Sep 16, 2014
National Finals Cheltenham

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Spring Festival 2017

Success at the British Open Spring Festival

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The band had a successful weekend playing at the British Open Spring Festival Contest in the wonderful venue of The Spanish Hall at The Blackpool Winter Gardens. The entry into the competition is by invitation only and the organisers take the only the top bands in the country. The band was placed 12th out of 19 competing bands in the Senior Trophy , and we are delighted to announce that this means we will reappear at the contest again next year. Ian Porthouse and Tom Hutchinson made lots of positive comments about our performance in their adjudicator’s remarks – we should all be very proud of the way the band’s soloists performed on stage – a huge congratulations to all! Particular thanks must go to our MD, Mr Richard Wilton, for his endless hard work during sectionals and rehearsal in preparing us for this contest. This was a particularly momentous weekend from the band – never before have The Shepherd Group Band been a part of this prestigious contest, but it has recently come to light that the Rowntree Cocoa Works Band were present at the 1959 contest.

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Shepherds welcome in 2017 with strong cornet line-up

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A few months ago university commitments, relocation and retirements meant that the band was in a very unfortunate position to have lost a number of cornet players all at once. But following our successful third-placed performance in the Championship Section at the Bolsover Entertainment Contest back in October, we had a big recruitment drive and are now back up to full strength, with quite possibly, our strongest team yet.

andyNew principal cornet

Following a long hard search we have also found ourselves a fantastic principal cornet player. Andy Novell has been a friend of the band now for many years and agreed to join the team following his departure from the York Railway Institute Band this autumn. Alongside being an excellent player Andy also brings conducting experience to the table from his time with the Otley Brass Band and we are looking forward to getting him involved with training some of our younger players.

 

cornets 2Meet the new players

In total we have acquired 6 new cornet players, all of whom are great local players:

  • Principal cornet – Andy Novell (top right)
  • Front row – Andy Grace (middle right) and Rob and Lynne Illsley (middle and bottom left)
  • Back row – Peter Andrews (top left) and Julia Sanders (bottom right)

Whilst the players have now all been performing with the band over the festive period they will all be competing with the band at the Areas in March on Land of the Long White Cloud and for the bands debut performance at the Spring Festival in May.

MD Richard Wilton Commented:

Honestly, I’m so thrilled at how well it’s all come together. Back in August when we had players leaving to go to university and I found out we were losing a couple more due to new jobs, I won’t lie, I was really pretty panicked! But our new recruits take our cornet team to completely new levels and I can’t wait to start work on the Area test piece with them. I’m particularly delighted at the signing of Mr Novell, who has now done a couple of concerts with us and brings such classy playing to the cornet section, he really is a pleasure to work with. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Simon Dawson, who has been filling in for me on principal cornet. He has done a fantastic job and I honestly don’t know how we would have coped without him, really top bandsman!

Organisation on the up

Outside of the Senior Band, the Shepherd Group Brass Band Organisation continues to be on the rise, making up one of the largest brass band communities in Europe with over 150 players and 5 bands, and due to heavy demand we are looking at expanding even further in 2017.

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Youth Band dazzle as they switch on the Christmas Lights

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15094366_10157774656810346_1679502736070800467_nLast night our Youth Band were lucky enough to join the Lord Mayor, Radio York and the cast of the Theatre Royal Pantomime to switch on the Christmas Lights in St Helen’s Square.

The switching on of the lights, organised by York City Council, has become a huge event over the last few years, attracting large crowds from all over the city. Last night was no exception as hundreds of people braved the elements to see the annual spectacle. The Youth Band played a number of carols and famous Christmas songs and held the crowd around for long after the actual lights had been switched on.

Youth Band MD Craig Brown commented:   15122985_10157774656045346_3735058541727313476_o

“It’s a such a great opportunity for the kids to get to play in front of such a big audience and for such a well respected event. It’s an event that a lot of people film and remember so it’s a really fantastic chance to showcase exactly what they can do.”

Find out where else you can see our Youth Band by visiting our events page.

Percussion

Shepherds team up with Acoustic Percussion

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The band is proud to announce the launch of a new partnership with highly regarded specialist percussion brand Acoustic Percussion. This alliance started earlier this year after the company supplied a large number of mallets and sticks to the band in order to help bring more young percussionists into the organisation.

The bands percussion Tutor Alan Drever-Smith commented:

“We are thrilled to have access to such an excellent range of mallets, which our budding percussion students love to use.”

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Since starting the partnership Alan has had the resources at his disposal to expand the percussion sections of both the Academy and Youth Bands. This means that the organisation now has several new budding percussionists that will hopefully move up into the Concert and Senior Bands. The extra equipment has even meant that Alan has been able to run a highly successful “Percussion Masterclass” in order to further recruit new members.

