Hot on the heels (or should that be trotters! ) of our marvellous Parliament Street performances on the afternoon of July 1st , the Band organisation held a pig racing evening at Acomb Conservative Club to raise money for the many contesting ventures that we are undertaking 2017. And what a great evening it was!
The club was packed with band members, band supporters and club members all keen to have a little flutter on the piggies.
Dave Cussons, The Pig Man, was our genial host for the evening and he made sure that everyone understood how the betting and racing worked and ensured that everyone had a really good time.
I think the sight of Richard Wilton jumping up and down, cheering on the piggies he had backed will live long in our memories.
A special mention must go to Kim and Shane for the lovely pie and pea supper they provided.
All in all a fantastic evening!
If you weren’t there you missed a treat and we managed to raise a whopping £732 for band funds.
Thank you all who sponsored races, bought pigs and turned up on the evening. We are certainly looking to organise a similar evening for next year.
The Shepherd Group of Bands were out in force at the recently held Easingwold March and Hymn Tune competition. The competition centres around the Market Place in Easingwold and this year the competition attracted no less than 13 bands from as far as Newcastle to Dobcross to Barnsley .
This was a first for our group as three of our bands took part in the competition, this is the first time this has ever happened in the history of the bands. The Senior Band , Concert Band and the Youth Band all competed so we had in excess of 100 players out on the night.
The evening saw a mix of fortunes but on the whole a very successful night all round
The Senior band came away with Best Band on the March , Best Hymn Tune overall , Best 1st Section Band and 2nd overall in the competition. To achieve this we had to beat a number of championship graded bands so a very commendable nights work, the Senior Band played the Hymn tune Love Unknown followed by the March Knight Templar
The Concert Band were very pleased with winning the best Hymn tune for unregistered bands, they played the Hymn Eventide followed by the march Punchinello
The Youth Band didn’t fare so well however, it was a fantastic experience for the youngsters to get out a play in a competition such as this against all section bands. They played the hymn tune Aurelia followed by the March Old Comrades.
A fantastic night was had by all and we are hoping to be able to compete in the contest again next year and who’s knows we might have four bands out ?
Once again players from all five bands came together to compete in the annual solo competition. Members demonstrated their individual talents with slow melodies, air variations, and technical works. The judge for the evening was Black Dyke solo cornet player David Smith, who had the difficult job of selecting the top two positions in each category. There was such a fantastic array of talent on show and an impressive demonstration of the standard of players across the bands.
1st Place – Zach Hindle
2nd Place – Elysia Sanderson-Aylett
1st Place – Henry Bate
2nd Place – James Konefal
1st Place – Tasha Collins
2nd Place – Imogen Fewster
1st Place – Louis McLaren
2nd Place – Millie Brough-Jones
1st Place – Isaac Bousfield
2nd Place – Jenny Mansell
We are absolutely delighted to announce that on 15th July 2017 the band will be performing a joint concert with the Cory Band, the World’s Best Brass Band.
The Cory Band, whose home is in Treorchy in the Welsh Valleys, comprises both male and female performers of mixed ages and backgrounds, hailing from near and far, but with one thing in common – the drive to do whatever it takes to keep Cory the world’s highest ranked brass band.
Cory cemented their position as the world’s No.1 ranked band in 2016 by becoming the first band in history to win the European, British Open, National and BiC titles in the same calendar year. The band are proudly leading the traditional form of Brass Band amateur music-making into a new era by exuding a palpable sense of dynamism and professionalism.
Shepherd Group Brass Band’s MD Richard Wilton, commented:
“We are tremendously excited for the opportunity to play alongside such a world-class group of musicians. The Cory Band have completely revolutionised the world of top-level banding in the last few years and this an incredible opportunity for all the players of my band, and one that I believe will benefit them for many years to come.”
Each band will be performing one half of the concert before joining together for a Massed Bands finale.
The concert itself is taking place in the 350 seat auditorium of Manor CE School in York on 15th July 2017. It starts at 7:30pm with tickets costing just £10. To book tickets please call Nicola – 01904 655076
Manor CE School,
Nether Poppleton York YO26 6PA
The Mbale Brass Band of Uganda, founded by Phillip Monk, a retired Brass Band Player, who thought that giving the members a meal along with the opportunity of learning to play an instrument might help to improve the life chances of some of the young people of this impoverished country.
We at Shepherd Group Brass Bands were so inspired by his story we wanted to help in some way so we decided that at our Christmas Concerts we would arrange a leaving collection to which our audiences contributed very generously. We, ourselves also contributed from the Bands funds and donated some instruments from our members which were surplus to requirements.
We are sure that the members of our audiences at the Rowntree Theatre last Christmas will be pleased to see that their very kind generosity is having very positive results.
The Band is delighted to announce that we have promoted back into the Championship section from 1st January 2018. After spending just one year in the first section the band is thrilled to be back in the top flight, again.
Richard Wilton the Band’s Musical Director said “ it is a great feeling to be straight back into the championship section , everybody has worked so hard recently and we have built a real team in the last few months, we need now to focus on the National finals in Cheltenham and then prepare ourselves for the area Championship s in 2018.”
The band had been working hard for this year’s Area Championship as a good result would see them bounce straight back into the Championship section for 2018.
Richard had worked the band hard with extra sectional and full band rehearsals. The band had a lot to prove. Before going onto stage we knew that we were playing the piece well however, like all contests it’s about the performance on stage and the thoughts of the adjudicators. There was a sense of expectation building amongst the players as the we walked onto stage and settled ourselves. Any nerves gave way to excitement as we gave a truly awesome performance. All the soloists gave their all more than ably supported by the rest of the band, the performance became the benchmark for the contest. Unfortunately on the day this benchmark was set to high for all the other bands. The band was crowned 1St section North of England Champions and with that came an invitation to the National finals in Cheltenham.
Credit and huge thanks must go to Richard for his tireless dedication to the band but also the soloists and all the band members, whilst individuals shone it was a collective team effort which brought home the silverware.
The band won the 1st Section Trophy, Richard received a trophy for the winning Conductor and as an added bonus Alister Brown our Bass Trombone won the best Trombone trophy, so overall a very good day at the office.
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.
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.
New 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.
Meet 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.
We have been very humbled by the response to our latest Joseph Rowntree concerts, which we have been told were “our best yet!”. Every year the bands of the Shepherd Group put on Gala Christmas Concerts at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre in York, and every year they are very successful and always sell out.
This was also the very first performance of our latest ensemble and absolute beginners, Brass Roots, who played as the audience were arriving. Brass Roots has been founded to accommodate absolute beginners in their first few months of learning and teach them the basics of notation and playing in a small-ensemble setting before entering the Academy Band.
MD Richard Wilton commented:
“I had a five year plan for when I joined the band as to where I saw the organisation going, and it has been completely blown out of the water! We now have over 150 members, 5 bands and some of the most passionate and dedicated brass players around.”
Every year we conclude our concerts with a massed bands finale and every year these are getting more and more elaborate. This year we concluded with the bands playing the “Hallelujah Chorus” accompanied by the “Silent Monks of Tang Hall”….. Please check out our full video of the finale, which went down a storm with the croud!
The funds raised from these concerts are so important for the band, as they allow us to carry on progressing our youth programme, purchase new instruments, pay for extra tutors and keep our music library up-to-date. However, we are so lucky as a band that we are in such a stable financial position and we have therefore decided to donate our retiring collection to charity. Across the two nights our audiences donated a total of £516, which will be split between York Against Cancer and Brass for Africa.
We have a busy schedule for concerts for 2017, which will be available, so keep checking our Events page.