Conductor Howard Gibbs joined Shipston Band in 2006, having already conducted the band the previous year.  No stranger to the band joining as Principal Trombone in 1979 under Richard Nash’s time for four years. He began in the Salvation Army, the National Midland and Birmingham Youth Orchestras. After a spell in the Army he played in the Championship Section. A competent conductor,  he led the band successfully from a first place win at the 2010 Area Finals to compete at the National Finals.

Shipston Town Band is the original town band and is a contesting band which in the past has enjoyed a string of successes in the contesting field. Currrently residing in the Fourth Section, the band seeks to regain its position further up the sections. The band enjoys a full engagement book and welomes players who enjoy their contests and bandstands alike.

Paul Lay

Grace Coates

John Smith

Rebecca Coates,

Paolo Pezzangora

Bob Pitts

Karen Wears, Stephen Easton

Anne White

Darran Wheeler

Adrian White

Karen Pitts

Mary Cox

Jamie Raffell

David Birch

Eugene Gratwohl

Phil Richardson

Bev Bosworth

Jess Anderson

Maria Palmer

Ken Smith, Vacancy

Two Vacancies


Eleanor Smith

the big brass band


     Earlier this year members of Shipston Bands joined players from 18 other bands to make up the Big Brass Band organised by the WMBBA and conducted by Dave Lea of  The Jaguar Land Rover Band.

     The Town Band opened the concert with their own exciting set. Alan Fernie’s fast and furious Prismatic Light was followed by a delicate solo by Grace Coates who performed First Light originally composed for the band’s famous alumni Kirsty Abbotts. The toe tapping Gigue Alleluia Amen by the Australian composer Brian Hogg was followed by the ever popular I’ll Walk With God made famous by Mario Lanza which saw conductor Howard Gibbs invite Dave Lea the former conductor of both bands to conduct the item. Principal Cornet Luke Barker featured the solo Arizona Belle by William Rimmer one of many solos from the repertoire of Edwin Firth the finest cornet player prior to the Great War who was killed in France in 1918 he had volune teered to serve King and Country. The swift exciting Wedding Dance from Call of the Cossacks by Peter Graham concluded their mini concert.     

     After he had played Arizona Belle Howard Gibbs announced that Luke was to join Jaguar Landrover Band on solo cornet. He wished him all the best for the future and thanked Luke for almost 9 years of service. Luke was presented with a photo montage of his time with the band. Grace Coates was announced as Luke’s successor as Principal Cornet.

     The band joined forces for four pieces with Brad and Howard sharing the conducting duties. The big band sounds of Jim Swearingen’s Valero was contrasted by the delicate Hymn To Diana by Joseph Turrin composed shortly after the death of Princess Diana. Six cornets from the two bands joined forces for Harold Walters Trumpets Wild before the concert drew to a close with ever popular Highland Cathedral.

     We were all pleased to see Robin Hammond at the concert. Robin was able to confirm that the Band and Choir Concert which the band performed in at Hampton Lucy Church in September raised over £2000 for local charities. He hoped we would be able to do similar concerts in the future.

the planets hit shipston!


a small matter three things!

    Well four rather large things actually, you see whilst the band can get by for concerts and engagements, the ‘Small Matter’ concerns something quite important.

     One of the large issues the band is faced with is the 2019 Regional Finals, which for Shipston in the Fourth Section are quite handy next year - Kenilworth to be precise. The other three issues concern Bb and Eb Basses to be precise.

     Now out there in Shipston-on-Stour are one or individuals who are quite handy on these things who haven’t blown a note possibly for years and we would love to see them giving their bass playing skills one ‘last hurrah’ - or two! Out there beyond Shipston are bound to be ‘resting players’ at a loss to know what to do with themselves  on a Sunday night, or even ones playing who might fancy a challenge.

     You see Shipston really ought to be back at the top of the Third Section or ‘dare I say’ somewhere in the Second (now that would really be good). Now we all know about the ‘commitment thing’ in brass banding and the endless rehearsing that goes with contesting - BUT - it is very rewarding and you do get to be with a very cheerful, friendly bunch in Shipston-on-Stour.

     Now there’s nothing worth a site on the tele these days, so if your are a bass player, stop fiddling with the TV remote and come and play with one of our basses and if you’re slightly curious, drop by the band room (you’ll find that on our ‘Find Us’ page), one Sunday night and say hello.

     ‘Oh and just one more thing’ if you are a budding kit player they’re on our wish list too!

    The varied programme included the march 'Pendine',  'American Trilogy' and 'Breezin Down Broadway'. Luke Barker was featured as a soloist in 'Don't Doubt Me Now' and joined forces with Principal Cornet Karl Slater, Bob Pitts, Dave Clemons, Bob James and Charlie Green in 'Trumpets Wild'. The whole day was thoroughly enjoyable and everybody left looking forward to next year.

     The planets were certainly in orbit around Shipston for the annual visit of the Jaguar Land-Rover Band. Under their newly appointed resident conductor Brad Turnbull.

      They featured five movements from Gustav Holst’s Planets Suite in their portion of the concert, opening with thrilling Mars Bringer Of War, Mercury Venus and Saturn were also featured with their mini concert concluding with the majestic sounds of Jupiter

luke on front rank at albert hall


     A number of band members travelled to Nottingham’s Albert Hall to support Luke at the concert that ended their Summer Course.

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, 11th November 2018.

     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 the Deputy Lord Lieutenant Of Warwickshire, Mark Davies.

