Sep 16, 2014
National Finals Cheltenham

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Brass Day

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On Sunday 26th January the Shepherd Group opened the bandroom doors to budding brass players, supporters, friends and family in a day full of musical activity. Members of the Shepherd Group Senior band were on hand throughout the morning offering drop-in come and try sessions. There were over thirty families who attended this session, giving everyone the opportunity to try a brass instrument for the first time.

The sessions which followed were focused on ensemble playing, starting out with a group of younger players who had potentially never played as a group before. Players worked on listening skills, as well as several pieces before presenting results to an audience of family members. Within later sessions players worked on larger scale pieces include Max Stannard’s ‘Into the Future’, National Youth Brass Band Championship set work ‘Saint-Saens Variations’ by Philip Sparke, as well as Christopher Bond’s ‘Neverland’.

The Shepherd Group organisation, which now boast six separate ensembles, was awarded Brass Band England’s ‘Social Impact Award’, and last week’s series of workshops demonstrated the community following that the band has nurtured.

We have already had loads of new recruits to our Monday night Brass Academy and are looking forward to more inclusion events in the future.

For photos see:- https://drive.google.com/open?id=1CcSuiW5sLJCbDUhY_SPGAsqiBxB9MMXg

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Brass Bands England’s inaugural ‘Social Impact Award’

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The Shepherd Group Brass Bands have been presented with Brass Bands England’s inaugural ‘Social Impact Award’. The award, which recognised the national contributions brass bands make to communities, was presented at the Brass Bands England annual conference on Saturday 28th September. 

Richard Wilton, Musical Director says “We have built such a rich and well established banding community at Shepherds, platforming 6 bands and providing opportunities for all brass players”. 

“A major part of our contribution is via our Brass Academy – where we educate and facilitate brass playing from scratch. Our award-winning Youth Band provide a top flight outlet for young members of society to fulfil their musical potential, with many players aspiring to join our senior, flagship ensemble”

Easingwold Proms Tickets available.

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Tickets are available for the annual Proms evening on September 28th at the Galtres Centre in Easingwold. The concert will feature our very own Richard Wilton in his trademark Union Flag jacket and once again we will be joined by Easingwold’s own Jessa Liversedge to lead the singing.

Tickets are available direct from the Galtres Centre. Tel. 01347 822472

Proms Concert

Out of this world!

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All the Shepherd Group of Bands came together for our annual Spring Concert and the Joseph Rowntree Theatre in York.

The concert was titled Enter the Galaxies and was space music themed, the inspiration for which came for the 50thanniversary of the first moon landing. The conductors had come up with quite an imaginary programme incorporating as many space tunes and titles as they could.

Brass Roots set the evening off with music title twinkle, twinkle little star, fly me to the Moon to the theme from the clangers, they played a number of other space music entertaining the audience as they arrived.

The curtain went up and Katie Wannop made her debut as the Academy Band conductor, the Academy Band thrilled us with a number of pieces including the Dr Who theme and the march starchaser.

A quick changeover as Craig Brown brought on the amazing Youth Band reprising their Ripon Entertainment programme which had gained them 3rdplace overall  out of  a field of 14 Bands. Their programme included pieces like the Final Countdown, Jupiter’s theme and the concert finisher Dark Side of the Moon.

The curtain fell before opening again to reveal the hugely entertaining Concert Band, Mike Pratt was at his best ably support by the band playing pieces such as Rusalka’s  Song to the Moon, Moon river. They ended the first half with their usual panache and style playing David Bowie’s Starman.

The second half opened with the Senior band playing the concert’s title music Enter the Galaxies with antiphonal players spread around the stage. Rob Illsley played the beautiful cornet solo  Song of the Night Sky.  The mood was lightened by the theme for the Cantina Band from Star Wars. The senior band like to finish with a “biggy” and you can’t get much bigger that Holst’s Mars from his planet suite.

A short break and whilst the Senior Band were joined on stage by players from the Concert and Youth bands, well over a 100 players on stage all joined together to play Eve of War from War of the Worlds with lighting and sound effects rounding off a fantastic evening of space themed music.

Success all round at Easingwold

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The Easingwold march contest in 2018 went down as one of the wettest on record and saw the senior band just miss out on the overall prize to Fishburn Band from the North East. 2019 was a drier day and all the Shepherd Group Bands turned out to take part in the contest and to offer support to each other on the stage.

The format of the contest is that each competing band plays a road march as they head for the contest square and are marked on their deportment as the go. On the stand they then play a march and a hymn tune. The contest is growing in popularity and 2019 saw 14 bands competing including some strong competition from Marsden Band, a regular prize winning band in the Saddleworth Whit Friday competitions.

The day was going to be a busy one for the Youth Band as they had played earlier in the day at the Ripon Entertainments contest. What nobody knew at the time was that they had come third at Ripon and had beaten the current Yorkshire Third Section champion band and National Finalists into fourth place.

The Concert Band and Youth Bands both produced very creditable performance and the very last band to play on the night was the senior band. It was quite blustery as the  band took to the stage and played their hymn and march. The hymn tune was the lovely Prelude on Lavenham, a piece that has been played out by many bands this year and a very popular if challenging choice. The march was the classic contest march Knight Templar. As the players came off the general feeling was we had played as well as we could have on the night, and the results were in the hands of the adjudicator.

