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Towcester Studio Band - Contest Result Archive

(BrassBandResults) -  here

At the turn of the century, Ada and Charlotte Phipps, daughters of the Towcester brewery owner, built and equipped ‘The Studio’, a club where young men could pursue art, woodcarving, sport and other activities. In 1910 Charlotte acquired a set of brass instruments and thus Towcester Studio Band was born.


The studio closed in 1929 but the band continued under William J. Bell. During the 1939-1945 War, the instruments were loaned to RAF Silverstone for use by the Station Band. In 1947, William Bell reformed the band which regained full strength in1949. Thanks to sound financial management in 1958, the band was able to move into its own custom built band room.

William Scholes was the band’s first professional Musical Director and took the band from 1963-1980. By 1977 he had taken the band from 4th Section to the Championship Section and also established and fine reputation for concerts. Martyn Brabbins, formerly a member of the Towcester Studio Youth Band, was Musical Director 1980-1984. Martyn is now a world-renowned conductor of orchestras and opera. Further details and available from his website:


Peter Wain followed as Musical Director 1985-1998. With Peter, the band achieved a major ambition by playing in the Royal Albert Hall and toured various parts of Europe. Sadly the band was then without a resident Musical Director for almost twelve months during which many of the players moved on. Adele Sellers took over in late 1999 and breathed new life and enthusiasm into the band. 2000 was a good year for the band with two contest successes, a recording and a trip to Ireland. In 2001, the band went on to achieve an exceptional run of contest results with wins at the Midland Area (2nd section), Buxton, Leicester and Aylesbury contests, with a 3rd prize at the 2nd Section National Finals. The band continued to strive under Adele’s leadership with prize winning performances in 2004 at the Midland Area (1st section), Milton Keynes, Wychavon and Pontins securing promotion to the Championship Section for 2005 and entry to the world top 200 brass bands rankings on

Adele stepped down at the end of 2005 due to work and family commitments but the band were grateful to John Hudson (formerly of Grimethorpe) for his help and direction up until the appointment of Barrie Johnson as Musical Director in April 2006.

Most of the band first met Huw Thomas as conductor when he conducted a few engagements and contests for the band in 2003. The band was delighted when Huw agreed to accept the role of Musical Director in July 2007.


Unfortunately, Huw Thomas left the band in the summer of 2009 but was replaced by the brass teacher Mark Waltho. Mark Waltho first joined the band after taking up the role of brass teacher at Sponne School and was seated as Principal cornet. Due to prior musical director experience Mark took up the role.

At the start of 2012, David Jones was appointed as Musical Director. David joined the GUS Footwear Band in November 1967 as their Soprano player, only the third since the inception of the band in 1933. This was a position he occupied

occupied for 23 years. During this time the band won the World Championship (still uncontested), The British Open, BBC Band of the Year, twice, Wills Euro championship, twice. Best of Brass Champions, twice, and many other major awards.

The band also had a rolling contract to record with EMI at their Abbey Road studios and has participated in over 20 commercial recordings, at least 50 live BBC recordings for radio, and several T.V. shows. David was also a member of Harry Mortimer’s All Stars and Men of Brass. During his tenure, he also played with all the tops bands of this era.


Since retiring from playing David was involved with conducting bands of all levels with a great deal of success and joined Towcester with a great reputation. David conducted the Band’s Centenary Concert in September 2010 when we celebrated 100 years of making music in the local community.

In August 2014 after a rigorous audition process, the Band welcomed Shaun Humphries as their new Musical Director. However due to pressure of work and personal health matters Shauns' tenure was short lived and so following the successful Christmas concert season TSB said farewell and wished Shaun well for his future health and music making.


TSB were very fortunate to also have access to the coaching and conducting skills of Neil Brownless. Neil shared rehearsal duties with Shaun and also played with the Band on several occasions. Once the committee knew of Shaun’s departure it was without hesitation that Neil was offered the vacant position.

Neil started his work with Towcester Studio Band in October 2014 as Associate Conductor but now had to step up to Musical Director. His immediate task was to prepare the Band to play at the Midlands Regional Qualifying Contest that took place on 7th March at Bedworth (The Band played far better than the result suggested!). As well as being an accomplished player in his own right (Trombone/Euphonium) Neil also currently holds conducting positions with Northampton Concert Band as Deputy Musical Director and Abingdon Concert Band as Musical Director.

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