on euphonium and following his father’s retirement took the solo chair, which he has occupied ever since. David is a rarity these days as he is very much a ‘one band player’, having only every been registered for competition at Shipston Town Band.

     With an encyclopaedic knowledge of brass band history/music/trivia, a vast collection of brass band recordings, David has proved a fountain of knowledge with all things brass band.

     He greatly enjoys teaching young players and nurturing their talent (the only reward he seeks is to see them improve and hopefully help to sustain the brass band movement in the future) - the result of which teaching and training will have been displayed by many of the young players from Shipston performing at recent contests. He has himself served in the past on the staff to the National Youth Brass Band of  Great Britain.

     Seventeen years ago in 1999, he was instrumental in the founding of Stour Concert Brass, a non-registration, non-contesting, community band under the umbrella of the Shipston Town Band organisation. This band now enjoys a full instrumentation and provides an opportunity for the younger players to develop in a relaxed atmosphere.

     David scarcely switches off from bands, since along with playing for Shipston Town Band and conducting Stour Concert Brass, he is also Engagement Secretary for both baths and responsible for arranging deps. when needed. Additionally he spent many long hours helping to submit the Band’s successful application for lottery funding.

     He is also a Joint Librarian and member of the Management Committee and if that were not enough he also plays his euphonium every week with the Salvation Army West Midlands Fellowship Band and regularly agrees to play as a dep. for just about every local band, from a non-contesting band through to his good friends the Jaguar Land Rover Band.

'Raindrops Keep Falling On . . .'


    It’s rather become a way of life for ‘young’ John Smith of late - sweeping the band room roof! 

     Yes, it seems ‘fings ain’t what they used to be’ so to speak. It feels like a lifetime since the band room's old leaky roof was fixed last time around with a superior covering, but sooner or later the day would come . . .  and by golly it did. Little by little, the drip, became a trickle and the trickle became a flow, which thanks to the intervention of solo cornet John Smith, who over the last few months has on a regular daily basis, swept away the rain which was gathering in puddles on the roof and then making its way through the band hall roof.

     Obviously steps were being taken by the Committee to resolve the situation, but in the meantime whilst John took a short holiday thinks came to a head, when one Monday when Tim and Heidi arrived to take a Training Band  practice to be greeted by a surfeit of water all over the floor of the storage room. Plastic buckets and boxes were placed in the short term to resolve the ingress in the short term, but by the following Friday things were looking pretty serious as Stour Concert were greeted to full to overfilling containers and a new water feature dripping rapidly from the ceiling.

     As Luke, Gordon, Eugene endeavoured empty the overflowing containers, quick-thinking Bethan Bown rang Dad Chris, who agreed to arrive the following Saturday morning armed with ladder and tarpaulin to action an emergency repair. So it was that on his way to the Brailes concert, one member called in to see how things had gone and was confronted with a very effective repair, as Chris and his roofing repair gang had done their stuff.

     Commenting to Chris on his timely action, he remarked that it might drip a little longer, there was just a few more things to do and the rain should be kept out until a more permanent solution was found and so it was, by the following Friday . . . No more drips and the affected area had the smell of a dry area once again.

     Naturally the Bands and Committee have to thank John Smith for his sterling work initially, but we have to say a big thank you too, to Chris, Luke, Bethan and another valuable helper in dealing with this problem so promptly and effectively. If their was a Team Award you folks would get this years without any doubt, so on behalf of your colleagues in all three Shipston Bands thank you and a very well done.

Then There's Thanks For Other Things . . .    

Speaking of the clean sweep that bandroom roof has been getting courtesy of Mr. Smith, brings us to another point worth mentioning.

     In bands the length and breadth of the country there's always the working party - doing things, unseen, un-noticed, not because someone said "Why doesn't someone," but because they needed doing. Ever wondered how the floor got hoovered or cleaned, the chairs tidied, the music put away, all those countless little jobs that really needed doing, well it's probably down to one of a group of unsung heroes of the banding world, people like John Smith. So often we leave our bandrooms and go, chairs awry, pencils strewn around the floor, stands left were we finished with them, well thanks to the efforts of people like our John, they're often all neatly lined up by next practice. Well I think it's long overdue we said a big, big thank you to the Johns of this banding world - Thanks John Smith - Top Man.

‘Many A Good Tune . . .’

Is Definitely Played On An Old Cornet!!!

120-Year-Old Cornet, Refreshed and Renewed Makes a Come-Back with Luke Barker

     Shipston Town Band is now 104-years-old and looking forward to its next milestone at 110-years-old.

