On Sunday 14th October the Youth Band returned to Elland for the 33rd Annual Pogson Bray Entertainment Contest. Last year the band were given special mention and awarded ‘Best Youth Band’, a prize which they retained this year. Their programme consisted of pieces from well known musicals including Phantom of the Opera, Oliver, and Les Miserables. The band were also placed 5th, above other contesting and non-contesting bands. The band are going from strength to strength and are looking forward to a busy Christmas!
Don’t miss our entertaining Concert Band at Wetherby Bandstand this Sunday the 19th August.
We are on from 2.30pm and finish at 4.30pm and we’d like to thank Wetherby Carvery as the day’s sponsor.
The band thoroughly enjoy this regular concert and look forward to seeing you there.
On Monday 16th July members of the band took to the stage at our fantastic bandroom to demonstrate their individual skills as soloists. The theme for the evening was ‘Slow Melody’ and players from all five of the Shepherd Bands demonstrated great tone, control and musicality. For many of our members this was their first experience of playing stand up solos without any accompaniment, and for others this was opportunity to really show off! The judge for the evening was Soprano cornet superstar Kevin Crockford who gave extremely helpful comments, playing tips, as well as sublime demonstration of his playing. We were also joined by Gevena Instruments who provided a range of instruments for members to try, this was in preparation for some trials in the new year.
As well as top three placings in each band category, Mr Crockford was also tasked with award the ‘Bousfield Cup’ which was to be awarded to the stand out performance of the evening.
1st – Isaac Ellis
2nd – Jean Wilkinson
3rd – Cohen Wheeler
1st – Henry Bate
2nd – Juliet Powell
3rd – Luke Hindle / Adam Knowles
1st – David Walters
2nd – Imogen Fewster
3rd – Lizzy Morritt
1st – Louis McLaren
2nd – Rachel Fox
3rd – Adrian Fox / Joely Mosses
1st – Craig Brown
2nd – Mike Pratt
3rd – Jenny Mansell
The Bousfield Cup for stand out performance – David Walters (Youth Band)
On Friday 6th July the Youth Band ventured over to Birmingham to take part in the Music For Youth National Festival. The players took the day away from school and met at the Shepherd Group band room at 5:30am, before two coaches carrying players, family, and supporters headed to Birmingham’s magnificent Symphony Hall. The day was full of youth bands from across the country who had been selected from regional festivals to be showcased here, and the talent on display was inspiring. When it came to the turn of the youth band they put on a great show performing ‘Prismatic Light’, ‘Under the Boardwalk’ featuring Isabel Thompson and Sam Flemming, ‘When I Grow Up’, and finishing with ‘Game of Thrones’. Before hearing feedback from the music tutors, the final band of the day, Youth Brass 2000, provided an electric close to the days music making. Extremely positive comments form the judges and some impressive feedback made for a very happy youth band. It was an absolute experience for Craig and the band to represent the Shepherd organisation and we are all incredibly proud of all they have achieved this year!
The Joseph Rowntree Theatre was once again the venue for the organisation’s sell-out Spring Concert. Brass Roots (conducted by Sally Mansell), Academy Brass (conducted by Richard Wilton), Youth Band (conducted by Craig Brown) and our Concert Band (conducted by Mike Pratt) gave us a scintillating first half of this ever popular event.
Brass Roots opened the show, boasting over 30 members, playing a short classical set as the audience took their seats. At curtain up, our Academy Band took to the stage starting with Rimmer’s ever popular march, Slaidburn, finishing with Stuart Johnson’s test piece, A Circus Suite. Then it was the turn of our award winning Youth Brass Band. The band played a set from their recent contest successes, the highlight surely being Under the Boardwalk, featuring Flugelhorn soloist, Isabel Thompson and rising Tuba star (6 feet 8 inch 17 year old) Sam Flemming. Bringing the first half to its conclusion was the highly entertaining Shepherd Group Concert Band. Mike Pratt was once again in fine form with another high energy set including Tenor Horn soloist, Jenny Mansell, in a stunning performance of The Lark in the Clear Air. The first half was brought to a close with the capacity audience singing along to the classic Abba Gold.
