Town Band

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. The Adjudicator favoured them and put us second. Sadly, however, when the adjudicators pronounced their result we were played sixth and Warwick University were sixteenth which ended both bands day on a disappointing finish.

    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! . . .

Luke Barker Takes His Chair

for the 2017 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 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!

Will John  Find That Famous 'Choo Choo?'

    Eight years ago a young John Bosley joined Shipston Town Band with his father Chris who joined the band on solo cornet with John joining on 3rd cornet.

    Over his time with the band John progressed to his present position on solo cornet and enjoyed many successes at Solo Contests. He was part of a very successful cornet quartet which also included in later years Luke Barker, Grace Coates, Bethan Bown, Megan Barker and Sasha Turner. Chris has moved to CHATTANOOGA in the USA with his work and John his mum and younger sister are moving out to join him at the end of July. Everyone at the band wishes him all the best and he was presented with a picture of the band's winning performance at the Oxford Contest.


     Once again the band took part in the magnificent Pershore Midsummer Brass and played two concerts firstly in Pershore Abbey and then in Pershore Baptist Church. The performances were well received with both cornet soloists Luke Barker in the Abbey and John Smith in the Baptist Church receiving a warm reaction.

     Eb Bass soloist Adrian White who is at the heart of the organisation of the festival was in sparkling form for his solo 'In Lively Spirits'. The concert in the Baptist Church concluded with 'The Day Thou Gavest' arranged by Dave Bishop Rowe who was there in the audience to enjoy the performance as his band Shirley were performing next.


     Sorry about that, but as Stratford Bandstand was the first engagement for the Town Band on Sunday, 11th June, we couldn't resist this play on words, as not only were the band playing close to the Bards home, but in the shadow of the World Famous Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The weather was kind and the band drew a good audience for the bands first bandstand concert of 2017.

     Featured soloists included Luke Barker with ‘Someone Cares’, Rachel Macrae with ‘Yesterday’, Eugene Gratwohl with ‘Donegal Bay’ and the horn section all came to the fore to feature the Beatles classic ‘Hey Jude’. The cornet trio ‘The Veterans’ played by Luke Barker, Grace Coates and John Bosley drew many admirers not only for the performance but also for the youth of the performers. ‘Highland Cathedral’ as ever proved an excellent finale.

Sunny Sanders For Shipston


     Sunday, 9th July saw the band visit the Sanders Park for their regular visit.

     The lovely weather and the plentiful free parking brought out a large audience who thoroughly enjoyed the band’s varied programme. Alex Macrae on Baritone, Darran Wheeler on Flugel and young cornet player Luke Barker were among the featured soloists.

     Special mention should be made of the band’s guest solo trombone David Pitts. David who’s parents play in the band stood in at short notice and gave a fine performance of Don Lusher’s ‘Concert Variations’ without rehearsal.

Pershore Farewell To Rob & Co.

    Today was the last appearance for some time of Rob, Dan and Katie Wallis. They are moving to Leek in North Stafford where Rob’s wife Leanne has been posted as a Salvation Army Officer. They were presented with a framed photograph of the band’s winning performance at the Oxford Winter Contest in February.


'Is This A Euphonium I See Before Me?'

Sunshine, Showers and Dave Bowie


    The Town Band made their annual visit to Leamington Jephson’s Gardens and received a good reception from a large audience.

    Despite a couple of breaks in the first half due to sudden downpours the audience were very resilient and soon returned. This is one of the band’s favourite venues and they certainly gave a fine performance. A number of the band’s soloists were featured including solo trombone Bev Bosworth who played Don Lusher’s Concert Variations and Solo Horn Rachel Macrae who played Yesterday.

     The Beatles theme continued when the horn section played Hey Jude. It’s always gratifying to receive compliments and one regular visitor remarked how much she had enjoyed our performance and in fact she always looks out for us on the list of performers. The band concluded their performance with Life on Mars by David Bowie.