     It also included Shipston High School representatives, Scouts, Guides, Cubs, Brownies, Beavers and Rainbows, plus local firefighters, First Responders 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 Grace Coates played the ‘Last Post’ and ‘Reveille' and the band played Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’ during the collection.

     The concert included demanding music by Eric Ball, Edward Gregson and Kenneth Downie and also included a new solo for guest soloist David Childs.

     Luke once again held his position as solo cornet 5. The course was held at Repton School in Derbyshire and Luke had a very enjoyable yet challenging week. During the week the NYBBGB presented a tasting session for aspiring members and Concert Brass’s young cornet and xylophonist took advantage of this. As a result he is now preparing for his audition for the National Children’s Band in November.

a glittering cracker from

the town band to end 2018     

remembrance sunday 2018

     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.

     This was the second part of a busy weekend for the Town Band, conducted by Howard Gibbs the band gave a concert at the Townsend Hall in aid of the British Legion and the Poppy Appeal. The hall was packed for a concert of music designed to reflect the Centenary of the signing of the Armistice.

     Opening with the march ‘The Vanished Army’ dedicated to the British Expeditionary Force, contemporary music from the period was interspersed with readings by Anne Hume before the first half closed with ‘Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines’ to salute the RAF.

     The second half featured solos from Solo Euphonium Jamie Raffel and Principal Cornet Luke Barker. Luke played the solo ‘Arizona Belle’ made famous by the famous Edwin Firth of the Fodens Band who even took his cornet to the trenches to make sure he could practice. Sadly he was killed in action. A setting of John McRae’s famous poem in ‘Flanders Fields’ saw the whole hall in silence after its performance. A succession of Prom Melodies saw the concert close with the ‘British Legion March’.                                                                                                David Birch

    Once again Shipston Band’s Christmas Concert was like a night sky - full of stars and didn’t they just twinkle.

     An expectant audience were swept into the spirit of the season as the Townsend Hall stage curtains parted to reveal Shipston Town Band in festive form as Howard Gibbs struck up with a lively opening fanfare by the renowned English composer Paul Lovatt Cooper in Fanfare - Christians Awake. With the next piece hard on the heels of the opener, the band changed the mood slightly with a Richard Phillip’s arrangement of Benjamin Hanby’s beautiful Who Is He?

     The first of this evenings stars twinkled as Grace Coates enchanted the audience with her performance with a new arrangement of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Some may recall this well-loved melody sung by Judy Garland in the 1944 film Meet Me In St. Louis, later recorded by many other vocalists including the famous Frank Sinatra and Grace did it justice on cornet at her first outing as the band’s new principal cornet. Grace now takes the end chair from Luke Barker, who has now moved-on to play with the Jaguar Land Rover Band and proved that she was well up to the challenge.

     Next up was Derek Ashmore’s arrangement of Jingle Bells originally recorded by the Desford Colliery Band in the 1980s. Having got the audience in the mood a little community carol singing was called for and Howard led the audience as they assaulted Hark The Herald Angels Sing in fine style. The next item was dished-up by three younger players, as Alec Banner, Tallula Matthews and Peter Coates played It Came Upon A Midnight Clear and charmed their way into the audience’s hearts.

     The band’s annual Christmas concert wouldn’t be complete without a reading or two from local Anne Hume, whose been amusing Shipston audiences with her readings and this year was no exception, with Nobody Likes A Fairy When She’s Forty! There was no let up for the assembled throng, for no sooner was Anne done than along came Once In Royal David’s City.

     Our next star was Darren Wheeler who took up his Flugel Horn and played a gentle setting to Away In The Manager, simply entitled Lullaby. This fine solo preceded the last piece in the first half, before coffee, mince pies and ice cream with our own Ken Smith’s arrangement of a Fantasy On German Carols.

     So with a reminder to purchase more raffle tickets the audience broke for refreshments, but it wasn’t long before everyone was back in their seats for the second half that opened with Swedish composer Eric Leidzen’s pot pourri of Christmas melodies in Christmas Joy, written in a bright march setting.

     The next star, was our very own David Birch who gave a mature and accomplished performance of American Douglas Court’s arrangement of Ding Dong Merrily On High, that proved a suitable pre-runner to Howard Blake’s Christmas classic which had proved such hit for Aled Jones in The Snowman. The evening swiftly moved on and once again Anne Hume was back with one of her readings, which once again entertained a by now festive audience.

     Our next Christmas star was Adrian White who gave us the Alan Fernie arrangement of the Gustav Holst melody, In The Bleak Midwinter. Our next star followed as Mr. Ken Smith, arranger, bass player, organist and now musical novelty arranger drew up members of the band armed with small organ pipes, which along with Ken’s humorous commentary produced a new admission to a brass band concerts as the assembled group of seven tooted their way through Organising The Brass. This delightful little effort went down well with all concerned, like a unexpected and pleasant surprise from the Christmas Cracker.

     The other star this wonderful evening was Anne Hume with her final reading of the night, which shone no less brightly than the others, after which the audience had one more go at a community carol as they sang O Come All Ye Faithful to conclude their choral effort. The penultimate offering from Shipston Town Band for 2018 was an Alan Fernie arrangement of a local number, the medieval tune Coventry Carol, after which the band concluded the evening with Christmas Frenzy from the pen of Yorkshire composer Gavin Somerset, a collection of extracts of well known Christmas Pieces, including Gaudete and Chris De Burgh’s A Spaceman Came Travelling.

     All too soon the star-studded 2018 festive offering from the band was over, however, it did give David Birch and opportunity to thank on behalf of the band Charlie Cox, whose many years with the band saw him in so many important roles, however, Charlie has now decided “that’s all folks” and decided to call it a day.