After a well deserved interval it was time for Richard Wilton and the wonderful Shepherd Group Brass Band to take the stage. Resplendent in evening wear, they opened their Strictly Brass themed set with the iconic Strictly Come Dancing TV theme. After a highly choreographed set that saw the band move from tango to paso-doblé and even a cha-cha, bringing the set to a conclusion with Matt Hall’s Nightingale Dances as their finale. Many of our audience members’ highlight though had to be Flugelhorn soloist Paul Stamp’s classy and controlled performance of Bacharach’s Alfie.
The band were then joined on stage by members of all bands and, keeping the dance theme alive, gave an encore of Lord of the Dance, the title dance of the 1996 show of the same name, that even featured a guest appearance by Michael Flatley (Mike Pratt) and Bernadette Flynn (Scott Dawson). This really had to be seen to be believed!
The Shepherd Group Band was very proud to play a part in the wedding of our 1st Horn player Sarah Stones to Rob Hunton over the weekend. Sarah has been a member of the Shepherds Band for many years.
A small group from the band performed in the church as guests arrived and played Highland Cathedral as Sarah was escorted down the aisle by her Dad, Jim. The newly married couple left the church to Simon Dawson’s arrangement of All You Need is Love.
During the signing of the register Sarah’s long time friend and international Tenor Horn soloist, Owen Farr, played solos including a simply breathtaking performance of Autumn Leaves, accompanied by the band.
On behalf of the all the Shepherd Group Bands, we wish Mr and Mrs Hunton a very happy life together.
On the 24th February the Shepherd Group Youth Brass Band attended the regional Music for Youth festival held at St. Aidan’s School, Harrogate. Fresh from their recent tour, the band played superbly and received impressive comments from the music mentors and audience. The ten minute programme included Alan Fernie’s ‘Prismatic Light’, ‘When I Grow Up’ from the musical Matilda and finished with the main theme from ‘Game of Thrones’. Whilst the event is not a competition there are certain groups who are invited to perform at the next stage of the festival which takes place at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall. The band are now looking forward to performing at the Hive (Manor School) alongside the Shepherd Group Brass Band on the 10th March.
Founded in 2011, the Shepherd Group Youth Brass Band is an absolute joy to be a part of. It’s wonderful to see how much the band has grown in recent years, winning our first competition in 2016 and continuing to take on new challenges and experiences since. This year is no exception, having just returned from our first tour.
Devizes was the destination for our four days away. We were lucky enough to be hosted by Jemima’s Gift, an incredible charity which provides opportunities for young people to reach their full potential in a range of fields. Set up in memory of Jemima Prees, this charity has allowed many young people to pursue their passions – from providing sporting equipment to funding study in prestigious music schools. Thus it was a real honour to work alongside them, helping to raise money so that they can continue to offer their support.
Of course, we would not have been able to raise this money without the generous people of Wiltshire who watched us playing in Devizes marketplace and, later, came to the joint concert we put on with Strings Incognito. Whilst the combination of a brass band and a string group is not something you see often, it was great to listen to a different type of ensemble and to play alongside them.
We also hosted a workshop, inviting members of the public to play with us as we tried out some new music. This was an excellent opportunity to meet other players – many of whom do not usually play brass instruments – and benefit from the wisdom of other conductors. Whilst somewhat tiring, as we played for much longer than most of us are used to, it was also thoroughly enjoyable.
For our last night in Wiltshire, we enjoyed a ceilidh. It seemed a fitting end to the tour as it reflected the fun that we’d had and, as we all took to the dancefloor, the new friendships we’d made.
This brilliant experience could not have taken place without the support of Craig Brown, our conductor, Richard Wilton, conductor of Shepherd Senior and Academy bands (and honorary youth for the weekend), Bronwyn Tuffen and Mandy Mosses – all of whom gave up their time to accompany us on the tour.