Lucky Luke . . .

    There was something rather mysterious about the Band Secretary’s e-mail to members reminding them that Friday, 9th January, 2015 was designated as Stour’s first rehearsal of the New Year.

    Particularly the mention of ‘some new members’, most of whom duly arrived to the delight of existing members as for the first time a Friday night rehearsal included four bases, yes four, we’d not seen that before, if ever, they were accompanied by a baritone and two percussionists, in fact the sight of a full band less our soprano Paul Herbert, who’s unwell at present and Helen Cox who was unavailable  meant we not only had full ranks, but the odd spare trombone as they numbered four.

    An absolutely cracking start to a New Year, let’s just hope it keeps the momentum as the year continues as from its humble beginnings Stour Concert Brass goes from strength to strength and enjoys a rewarding experience for its members. The music too saw some new and potentially challenging pieces which the Band took in its stride, so it might very well be a case of  ‘New year, New Start’ indeed but what a start!

    And what a great way to start the year for our Principal Cornet . . .

The New Year began  with some arrivals and departures as Repiano Cornet Sam Rawles has decided to take a break to develop his saxophone playing and we thank Sam and mum Sally for all their help during his time with the band.

The horn section has been strengthened by the arrival of Hannah Newman. She will share the second horn spot with Angie Weaver.

Ben Reeve Taylor has joined on percussion where he will be a welcome addition.

Mark Davies has joined on Eb Bass and will be accompanied by his father Keith on Bb Bass. Keith is Bb Bass player with the Town Band and proved a great hit with his sousaphone during our carol playing sessions. With Ken Smith able to attend rehearsals in January when his choir is not rehearsing it was great to have a full bass section.

Hannah Newman.

Ben Reeve Taylor

Sam Rawles

Keith Davies

Young Trio Shine. . .

    Luke Barker our twelve-year-old Principal Cornet has auditioned for and been offered a place on cornet in the National Childrens Band. This is for children up to 14 years of age.

    For his audition Luke played the solo Wiederkehr by John Hartmann, a technical study and demonstrated his command of a number of nominated scales and arpeggios. The standard for entry is extremely high and although Luke knew within a week of his audition that he had reached the required standard, he has only just heard that his standard was sufficiently high to be actually offered a place.

    Luke’s first course will be this summer at Repton Public School where he will be tutored by Nicholas Childs conductor of the Black Dyke Band and some of the country’s foremost cornet soloists culminating in a grand end of course concert.

    Luke is only the second member of our band to be accepted for the National Children’s Band the first being percussionist Francesca Lombardelli who is now a member of Jaguar Land Rover Band from Coventry. Membership of the N.C.B.G.B. is an excellent first step along Luke’s musical journey and will help him attain membership of the National Youth Brass Band Of Great Britain which is for children up to 19 years of age and is the organisation which spawned the N.C.B.G.B.

Banbury Young Musician - Heats - Saturday, 17th January  2015

Three members of Stour Concert Brass took part in the 2015 Banbury Young Musician at Sibford School on Saturday 17th January.

    Nine-year-old cornet player Sasha Turner gave a delightful performance of Arthur Sullivan’s The Lost Chord and was rewarded with a place in next month’s final in the Junior Brass section. Principal Cornet Luke Barker impressed the adjudicators with his performance of You Raise Me Up and was awarded a place in the final of the Intermediate Brass. Trombonist Hector Banks played Edward McDowell’s To A Wild Rose but just failed to make the cut for the two final places. Hector also entered the intermediate piano where he gave a fine performance of ‘60s Swing by Evelien Vis. In a highly competitive section Hector just failed to make the final places

In the Junior Section Luke Barker and Sasha Turner joined forces to perform the duet Rondinetto by St Jacome in the open duets section. Their excellent performance was rewarded with a place in the final.

We offer a vote of thanks to accompanists Paul Webber and Helen Porter and a big well done to all our competitors who all acquitted themselves really well.

The finals will take place at Sibford School on Saturday 28th February, 2015.

New Year, New Start

    Not content with an absolutely splendid day out last year, members of Stour Concert Brass decided to do it all over again when The Black Dyke Band rolled into Birmingham to give another of their fabulous concerts.

    So it was that on Sunday, 8th February a contingent of members from Stour Concert assembled at a nearby restaurant where they enjoyed a convivial pre-concert lunch before walking the short distance to one of Birmingham’s premier venues to take in a brilliant Sunday afternoon concert.

