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.

remembrance sunday 2018

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.

     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

     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.