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TSB’s HaBiT (Having a Blast in Towcester) project enters another key phase!

For most brass bands, the period immediately following Xmas is focused on Regional Area contest preparations, and that is certainly true for TSB. However, the start of this year saw the Band hosting a key event at Northampton School for Boys (NSB) Cripps Hall Theatre. The workshop and concert day was a key event in the HaBiT project and resulted in a workshop band of 70+ players being tutored by members of the famous Foden’s Band and getting to play alongside the Band on the concert stage.


The workshop band comprised of representatives from fifteen brass bands, a university band, Youth Brass 2000, NMPAT (Northampton Music & Performing Arts Trust) and local schools. The atmosphere throughout the day was brilliant, with the youngest player aged 12 and an age range right through to experienced seniors!


The workshop commenced at 2pm and all participants had been circulated prior to the event with music chosen for the day by Mike Fowles, MD of Foden’s.

A new piece of music was commissioned especially for use at the workshop day, prior to being performed in public for the very first time during the evening concert. This piece was written by Foden’s principal trombone player, John Barber, and is entitled ‘Two Shoes’. John took inspiration from Northamptonshire’s Boot & Shoe making heritage and composed a two-movement piece based on running and dancing shoes.

The first movement 'Running' marks the early 1950's when Towcester's Mr Law was making shoes for Roger Bannister (in addition to shoes for the All Blacks and Springboks). In 1952, wearing Mr Law's shoes Roger Bannister competed in the Helsinki Olympics, smashing the 1500-meter British Record, before in 1954, famously becoming the first man to run a mile in under 4 minutes. 

The music, with references to the Vangelis 'Chariots of Fire' imagines an early morning run around the Towcester Circle, visiting the River Walk, Belle Baulk Park, and Shires Meadow Park, gradually gaining in stature, building as the sun rises, before the training session calms as the circle is complete.

The second movement 'Dancing' imagines Dances taking place in the Towcester Town Hall in the late 1920's. Originally built in 1866 as a Corn Exchange, the building served as the headquarters of the local rural district council for much of the 20th century whilst catering for civic events and dances.  Set as a Shuffle, the music imagines couples in their dancing shoes as they do the Lindy Hop and Charleston in the Town Hall.


‘Two Shoes’ didn’t quite get the audience dancing in the aisles but certainly did get toes tapping to the very catchy beat. It was certainly fun to play and was well received by the audience.


The workshop Band opened the evening concert prior to Foden’s Band providing a wonderful repertoire of music. TSB received many very generous compliments for hosting the workshop/concert day and were extremely grateful for the positive feedback. TSB would like to acknowledge the help and support received by staff at NSB and Cripps Hall Theatre. The facilities were superb and easily adaptable for this event and special thanks to theatre manager Phil Cave for his support.


And so, we now move into the final phase of the yearlong HaBiT project with another workshop and concert day. The format of the day is slightly different but will include workshops during the afternoon, prior to an evening concert that will feature TSB and of course the mighty Foden’s Band. Last weekend saw the first UK regional brass band contest in 2024 and traditionally the northwest is the first area contest. Foden’s won the championship section for the eighth consecutive time which further supports why they are currently ranked number one in the world.


The venue for this next event is the beautiful Stowe School, located in the leafy Buckinghamshire countryside. Stowe gardens is a National Trust facility and is always worth a visit. The workshop/concert day will be held in the Roxburgh Theatre and Ugland Music school. The evening concert is in the wonderful Roxburgh Theatre.


Pupils from Stowe School plus their feeder schools will come together with youngsters from other local schools to create a workshop band that will be tutored by Foden’s MD Mike Fowles plus other Foden’s players. The workshop band will work on music selected by Mike Fowles during the afternoon. A key objective of these workshops is always to help and support youngsters during their musical journey and this workshop will expose the young players to many of the very best brass band performers in the world.


Foden’s Band are rare visitors to this area and so to have been able to work with them on this project and arrange two workshop/concert days in our region has been special. Saturday 18th May, commencing at 7pm is the date for your diary! The evening concert will open with Towcester Studio Band before handing over to the brilliant Foden’s Band. Tickets for the concert are now on sale via StowePresents. The direct link is


If you have any questions relating to this event, please don’t hesitate to contact TSB via email at


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