   Along with the audience the group of friends from Stour Concert were suitably impressed as Dyke put up a truly breathtaking repertoire which started off with their signature march QUEENSBURY and then took the audience on a roller coaster ride of musical delights closing with MARCH TO THE APPIAN from Respighi’s Pines Of Rome.

Please Sir, We Want Some More!

Stour Concert visit to Black Dyke Band Concert - Symphony Hall Birmingham - Sunday, 8th February, 2015

Double Birthday - Stour Concert Brass - Friday, 6th February, 2015

Friday’s Rehearsal went pretty much to form on Friday, until half-time that was and out came the cake . . . again! Yes it was somebody’s birthday! Soprano player Paul Herbert was celebrating his birthday so that proved an ideal reason to try a little slice of chocolate cake.

The band tucked in to the scrumptious chocolate cake provided by Tim and Heidi and gave members an opportunity to sign birthday cards for both Paul and Sasha Turner our youngest member who had her tenth birthday the following day.

       This led to an amusing incident when Paul inadvertently signed his own birthday card.

    After the mid-time merriment Stour continued with a rewarding rehearsal and at the conclusion of the rehearsal adjourned to the Coach and Horses for celebratory drinks and a lovely spread  courtesy of ‘the birthday boy’ himself!

“Let Them Eat Cake”  . . . again!

    Brass banding has always tended to include a fair few families amidst their ranks over the years and Shipston Bands are no exception, so it’s hardly surprising that Hector Bank’s dad, wind player Tim, should take up the challenge and join his son in Stour Concert.

    Friday night was the first rehearsal for Tim as he pulled up a chair next to fellow baritone/euphonium player Gordon and got stuck in. Tim who had been developing his brass skills with Tim and Heidi at our Junior/Training Band thoroughly enjoyed the experience and we hope to see him on a regular basis.

It’s Time For Tim . . .
Sasha , Her Chums And A Wonderfully Wooly Time . . .
Good Friday

    Once again, for 2015, Stour Concert Brass gathered on Waterside in Stratford-upon-Avon to mark another Good Friday “Witness Event”, as members of all local churches came together in an act of remembrance.

    Compared to the previous year the weather could have hardly been a great contrast as the previous bright, sunny day was replaced with a cool, grey, wet day. Regardless of the conditions a condensed band drawn from Concert Brass gathered close to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at the start of the proceedings that saw the large assembled gathering make its way through the town, pausing to sing hymns opposite the Town Hall and then concluding the event outside the town library in Henley Street.

    This has now become a regular engagement in Shipston Bands’ calendar for Stour Concert Brass who are always happy to attend this event which starts their performing year.

Shipston Wool Fair - Monday, 25th May, 2015

The headline might sound like something straight from a Enid Blyton novel, but it was anything but, as the Annual Wool Fair rolled in town. this Bank Holiday Monday at the end of May saw the townsfolk of Shipston enjoy another great fair.

    Stour Concert Brass’s involvement commenced with one of their solo cornets attending the Town Service which took place on Sunday, 24th May that was organised to coincide with Town’s Annual Wool Fair the following day. Young Sasha Turner, who recently proudly took her place on the front rank of the highly successful Stour Concert Brass gave a  terrific performance of the LOST CHORD, before taking up the chance to represent Shipston Junior School as well by playing an arrangement of RAGTIME by Charlie Cox.

Bank Holiday Monday saw Stour Concert Brass take their place as part of the opening of Shipston’s Wool Fair when the whole of the centre of Shipston is turned over to Sheep and all things to do with wool with some very attractive rare breeds on display. The event was officially opened in grand style as the fanfare KINGSLEY composed by Charlie Cox welcomed the assembled mayors from all over Warwickshire and surrounding counties and then reprised to provided the official opening to the event.

The Band gave a short concert  to open the event and was conducted by Charlie Cox to open the Band’s offering in traditional style with the march DEATH OR GLORY, which was followed by an entertaining programme which included something from the 1920s in the form of the popular dance THE CHARLESTON, the theme music from the film THE GREAT ESCAPE and music from the Disney film THE LION KING.