Acoustic Percussion source only the finest materials from all over the globe to produce their equipment and the brand is well known for producing extremely high quality and balanced kit. The bands are very excited about the partnership and believe it will greatly help the aspiring percussionists of the organisation.

 

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Joint concert with Besses Boys

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We’re getting really excited for our joint concert with the Besses Boys Band at the beginning of December! Besses are travelling all the way from Manchester for the concert and both bands are already working hard on putting together a great programme. The concert is taking place on Saturday 3rd December at The Hive in York and tickets are now sale.

Sure to be a sellout this one so make sure you don’t miss out!

Tickets available on our events page.

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Hardraw Scar 2016

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Last Sunday our Concert Band competed at the Hardraw Scar Entertainment Contest in Hawes. It was an absolutely beautiful day and the whole band was really excited to be back playing at one of their favourite competitions. Hardraw has been a staple feature of the Concert Band calendar for many years now and it was very disappointing for the band not to play at it last year due to oversubscription – so this year they were back with a vengeance.

As usual MD Mike Pratt put together a fantastic programme, which due to his infectious energy went down brilliantly with the audience. The programme featured the march “Imperial Echoes”, the beautiful cornet solo “Share my Yoke”, played beautifully by Emily Smith and the pop classic “My Way”. Their programme also featured a great new arrangement of the hymn tune Nearer my God to Thee, for which the band actually won the prize for best hymn – a huge achievement!

The band were absolutely delighted with how the performance on the day went and were even more delighted when they were awarded 3rd prize in their section!

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Band golf competition

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Yesterday the band held its first ever Golf Tournament. Despite our lovely sponsors kindly providing us with umbrellas the weather thankfully held out. Lots of members from across our organisation took part, both experienced and inexperienced golfers and a fun day was had by all.

We have quite a few enthusiastic golfers within the organisation so it all got quite competitive but the eventual winner of the afternoon’s 18 hole stableford competition was the band’s fabulous MD Richard Wilton. The winners of the 9 hold Texas scramble in the evening were Charles Wilson and Trevor Walters Thompson.

 

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Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Davies!

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Today our Senior Band was delighted to play at the wedding of Chloe Walsh and Huw Davies. Chloe is the Senior Band’s Second Trombone player and we were thrilled that she asked us to play at her wedding.

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The couple married at St Andrew’s Church in Bishopthorpe and it was an absolutely beautiful service.

On behalf of all the members of the Shepherd Group Brass Band we would like to wish them both congratulations and wish them all the luck in the future.

 

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FIRST PRIZE for our Youth Band!

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This Friday our Youth Band went and competed in their VERY FIRST competition! The band went to the Rothwell Competitive Music Festival and came WON their section, against some very tough competition.

The band waiting to set off!

The band waiting to set off!

13041421_10156845994505346_8124064816588984435_oThe band played in front of a packed out hall and they played absolutely brilliantly. Their programme, picked out by their talented MD Craig Brown, was movie inspired and consisted of:

The 20th Century Fox Theme
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Mission Impossible
Peter Gunn Theme
Eye of the Tiger

The competition in their section was very tough, but the band took command of the evening and played with true drive, determination and, perhaps most importantly, genuine enthusiasm.

Our Youth Band was only founded 5 years ago, so it was a big achievement for the band to even be going to its first competition after such a short space of time! So for them to actually come away champions is such as huge achievement and all of us here at Shepherds are so very very proud of them.

To find out more about joining our Youth Band and learning with us please check out our vacancies page.

 

British Bandsman photoshoot

Our British Bandsman photoshoot

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Big things are happening here at Shepherds, and we are delighted that the rest of the brass band community is catching on! A few weeks ago the band was lucky enough to welcome down an editor from the internationally published magazine British Bandsman to come write a feature on our organisation.

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Audrey Brown's Magazine Cover!

Audrey Brown’s Magazine Cover!

Negotiations for us having a feature originally started when the Senior Band played at the Bolsover Contest back in October. During the contest a series of interviews took place and the band’s conductor Richard got into a conversation with the magazines editor about all that we do at Shepherds. The editor was simply amazed at the sheer number of players that we have in the organisation and at the sound of our facilities and set up, and he suggested that we would make a perfect feature for the magazine.

So one Monday night we called all five bands together and Paul Hindmarsh from the magazine came down and our sponsors were even kind enough to provide us with a photographer. Whilst down he carried out a series of interviews with Richard Wilton, Craig Brown, Mike Pratt, David Gregg, Samantha Woodman and Imogen Brown to gain a feel of the organisation. Meanwhile each of the five bands carried out a short rehearsal and at the end we gathered everyone together for a big group shot.

It was a great evening all round and we were absolutely delighted when the magazine came out and our own Audrey Brown, former conductor of the Brass Academy, was on the cover.