Once again the bands that go to

make up the Shipston Town Bands

organisation enjoyed a busy

and remunerative festive

period at close on fifty public

appearances when

members took

the opportunity

provide festive

entertainment at a

variety of venues in the

area. Commencting on the

24th of November providing

music for the first event

The Switching-on-the-Lights

at Wellesbourne right through to lunchtime on the 25th of December when a composite group made an appearance at the Community Christmas Dinner in the Townsend Hall, Shipston-on-Stour.

Christmas fulfils so many things for us:

A chance to wish the compliments of the season to old and new friends and provide a shop-window for possible new recruits.

and of course lots of thanks

Our thanks go not only to members of all three bands for giving up their time in this marathon fund-raiser, but also to the valiant band of collectors who joined us to stand and wish passers by a Happy Christmas as they made donations. Many thanks too, to David for once again organising the Christmas fund raiser and Sandra and Chris for their valuable assistance.  

Having thanked members and supporters we have to say a big thank you to those who made donations and to all the shops, supermarkets and venues who welcomed us so warmly once again this year.

     Yes, Christmas started early for Shipston Town Bands as on Saturday November 24th with a strong band of 16 players playing carols for 3 hours opposite the Stratford Town Hall braving both rain and cold and then moving on to an evening engagement at Wellesbourne for their Christmas Market and lights.

'it was beginning to feel a bit like christmas'

     The following Saturday, 1st December, saw the band out in strength again with two more light switch on at Bishops Itchington and Long Marston. This followed a four-hour session at Sainsburys in Wellesbourne playing carols for visiting customers.

     The Town Band had been practising hard for their Christmas Concert at the Townsend Hall on Sunday, 2nd December and as always this was well attended with the band as per usual on top form, the concert concluded with a new work by Gavin Somerset called simply ‘Christmas Frenzy’. All the senior band soloists were featured and Grace Coates played sublimely in her first outing as Principal Cornet with a new solo ‘Have Yourself A Very Merry Christmas’. Three of the bands youngster players: Alec Banner, Peter Coates and Tallulah Matthews played ‘It Came Upon A Midnight Clear’ with the band and drew tremendous applause.

     The engagements continued apace with a visit to Tesco in Stratford on Tuesday followed by the first session of carol playing around Shipston-on-Stour. Friday 7th was a busy evening with a group performing at Waitrose in Stratford-upon-Avon, as well as 20 players, conducted by Charlie Cox, entertained the crowds at Shipston’s Victorian Evening, some of this group having earlier played three hours at Stratford’s Victorian Market. Saturday, 8th December was the Band’s busiest day so far with two sessions at Budgens in Moreton-in-Marsh, a light switch-on in the village of Tysoe, followed by leading carol singing at a formal dinner. There was little rest on Sunday with a four hour stint at Tesco entertaining the shoppers.

     The final two days of the Band’s Christmas Programme were no less hectic  than the rest of the Band’s Christmas outings and nine separate visits were accomplished over this short period.

     The weather was kind and the Junior Band played excellently, it was very noticeable that all its members were in attendance. The senior group was augmented by two old friends whom it was a pleasure to see, former member Ian and his wife Sarah Turner who had travelled down especially for this performance.

     At the start of the Christmas Eve itself a group from both the Town and Stour arrived at the Warwickshire village of Luddington for the village’s 'Carols on the Green' event, which saw Charlie Cox put in his last performance with the band as he conducted not only the band, but the proceedings in general for one last time, Charlie was, as usual, in fine form and the audience responded accordingly with their enthusiastic singing of the carols. The carollers then made their way to the White Hart at Newbold where they found the pub so crowded that the band only just fitted in, but once again the visit went well with lots of fine festive voices on top form. Our performance carried a long way as it was apparently streamed live to Cuba. All good things have to unfortunately end and the evening closed with our customary visit to the College Arms at Quinton where there was time to relax after we had played ‘Ding Dong Merrily’  no less than three times - some things never change. As with Christmas Eve in the Square the group was joined by two former members Alex and Rachel Macrae who had joined us for the evening.

     Christmas Day saw the band make five visits, this time accompanied by the Band President Ronnie Murphy and Shipston Town Mayor and Mayoress. Carols at Low Furlong were well received by the residents, however, when the band arrived at Rainbow Fields it would seemed that all the residents were visiting relatives but we were met by former member Francesca Lombardelli who usually provides the percussion, but had her leg in a big boot after a bad break. Christmas Day is always an opportunity for former members to join us and Adrian Birch and Emily Aston were once again present this year as they had been previously. Next stop was Shipston Hospital where we found a customary warm reception awaiting us. Next came another regular annual visit as we visited Kath Roe where Town Band Principal Cornet Grace Coates presented Kath with a lovely bunch of flowers and played the obligatory ‘Ding Dong Merrily’. The morning finally came to a close at the Community Lunch which is a more recent call, held at the Townsend Hall where we were welcomed by Mark Davies the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire.

and then santa was on his sleigh . . .