Solo Showcase Sets the Scene

For Shipston's Last Bandstand Of 2017


     Sunday, 30th July, saw the Town Band making its annual visit to Evesham Bandstand. Everyone was a little apprehensive as heavy rain and thunderstorms had been forecast but after an early shower the weather was fine.

    The appreciative audience were treated to a soloists showcase with no less than 8 solo items being featured including Principal Cornet John Smith, Soprano Cornet Paul Lay and the horn and flugels featured in Hey Jude. The performance concluded in fine style with Paul Lovatt Cooper’s The Home Of Legends.

Joint Concert with the Jaguar Land Rover Band - Sunday October 29th

     The Townsend Hall in Shipston was packed for the visit of the famous Jaguar Land Rover Band under their conductor Dave Lea. This is the fifth year that they have visited Shipston for a joint concert with Shipston Town Band and as with the previous visits the concert was a resounding success.

     Both bands played separate sets before joining together for a grand massed bands finale.

     Shipston Town Band  conducted by Howard Gibbs opened  the proceedings with a performance of the programme that won them first prize at the recent Oxford Contest. The Sixteenth Century ‘La Mourisque’ was the opening item and Principal Cornet Luke Barker played ‘Someone Cares’ by John Larsson and showed why he had won the soloist prize at Oxford. A lovely arrangement of the hymn ‘St. Clements’ and the swing number ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’ brought prolonged applause from the appreciative audience.

     Jaguar Land Rover conducted by Dave Lea opened with ‘Prismatic Light’ by the Scottish Composer Alan Fernie. This attractive opener was followed by Kenneth Downie’s folk song arrangement ‘Dance Fever’ before Solo Euphonium Ian Wright showed off his virtuosic skills in Robert Redhead’s solo extravaganza ‘Euphony’. Jaguar Land Rover closed their set with the thrilling ‘Fire In The Blood' by Paul Lovatt Cooper written for the 120th Anniversary of the International Staff Band of the Salvation Army.

     Playing as a massed band conducting duties were shared between the conductors. The march ‘Knight Templar’ and the lively ‘Manhattan Skyline' were followed by 'Deep Inside The Secret Temple’ where all four euphonium players joined forces before the concert closed with the thrilling ‘Breezin Down Broadway’ where many famous show tunes were featured culminating with ‘Seventy-Six Trombones’.                  David Birch

Renaissance Opener  From Locals

and a

Thrilling Broadway Finale

From Visiting Big Cat

for This Years Annual Concert!

     On Saturday, 11th November - Armistice Day, Shipston Square was silent for two minutes at 11 a.m.

     No traffic passed through the Square and a number of shoppers came out of local shops and stood alongside a significant number of other residents. The ceremony was organised by Richard Adams and the British Legion who read out the passages in memory of the fallen delivered in services throughout the area on Remembrance Sunday 'The Last Post and Reveille' was sounded by ten-year-old Alec Banner a member of Shipston Junior Band and Stour Concert Brass in memory of the fallen of two World Wars.

     As has been the case for every year since the band reformed after the Second World War a band made up of members of Shipston Town Band and Stour Concert Brass led the procession to church on Remembrance Sunday. Under the baton of Charlie Cox, the band played the 'British Legion March' to lead a large procession to church. The procession was headed by the British Legion and Shipston’s Mayor along with local councillors and included Shipston High School representatives, Scouts, Guides, Cubs, Brownies Beavers and Rainbows plus local firefighters and  St John Ambulance.

     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. Principal Cornet Luke Barker played the 'Last Post and Reveille' and the band played Elgar’s 'Nimrod' during the collection. After the service the band led the procession back to the square playing the 1914 March comprising a medley of songs from the Great War. After the parade marshal had dismissed the parade the band played an arrangement of 'The Army, The Navy and The Air Force' by Charlie Cox in tribute to the three services.

A Warwickshire Town Remembers . . .