    During the performance the Band’s young cornet team were on their feet and Luke Barker, Bethan Bown, Megan Barker and Sasha Turner showed off their skills and gave a thrilling performance of MARCHING TRUMPETS which delighted the audience that had gathered in front of the Band, with cries of ‘encore’ from an audience that had obviously throughly enjoyed the youngsters performance Charlie treated everyone to a repeat performance. At the close of the Band’s set a further ‘encore’ was called for and Stour Concert Brass closed their performance with memories of Morcambe and Wise with the ever popular BRING ME SUNSHINE, which must have worked as all assembled were treated to a dry warm morning.

Sun Shines on Stour
And Wool Fayre Fun

The band played a varied programme opening up with the well known march by R. B. Hall DEATH AND GLORY before featuring a number of the bands young soloists. Bethan Bown played I DON’T KNOW HOW TO LOVE HIM, from the rock opera ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, Luke Barker played ARIZONA BELL by William Rimmer and Sasha Turner with SHARE MY YOKE. THE GOLDEN LADY by Goff Richards provided an exciting conclusion to the first half.

The second half opened with the Salvation Army march GOLD CREST by James Anderson followed by Soprano cornet Paul Herbert who gave an excellent  performance of one of the moving pieces from the musical about Revolutionary France - ‘Les Miserables’ - BRING HIM HOME. The cornet team of Luke Bethan, Grace Coates and Megan Barker put in a thrilling performance with Edrich Siebert’s arrangement of Frank Seymour's MARCHING TRUMPETS despite a gusty performance by the wind! An entertaining version of THE DAD’S ARMY THEME and back to the ‘20s with THE CHARLESTON brought the concert to a close with Darrol Barry’s arrangement of pieces from the earlier James  Bond movies as THE BEST OF BOND brought the afternoon’s concert to a close.

Tim Wilson, our Principal Euphonium player, hit flat note in more ways than one as he picked up a puncture whilst on-route to the job. Whilst he was missed on the bandstand we were all really impressed by the ‘Concert Brass Spirit’ as one member after another stopped to offer Tim help and ensured the Band’s equipment got there in time for the concert.

The audience reaction to the Band’s performance was more than as a number of people stopped the conductor as he left after the conclusion of the concert to comment on how much they enjoyed the concert and how impressed they were with the Band. One of these was the father of Dave and Ian Turner who was knocked out by the performance and how the band had improved since he had last heard them.

Recommendation or What!
FACEBOOK ENTRY: Evesham 'Bands in the Park' - following Bandstand Concert, Abbey Park, Evesham - Sun., 7th June, 2015
    We are naturally very proud of Stour Concert Brass, but by chance, whilst surfing Facebook, one of our members came across this little unsolicited Gem, which has quite rightly left us feeling rather chuffed:

    At last . . . Glorious weather on the 7th June complemented by an extraordinarily good band, Stour Concert Brass playing Abbey Park, Evesham for a first time simply thrilled the audience with a first-rate selection of music excellently played.
    It was instantly noticeable that there were more younger players in the band than is usual, which a lot of people in the audience commented on quite favourably, even more so when several of these very talented youngsters were revealed as soloists during the afternoon.
    R B Hall’s ‘Death or Glory’ provided a lively start to the afternoon’s concert followed by music from ‘The Lion King’ the popular Elton John classic, then came the first of the young soloists, Bethan Brown with a delightful rendition of ‘I Don’t Know How To Love Him’ from Jesus Christ Superstar, two tunes afterwards Luke Barker with robust but pleasant cornet tone impressed everyone when he expertly performed ‘Arizona Belle’.
    It’s always difficult to pass comment on everything played but suffice to report that this was a well balanced programme with some fine playing, however, without doubt for me there were several ‘highlights’ in the concert. 10-year-old Sasha Turner featured with a confident faultless, calming rendition of ‘Share My Yoke’ on Cornet, later not quite as young as previous soloists, a totally suitable Soprano Cornet solo – in the form of ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Miserables was very competently played by Paul Herbert.
    What else would I choose to mention? Well okay ‘Bring Me Sunshine’, ‘Marching Trumpets’, ‘Hernando’s Hideaway’, ‘Dad’s Army’, a lively danceable ‘Charleston’ plus ‘The Best of Bond’ selection are just several.
    Some well trained young players certainly proved a ‘credit’ to MD/Conductor Dave Birch and their music was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone today. Definitely, a must to be booked for next season.