     We have a number of instruments within our instrument stock but nothing quite like the cornet that Luke Barker performed on at his Brass Concert for his school Warwick School.

     The cornet in question was originally made in 1896 by Boosey and Company (the precursor of the famous Boosey and Hawkes). It was owned by Warwick School but disappeared  for a period of 50 years.

     It was returned by the grandson of an ‘Old Warwickian’ and was restored to its former glory so that it looked to all the world like a new instrument. Luke gave a wonderful performance of ‘Meditation from Thais’ by Massenet on this restored instrument.

     The lovely surroundings of Lido Park in Droitwich provided an ideal backdrop for the first bandstand concert of 2016. The pleasant weather brought out a large number of spectators complete with their deck chairs and they thoroughly enjoyed the varied programme on offer.

     The programme began in traditional style with the march ‘Castell Coch’,  and also included music from the shows. film themes and classical items  in a varied programme.

     Three soloists were featured Liz Smith on horn, Paul Lay on soprano cornet and Eb bass Adrian White.  The horn section played ‘Hat Trick’ for horns and the cornet section played ‘Buglers Holiday’ by Leroy Anderson. The concert concluded with the ever popular ‘Highland Cathedral’.

     The interval gave the band a chance to sample Karen Wear’s delicious brownies and she raised £26.12 for the Saltisford Church Youth Group in Warwick who are fund raising to go to Zimbabwe where they will be doing voluntary work with young children and she will give it to them next week.

A Delightful Day at Droitwich . . .

Bandstand Concert at Lido Park, Droitwich - Sunday, 15th May, 2016

Soloists Shine at Sanders . . .

Bandstand Concert, Sanders Park, Bromsgrove, Worcester - Sunday, 5th June, 2016

     Bromsgrove is always a good venue on a fine day and a large appreciative audience gave the band a warm welcome.

     Opening up with the Salvation Army march  ‘Praise’ and a number of the bands soloists were featured during the programme. Grace Coates gave a delightful performance of ‘When She Loved Me’ from Toy Story 2 despite the wind almost blowing the music off the stand and the stand then collapsing on her.

     A number of solos were aired for the first time with solo horn Rachel Macrae playing ‘A Time For Peace’ and Euphonium Jamie Raffell introducing ‘The Holy Well’. Jamie was joined by Dave Birch for the exciting Euphonium duet ‘Timepiece’ and John Smith, Julia Jenkins and John Bosley played the old favourite ‘Buglers Holiday’ at breakneck speed. The concert concluded with ‘Highland Cathedral’ which, as ever, provided an excellent finale.

     After last year’s visit we were thrilled when The Hill family arrived here again for another visit.

     It was really good to see Adrian, Lisa Charlotte Georgina and Jessica again. Jess had grown quite a bit since last year and was able to join in on all the engagements and they slotted in as if they had never been away. It was great to have an update on all the news and they attended their first rehearsal of Shipston Town Band in time to get acquainted with the programme for Pershore.

     Friday was Stour Concert Brass rehearsal and a chance to meet up with the band and get ready for Kenilworth which also saw email addresses exchanged as friendships are rekindled. They are certainly going to enjoy their banding as there is at least one engagement every weekend during their stay and they also intend to join in with the training band at rehearsals as well.

The Hills Return . . .

Bandstand Concert, Leamington Spa - Sunday, 10th July, 2016.

The sun came out and the crowds arrived too for a very enjoyable visit to Leamington Spa. The band rose to the occasion and gave an inspired performance.      

     The soloists were in fine form with Liz Smith and Adrian White both drawing sustained applause for ‘On My Own’ and ‘The Sun Has Got His Hat On’ as did Darran Wheeler with the delightful ‘Seal Lullaby’. Two ensembles both stole the show.

     The Veterans played by our young cornet team of Luke Barker, Grace Coates and John Bosley drew many admiring glances and to highlight the benefits of bringing in help to cover for holiday absences was shown by an exhilarating performance of ‘Buglers Holiday’ by a multinational team.

     Clive Burnell of the Hamilton City Band in New Zealand was in the country for a funeral and was visiting the bands horn player Liz Smith with whom he used to play with the Gisborne Band in New Zealand. He readily agreed to fill the gap and also stepped in to play top man in the cornet trio ‘Buglers Holiday’. With Bob James from Wales also helping out joining the bands young solo cornet Luke Barker this totally un-rehearsed multinational trio gave a sparkling performance to prolonged applause.

