Sep 16, 2014
National Finals Cheltenham

Author: <span>Trevor Waltersthompson</span>

Music For Youth



Music For Youth

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!
Spring Concert 2018

Spring Concert



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!


Congrats to Mr & Mrs Hunton


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.


Music For Youth


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.

Youth Band Tour 2018


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.

(by Charlotte Forman)

Joseph Rowntree Threatre Christmas 2017


Joseph Rowntree’s 22nd / 23rd December

After a year away from the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, the bands were thrilled to be back for another sell out gala concert this Christmas.

Once again Brass Roots, the most recent addition to the bands’ family, entertained the audience before the ever-growing Academy band opened the show. The Academy band have gone from strength to strength, taking on new and more challenging repertoire whilst also developing all round banding technique and this was evident in their impressive start to the show.

The Youth band followed with a set of new music including ‘Blessings in Christmas’, a stunning setting of a Korean carol. This year the Youth band have worked hard to raise funds for various competitions and projects, including their upcoming tour to Wiltshire to support the charity Jemima’s Gift.

Mike Pratt and the Concert band delivered a high energy set which opened with a festive ‘Christmas Calypso’ and included audience participation in ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’, tenor horn soloist Jenny Mansell, and a tribute to the late Greg Lake ‘I Believe in Father Christmas’.

Following the interval, the Senior band started their set with ‘Gøta’, a brand new piece of Norwegian music played by memory as the band entered the stage. Another set full of new music included tuba soloist Joe Steede, Canadian ‘Huron Carol’, and a mammoth ‘Gaudete’ arranged by Kevin Norbury. The band are becoming familiar with the work of Norbury in his ‘Odyssey’, which has been selected as the 2018 Championship Section Area test piece.

A special encore of Alan Fernie’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ featured images of donated instruments being played by the Mbale band from East Africa. This was an opportunity for the band to show how far instruments and funds donated throughout 2017 had gone. The Mbale band work tirelessly to provide instruments and tuition to communities throughout Uganda and East Africa.

In traditional Shepherd style, the massed band final featured players from all bands being involved in music, choreography and entertainment! The monks of the brethren of Tang Hall returned once more this time armed with hand chimes! A bespoke arrangement by Simon Dawson featured hand chimes, massed band, and guest percussion in ‘The Little Drummer Boy’

2017 has been a hugely successful year for all the bands at Shepherds and we would like to thank all of our supporters and wish all a happy and brass-filled New Year! 



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Children in Need Evening in York


The lovely Mike Pratt along with Jericho Keys from BBC Radio York and members of the Shepherd Group Concert Brass Band at Holy Trinity Church Micklegate York. The band played carols to welcome the audience to a special evening of entertainment in aid of Cildren In Need


Come and Join Brass Roots!


Brass Roots is the Shepherd Group’s 5th band, which rehearses on a Monday evening at 6.30 pm and has been designed for absolute beginners, for anyone to learn the basics of playing and reading music. 

We have a large number of instruments to learn on which are available for loan.

Our rehearsal facilities are second to none and are situated on New Lane in Huntington, York 

Even though we have over 150 players in our organisation we are always looking for new talent, so if you know anyone that would like to join any of our ensembles or learn to play a brass instrument with us then please email us at

We welcome players of all abilities and ages so please share with anyone you think may be interested!

In September several players moved up to the Academy Band and we welcomed new beginners to the ranks.

All the youngsters and adults are looking forward to the Christmas concerts at Jo Ro theatre on Dec 22nd and 23rd


Last Night of The Proms


With strong winds and beautiful Autumnal skies, the Shepherd Group Brass Band and local girl, vocalist Jessa Liversidge came together at Easingwold’s Galtres Centre for what has now become their annual ‘Last night of the Proms’ concert.
The capacity audience, who were brave enough to face the elements, enjoyed a fantastic evening of music, which kicked off with the the band’s recent award winning Bolsover set and included Andrew Lloyd Webber’s beautiful “I don’t know how to love him” sung with such class by Jessa Liversidge, accompanied by the band. After the interval the Band and Jessa came together to perform the ever-popular ‘Prom Finale’ of Sir Hubert Parry’s Jerusalem, Sir Henry Wood’s ‘Fantasia On British Seasongs’ and bringing the concert to a close for another year, Sir Edward Elgar’s ‘Pomp And Circumstance’.