After their earlier successes in Ripon (and the unexpected cheers from them as their Ripon results came through), the Youth Band took the unregistered prize and a very creditable 8th overall, just beating the Concert Band into 9th and beating a few of our local 3rd section friends as well. The senior band had a great night winning the Best Basses prize, Best Championship Section Band and Best band overall on the night. The adjudicator, Martin Heartfield commented as the Basses prize was being collected that he had really enjoyed the performance from the band.

We are looking forward to 2020 and to see which other bands come along to this contest. It is very well run and is a great evening out. Congratulations to the organisers and thanks to all the players in the Shepherd Group family for making this a great day for all our players.

Best Basses. A happy bunch aren’t they.

The prize haul

The trophy collection

Contest successes

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The past few months have seen the bands doing very well in the contesting world. While we pride ourselves in putting on exiting and entertaining concert programmes, contesting is the sporting side of our music making and it is great to get a good result in any contest. This year has been particularly satisfying.

The successes started off with a trip over to Blackpool in May when the Senior Band took part in the 99th Spring Festival. This was the third appearance of the band in this contest but with a draw in the morning half of the contest and the winners traditionally coming from the second half there was a hill to climb. The test piece was Triumphant Rhapsody by Gilbert Vinter and this is a piece that rewards control and delicate approaches from bands rather than an all out attack.

The overall result saw the band take 4th place behind VBS Poynton, City of Bradford and Verwood Concert Brass. The band had been leading the contest right up until the 2/3 mark in the contest and 4barsrest described the performance as a “quality marker” in their write up. The adjudicators said “the best bands brought out the colour, detail flow and wit of the music, making it flow.” This result sees the band promoted from the Senior Trophy to the Senior Cup for the centenary contest in 2020.

We must congratulate VBS Poynton on their win and especially congratulate their MD, Ryan Watkins the principal trombone player at Brighouse and Rastrick Band who began his playing career with Shepherd Group Band.

Members of the band with the 4th place trophy after the results.

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Tickets Now on Sale!!

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The Cory Band is arguably the best brass band in the world and they will perform at Central Hall, University of York, alongside the Shepherd Group Brass Band, on Saturday 16th November, entertaining in their own unique style.The Cory Band were the first band ever to be quadruple champions, simultaneously holding in 2016 the UK National, British Open, European and Brass in Concert titles. They have maintained their status as the number one brass band in the world consistently for the last 12 years.
Don’t miss a fantastic opportunity to discover the brass band that is breaking new ground! The concert will showcase each band and then culminate in a fantastic massed band finale.
To book your tickets go to https://yorkconcerts.ticketsolve.com/shows/873605608

Shepherd Group Youth Band tour to Disneyland Paris, France

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The Shepherd Group Youth Band have completed their second successive tour, this time to world famous Disneyland, Paris. Throughout 2018 and in to 2019 the band worked exceptionally hard organising fundraising events, sponsorship, and concerts to help get them to their destination.

The band embarked on the 12 hour journey early on 23rd February, taking coach then ferry to their accommodation just outside the Disneyland park, they were even greeted by a sneak peek of the firework show as they checked in to the hotel.

The following day started with a trip to Montmarte, taking in stunning views of Paris, a guided tour pointing out local history, a visit to Sacre Coeur, and plenty of Crepes. Then it was on to the first of two concerts. The weather, audience, and atmosphere at the Luxemburg Gardens was top notch and the band entertained a crowd of around 500 people with a set consisting of pieces such as the theme from Game of Thrones,
Eye of The Tiger and Alan Fernie’s Prismatic Light. We then headed across the river for an unmissable trip to the Eifel Tower before heading back to the hotel.

Our final day was the one we were most excited about, we had an early breakfast and headed to the Disneyland park. We were shown straight to our dressing rooms, given a backstage tour of the stage area, and then taken front of house in our performance venue – The Videopolis Stage. What a venue! The thousand seater auditorium was such an impressive space and the band’s excitement was building. Our performance coordinator took us to the best spot in the park for photos before getting changed and preparing to perform. We met the technical and stage managers who talked us through our performance, then began our rehearsal and sound check. After a short break it was then time to play, with the band giving a stellar 20 minute performance, representing themselves, the Shepherd Group, and York in immaculate fashion. Still riding high from the performance the members then had the rest of the day to explore the park, visit the attractions, and ride as many rollercoasters as possible!

The trip was a complete success and each member contributed towards an unforgettable experience. The band have moved from strength to strength and continue to build and develop. They are now looking forward to a busy year of concerts and contests, starting with a sold out concert only next week!

Band Party

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Players from all 5 Shepherd Group Bands enjoyed themselves last night at the annual SGBB and friends party to celebrate 2018.
Congratulations go to the SGBB EEb Bass player and Youth Band MD, Craig Brown, Concert Band Flugelhorn Soloist, Louis McLaren, Youth Band Solo Horn, Daniel Wilton and Academy Band Solo Horn player, Toni Powell, who won the “Players’ player of the Year” award from their respective bands.
Other award winners on the night were, Flugelhorn soloist Paul Stamp ‘Performance of the year’, Solo Horn, Jenny Mansell ‘Most improved player’, Euphonium & Baritones ‘Section of the year’ and Edward Easthaugh, received a special award from Brass Roots MD, Sally Mansell.
Huge thanks must go to Audrey Brown for organising another hugely successful event. Here’s to a brilliant 2019! 🎺🎈🎉🎺