Barcheston Young Musicians Concert - Wednesday, 1st July 2015

A number of our talented youngsters performed in this young musicians concert at the historic church of St. Martin’s, Barcheston, which dates back to the 12th Century as part of The Shipston Proms.

On a really warm evening it was very pleasant to perform in this historic old church where the cool atmosphere was a real blessing. A whole variety of local youngsters performed and it fell to our cornet quartet of Luke Barker, John Bosley, Bethan Bown and Sasha Turner to open proceedings. They gave a thrilling performance of La Rejouissance by Telemann in an arrangement by Mark Allen. Luke Barker played ‘You Raise Me Up’ and Sasha Turner played ‘Share My Yoke’ as individual solos and both were accompanied at the piano by Paul Webber who is such an integral part of our team whenever we play solos. All performers joined together as an ensemble to conclude the evening and this year the chosen peace was ‘Eye Level’ used as the theme music for the ’80s detective series Van Der Valk.                                               D. Birch 6/07//2015

Bright Brass at Barcheston . . .

Bandstand Concert, Sanders Park, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire - Sunday, 28th June, 2015

The Hills in Bromsgrove . . .

The visit of Stour Concert Brass to Bromsgrove Bandstand gave the Hill family a first opportunity to play with the band. It was a real rush as it needed a trip up to the band room prior to the Band Secretaries visit to Bourneville on Saturday with Shipston Town Band.

The fitting was done and little Jess was particularly taken with her jacket. Apparently it was the first time any of the girls had worn blazers.

Four instruments and a full set of uniforms headed back to Stratford with the BBb bass waiting in the band room to be picked up after returning from Bourneville. Sunday arrived and the family arrived all ready and raring to play. The weather was a little disappointing but an appreciative audience gathered and the bandstand concert was a big success.

Half time proved very popular with the drinks ice cream and drinks all being devoured and Dave Clemons earned the honorary title of ‘Uncle Dave’ when he helped out in the ice cream queue. It was a real experience for the youngsters as this was their first time playing with a Band.

Lisa and the youngsters visited the Shipston Juniors/Training Band on Monday and on Wednesday the whole family attended the Town Band’s rehearsal playing under both Mark and Howard on perhaps the hottest night of the year as the final touches were put to preparing for the bands appearance at Pershore Midsummer Brass on Saturday.

Friday gave the family a chance to be reacquainted with Concert Brass and Jess Georgina and Mum Lisa came for a blow in slightly cooler conditions.

Arrivals & Depatures

Burmington Village Fete - Saturday, 20th June, 2015

Once again Burmington Bertie was on hand to welcome the band for its annual visit. The Band was at near full strength and just fitted into the gazebo which the organisers had provided. It was well received as the afternoon was punctuated by a number of showers.

The band played a varied programme and introduced a number of new pieces to their repertoire. The finale ‘Swingtime Religion’ gave principal cornet Luke Barker plenty of time to display his talents and considerable range in the jazz break in the centre and the Band even got the chance to take a break from blowing as one section saw them clap-along.

Grace Coates was featured as the soloist in the lovely middle movement of ‘Appalachian Mountain Folk Song Suite’. A new cornet feature was also introduced in ‘Three Jolly Airmen’ and featured all five front row cornets in Luke Barker, Grace Coates, Bethan Bown, Sasha Turner and Dave Clemons.

All the bands soloists gave excellent performances and most managed to dodge the showers when they performed. Luke Barker found that whilst everybody else dodged the rain both he and conductor Dave Birch got progressively damper as the light rain got heavier. It didn’t detract from his performance at all but did lead a bit of leg pulling afterwards.

A very heavy shower drew the first half to a sudden close so the band closed the first half with another new item ‘Everything Stops For Tea’ much to the amusement of the audience. We tried to change the weather in the second half by introducing ‘Bring Me Sunshine’. It had the desired effect but not unfortunately until we had finished playing.

We obviously made a big impression on the organisers as we were immediately rebooked for 2016.

Bertie Brings on the Fun . . .
Brilliant Brass on a Bright Day
Bandstand Concert, Abbey Park, Evesham - Sun., 7th June, 2015
	Concert Brass made their first visit to the bandstand at Evesham and were
rewarded with glorious weather and a large appreciative audience.


Done Luke

Principal cornet with

Stour Concert Brass, Luke Barker,

has accepted a place in the National Childrens Band

Summer School

at Repton in July.

Stour Concert mark