Players perform to support Ukraine

A group from Senior Band on stage at the Grand Opera House

A Group from our Senior Band were absolutely honoured to close the fantastic ‘Concert For Ukraine’ in York’s iconic Grand Opera House on May 24th, playing the Ukrainian national anthem.

The concert featured many of North Yorkshire’s finest cover bands, playing to a huge enthusiast audience.

Every penny raised by the concert will go the the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal

Instrument Amnesty

With the increase of new members joining the Brass Academy we are starting to run short of instruments. 


We currently have a substantial list of missing instruments, some of which are still signed out to current and past members. 


This week we will be starting to contact ex players we believe to still have a loaned SGBB instrument. 
If you have more than one instrument at home not being used, or are an ex-member and still have a instrument, please drop off for me at the bandroom or contact me on 07973442249 or email richardwilton@nesyork.org to arrange collection. 


Your help and assistance in this matter would be very much appreciated, let’s keep the sound of Brass Alive at the SGBB organisation.

So proud of Imogen.

Imogen being presented with her award at Harroogate Ladies College

The whole organisation are unbelievably proud of SGBB Principal Baritone Imogen Fewster, who recently attended The National Youth Brass Band Of Great Britain’s Easter course. After a seating audition with Euphonium Virtuoso Dr David Thornton, Imogen once again secured the solo Baritone seat. However, she didn’t stop there as she was later in the week awarded the Katie Ogden Euphonium/Baritone prize playing Vassily Brandt’s Concert Piece for trumpet. Imogen will now represent the Euph/Bari section in the concerto final held at the summer course in late July/August, where she will perform Martin Ellerby’s Baritone Concerto. 

The principal players at the easter NYBBGB course


The Easter course was held at Harrogate Ladies College and saw 70 of the best young brass and percussion players in the country attend. 
Well done Imogen.  


If any of our young players are interested in audition details for both the NYBBGB or the NYBB Children’s Band, please speak to Richard or Imogen.

End of term treat

The Shepherd Group Brass Academy end of term concert took place on Monday 4th April.

All three Monday night Academy groups performed at our band HQ in Huntington. The showcase opened with Brass Roots, under the baton of Audrey Brown, before the nearly 50 strong Academy Brass and MD Richard Wilton took the stage. The evening’s entertainment concluded with our highly talented Youth Band and Craig Brown, showcasing their recent Music For Youth set!

For many of our young players, the evening provided their very first public performance to over 100 enthusiastic parents, carers and families.Huge quantities of coffee, cake and juice were consumed afterwards and rounded off a fantastic end to a simply amazing, if not a challenging, term for the SGBBA

North of England Championships 2022

The Senior Band made the trip up to the Gala Theatre in Durham to take part in the Regional Championships on March 20th.

The test piece was the challenging Contest Music by Wilfred Heaton. This is a piece that looks deceptively simple when you first see it but which takes no prisoners and has ttraps for the unwary.

Frustratingly the band were placed 6th yet again, this is becoming a habit! However, the trip didn’t see us come away empty handed as the bass section were awarded the trophy for best basses on the day, something they have been very reluctant to mention since.

New Band Chair

We are excited to welcome Alister Talbot as the new Chairman of the Shepherd Group Brass Band Organisation!

“I am delighted to have taken over the role as Chairman of the organisation. I have been involved with the band for 7 years as Solo Baritone until August of 2021.I have always been incredibly proud of everything our bands do both at a local and national level, and have already been leading the committee in planning our vision for the organisation moving forward……”

Masterclass inspiration for members of the. Shepherd Group Youth Band

Two talented youngsters from the Shepherd Group Youth Band recently topped up their skills when they attended a virtual brass day run by the Cory Band from South Wales, the world’s best brass band.
The expert coaching was delivered by the principal players from Cory and the day was delivered by Maestro Philip Harper, Cory band’s enigmatic musical director. Here’s what our young stars thought of the experience.

Adam Peters (Eb bass)

‘It was a really long day on Zoom with some interesting backgrounds on display. Philip Harper recognised that mine was of Birmingham Symphony Hall from when the Youth Band played there a couple of years ago. This was a great chance to see and hear how some of the best band in the world get to that level. They were all very friendly and helpful, sharing their experience with anyone who wanted to know. The only downside was that we couldn’t be in the same place and play all together. Maybe next time.’

Imogen Fewster (Solo Baritone)

On Saturday 16th January, I attended the Cory Band Virtual Brass & Percussion Day. The day began with a warmup led by principal cornetist Tom Hutchinson, who took us through the exercises he uses to start his practices – an essential part of any brass player’s life. Philip Harper then took the first of three full band rehearsals, which were focused on the two pieces of the course: Sousa’s march Washington Post and Philip Sparke’s A Malvern Suite. In these sessions, he guided us not only through the physical techniques of the pieces, but also how to play them in a way which would set you apart from any other band. The interpretation skills we learnt will be invaluable when we all return to band in person.

As well as the full band rehearsals, there also two virtual sectionals, led by principal players from Cory. In mine, led by 1st Baritone Steve Kane, we went through the details of the baritone and euphonium parts, with a focus on how our individual parts fitted into the rest of the band. We also learnt the best way to play a march. For all participants, it was an inspiration to be tutored by some of the best players in the world, and we learnt so much to then apply to the full band rehearsals. Throughout the day, several Cory principals also gave us mini concerts, with beautiful and breath-taking solos they’d recorded beforehand. Simply listening to these world-class players was a once in a lifetime opportunity which I am so glad to have been offered.

Overall, this was a truly incredible day. We were given tips from the best band in the world, learned skills which will be invaluable for the future, and played some beautiful music. It was an extremely welcome reminder in our strange new normal of what banding is about, and how much the Cory Band does for the banding world. In the breaks, we had the chance to meet players from all over the world, and who could forget the fantastic finishing quiz (in which, unfortunately, the bari/euph team came an ignominious last)? This day was a fantastic opportunity, and one I’m very glad to have taken. Would I go again? Absolutely.

Brass Day

On Sunday 26th January 2020 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

Brass Bands England inaugural Social Impact Award

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”

Contest Successes

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.

Band members with the 4th place trophy