International Effort For Leamington Concert

     The Town Band took part in Pershore Midsummer Brass on Saturday, 2nd July, with performances at the Angel Inn and Pershore Abbey.

     Various soloists were featured with Euphonium Jamie Raffell and Solo Horn Rachel Macrae playing solos by Peter Graham with ‘The Holy Well’ and ‘A Time For Peace’ featuring in the programme in Pershore Abbey. Ensembles were featured at the Angel Inn with David Birch joining Jamie for the euphonium duet ‘Timepiece’ and the front row cornets playing the ever popular ‘Bugler’s Holiday’. Both ‘Concert Prelude’ and ‘Highland Cathedral’ were well received in what proved to be a very enjoyable days banding with the chance to listen to so many bands and to meet up with old friends.

Caledonian Conclusion To Abbey  Concert

Solo and Ensembles Star at 2016 Prom Concert


     On Sunday 19th June Shipston Town Band gave a concert at the Townsend Hall, to an enthusiastic audience who were treated to a fine array of talent as the band presented a soloist showcase.

     Both soloists and ensembles were represented. Soloists ranged from young cornet player Grace Coates who played ‘When She Loved Me' From Toy Story 2 to Eb Bass player Adrian White who showed terrific dexterity in ‘The Sun Has Got His Hat On’. Also featured were horn player Liz Smith who played ‘A Time For Peace’, Euphonium Jamie Raffell with ‘The Holy Well’ and Soprano Cornet Paul Lay with ‘La Califfa’.

     Two cornet trios were featured and young cornet player Luke Barker played in both. Our three youngest players Luke Barker, Grace Coates and John Bosley played an exciting composition by Ray Steadman Allen which was entitled ‘The Veterans’. This drew some laughter, but this turned to admiration when they heard the breathtaking performance. Luke was joined by John Smith and Julia Jenkins for a storming performance of ‘Bugler’s Holiday’. Euphonium Players David Birch and Jamie Raffell joined forces with an exciting demanding duet by Norman Bearcroft called ‘Timepiece’ which draws inspiration from the old song ‘My Grandfathers Clock’. The band featured a number of full band items and two caught the eye. ‘Soli Deo Gloria’ in which William Himes draws inspiration from J S Bach and the ever popular ‘Highland Cathedral’ so beloved of bag pipe players but so effective in this arrangement for band.

     The Band was very grateful for the help given by a largely new team of helpers. With the retirement of Charlie and Joy Cox, and Glenda Sharp, Sherry and Nick Barker and Rebecca Coates filled the void admirably. Thanks were also due to Barbara Smith for selling the programmes, to Sue Aston in her familiar role with the raffle, for Eddie for organising our new ice cream sales and transporting our timps and to our president Ronnie Murphy for doing the raffle.

National Childrens Brass Band Of Great Britain - July 2016

     Shipston Town Band are proud to announce that two young members of the band Luke Barker and Mark Davies attended the annual course of the National Childrens Band held last week at Repton School in Derbyshire last week culminating in the end of course concert last Saturday.

     The N.C.B.B.G.B. is made up of the very best young players in the country and has a waiting list of 300 for the 60 places available and caters for children between nine and fourteen. Both had to audition to achieve the required standard for entry and then re-audition on the course to see which position within the band they would be chosen to play.

     Luke Barker who plays solo cornet with the Town Band and Principal Cornet with our community band Stour Concert Brass was attending his second course and had made terrific progress in the last year and was placed at assistant-principal cornet out of 23 cornets.

     Mark Davies who plays Bb bass was on his first course and was place at second Bb Bass.

     The conductor was Nicholas Childs from Black Dyke Band and the instrumental tutors were senior players from the country’s very top bands. Whilst the course was very intense with a mixture of full band and sectional rehearsals there was plenty of time for fun with tennis and bowling just two of the many recreational activities.

     The end of course concert featured a composition ‘Waterfront Sketches’ by the Scottish composer Alan Fernie which was written especially for the course and also included a choral item when the band performed music from the musical ‘The Lion King’ wearing masks they had created during a craft workshop. Needless to say both had such a good time that they cannot wait to get back next year.                                                                                                              D. Birch - 1st August 2016

Shipston Pair Don't 'Mask' Their Talent, But Roar At Repton . . .

Nothing Succeeds Like Success . . .

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

Two Sunny Sunday Afternoons Say Farewell To Summer 2016

     I rather think we’ve commented once before about the sadness of the 'last bandstands of the year', it seemed only yesterday that we looked forward to long, warm and sunny summer days spent entertaining Sunday afternoon visitors to our parks and open spaces.

     Sadly, all too soon, the year has moved on and the summer’s end is near, so in common with bands the length and breadth of the U.K. Shipston delivered their final two bandstand concerts to complete their summer programme.

Evesham Bandstand (right) on July 24th saw the band entertain a good audience and the band's young front row drew many admirers with Luke Barker, Grace Coates, John Bosley and Harriet Macrae all involved in cornet trios ‘The Veterans’ and ‘Bugler's Holiday’.

Gheluvelt Park in Worcester (left), which was played on a very sunny day with the park absolutely packed saw the band draw many compliments from this large appreciative audience. Despite roadworks causing problems in getting to the venue and the gusting wind causing problems for the band's soloists it was a most enjoyable job and the fact the bandstand is in the middle of a lake always makes the engagement somewhat different to all the others ‘Tico Tico’ was given its first outing and drew sustained applause for our young cornet soloist Luke Barker.

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.

'Everybody Loves A Summer Wedding'

‘Hello Fancy Meeting You Here’

     Shipston Town Band may not have had the privilege of being an entrant at the 2016 National Finals this year, but that didn’t stop some of the Bands’ members popping along to have a listen.

     Sunday saw the Third Section Finals and proved to be really worthwhile as the test piece ‘Lake Of The Moon’ by Belgian composer Kevin Houben, proved not only a good challenge to the bands competing, but a very listenable and enjoyable piece.

     Upon arrival it wasn’t long before people with a connections to Shipston started bumping into each other. Shipston Band Secretary, Dave Birch and Webmaster Gordon Sharp, accompanied by his wife Glenda were soon joined by former Shipston Conductor Dave Lea, his son Darren and Val Trim.

     Dave remarked that he wondered if he might see Roger Hine of Crofton Silver Band, who is at present their Chairman, Engagement Secretary and plays trombone Crofton gave an inspired performance of the test piece and it was great to find Roger in such good form afterwards. Roger’s connection goes back to the 1960s and ‘70s when he played Eb Bass, Bb Baritone and Trombone in Shipston when Gordon first joined.

     David finally caught up with Roger outside the venue as Crofton were busy celebrating their success, coming first in the Third Section Finals, whilst David, Gordon and Glenda were tucking in to a light picnic. All three have fond memories of their time when Roger was a member and although now being based in the Yorkshire band always keenly follows the fortunes of Shipston Town Bands, making a special trip down in 2012 to take part in Shipston Band’s Centenary March.

     David went over and gave Roger his heartiest congratulations on the Yorkshire band’s successful foray into the Midlands, before David decided to make his way to Shipston band room for Sunday night’s rehearsal with the 2017 area test piece in hand. Gordon similarly decided to say hi to Roger, when he spotted Glenda and a short catch-up took place, Roger, however, couldn’t stay long as he and Crofton's coached was leaving to take the silverware home. Literally no prizes for guessing what the topic of conversation will be at this year’s annual meeting  between David and Roger - Well done Crofton, good to see you again Roger and we look forward to seeing you soon.

          The people of Shipston turned out in force for the visit of the Jaguar Land Rover Band on Saturday evening. Their joint concert with Shipston Town Band saw the hall full to capacity including 30 visiting mayors and spouses guests of Shipston’s Mayor and the band president Ronnie Murphy.

     Each band played a set on their own before joining together for some massed items. Jaguar Land Rover conducted by Dave Lea included a thrilling arrangement of Shostakovich’s Festival Overture, a stunning baritone solo by Andrew Rigby ‘Bluebells of Scotland’ and a humorous arrangement of ‘Under The Boardwalk’ which drew sustained applause.

     Shipston Town Band conducted by Howard Gibbs  included a thrilling march ‘Faith Is The Victory’ by the American composer James Curnow, ‘Confection For Brass’ by the Cornish Composer Goff Richards and featured their young solo cornet Luke Barker who drew a standing ovation for his superb performance of ‘Tico Tico'.

     The two bands joined ranks for the finale and produced a magnificent sound. The march ‘Senator’ and the beautifully tranquil ‘Ashokan Farewell’ was followed by an arrangement of the Beatles Classic ‘Hey June’ featuring the entire horn sections of both bands no less than eight players. Elsa’s ‘Procession To The Cathedral’ from Wagners Lohengrin brought the concert to dramatic conclusion.

Shipston Town Band,

Jaguar Land Rover Band,

Thirty Mayors And 'Hey', A Horn Tribute To A Liverbird Called Jude . . .

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’.

     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

     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.