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Amber Liadan @ the Shipston Proms '23

SEPTEMBER 2023

It’s been great to hear all the feedback from those who attended various events during the Shipston Proms. It helps shape our programme for 2024 which we’ll be working on after a short break in August. We are trying to organise a Christmas concert to raise some more money, so keep your eyes peeled for updates.

If you have any Proms comments you would like to share please go to www.shipstonproms.org or our Facebook page, or even better, chat to one of our committee members. Our planning meetings begin again in the middle of September and if anyone would like to join us, please come along. Our first meeting will be at the George, Shipston on the 20th September at 7.30pm.



AUGUST 2023

With the great array of music during the Proms there was so much to dip into, and most days was a big decision what to go and see? The first weekend there were 12 events including ska, country blues, prog rock, drumming, choral music and our own town band, all spread around Shipston and the villages taking part.

People were very generous with their support and filled the buckets and bought raffle tickets in their thousands, so much so that we ran out at the end of the first week. For our first raffle sale outside the Co-op we were fortunate to be serenaded by the Shipston Town Band and they played great favourites like “Yes Sir that’s my Baby” and “Tequila.” David Birch is leaving after over 20 years in the post as conductor and he will be missed.

There is always great talent on show in and around Shipston and this year was no exception. Here are just a few of the performances:

For the first time, in Shipston, and hopefully not the last, world class opera singers and town residents Anna Patalong and Benedict Nelson accompanied by William on the Yamaha grand piano,wowed the audience at the Townsend Hall with their magnificent vocals. One opera loving ticket holder raved that their concert rivalled any that she had seen at Glyndebourne. Their song choices included “Sempre Libera” from La Traviata, and “Some enchanted evening” from South Pacific.

Another great show was put on by the Morris men who performed outside the Black Horse. Not just any Morris men. Pub goers checked their drinks and blinked twice as shadowy figures in tattered black robes and top hats descended the stairs of a big white touring coach. They were the Beltane Morris Dancers from Dartmoor. As they said, welcome to the dark side of folk, as they twirled and stamped with their extraordinary fiery energy to the mesmeric beat of the drums.

At the Scout Hut, 11 acts took part in our ‘Shipston Introducing’ competition, our platform for budding musicians and each had something unique to offer. It was jaw dropping to note the ages of some entrants. 11-year-old guitarist Sam Conisbee, protégé of Greg Brice, returned to the competition after impressing the judges last year. This year he not only played acoustic guitar but the piano too. Frankie, also 11, played a composition he wrote in C sharp minor on the piano. Other entrants, guitarist duo Ella Mawson from Shipston and Lucia O’Connell from Warwick performing as Banoffee also impressed with their choice of songs which included “Grace” by Jeff Buckley and “At Seventeen” by Janis Ian.





This year though, Henley musician Amber Liadan with Phil Moffett and Honor Isabella Gerard-Pickering from Stratford won the opportunity to play on the Final Night of the Shipston Proms. Amber with guitarist Phil Moffett enchanted the audience with four self-penned songs. After the contest Amber said that among her influences were Norah Jones and Amy Winehouse. She is working hard to have a full-time career in music so hopefully Proms exposure will help her further.

The other winner, Honor Isabella Gerard-Pickering had a great voice and poise as she sang three covers including “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” by Miley Cyrus. Honor is a sixth form student at Chipping Campden and is being trained by Vocal Coaching by Louise who is based in Stratford upon Avon. You may have seen Honor singing outside the red telephone box in Henley Street in Stratford!

Songs from the Shows too produced some remarkable singers on stage and the audience enjoyed favorite's sung by Shipston’s Henry Clarke singing “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” from LesMiserables and “Don’t Cry for me Argentina” from Evita sung by Laura Holmes. Accomplished pianist and well known music teacher Helen Porter accompanied on piano. There was also the chance for some of the Shipston Introducing Acts to appear again, like Luke Keane, who sang Abba’s “The Winner takes it all” as a Finale.

For musicals of another sort, Calypso Kids and Melody Bear entertained the children at the Scout Hut. In the future, we may well see one of these youngsters on stage at the Hall!Helen Porter arranged music on the terrace at the George which was a big draw on a sunny day as well as putting on her popular Chamberpot pourri concert at St. Edumunds Church. Helen entertained the audience with a variety of music on the piano including impromptu No. 1, op 90 in C minor by Franz Schubert . Tim said that when Helen needed some peace to practice she escaped to a grand piano in Stourton. Guests for the evening included Heidi Fardell on recorder, and JenniferSmith from Longborough, singing soprano. Tim, recently back from a tour in the US entertained with his awe-inspiring harmonica playing.



The Open Mic night in the garden of the Black Horse drew a large crowd to watch an eclectic mix of artists hosted for the first time by George Smith of The Big Ginge Blues Band. There were 7 acts in all. Among them, it was great to see the return of popular local group Soul Traders with our own chair Charlotte Haines on vocals, along with brother Jaimie and Big Ginge himself, with solid backing from their band. Also appearing were ‘KarMa’ with Martin Foster and Karen Gill. They sang the old favourite Tie a Yellow Ribbon by Dawn and Tony Orlando and had everyone singing along. We are very grateful to Martin and Karen for spontaneously stepping in with Tim Porter when one of the performers at The Thirst Edition couldn’t make it during the pub trail.

For those who went to the Tina Turner tribute night, Kinisha, who shimmied and shashayed and shone as Tina, said everyone at the Townsend Hall had contributed to a fantastic night and that it was lovely to have been so well received.


For something soothing on the ears, Betsy Harmony provided a wonderfully warm inclusive morning of song at the Scout Hut as part of an initiative between Shipston Health and Wellbeing, Shipston Home Nursing and the Proms. Betsy’s voice was so alluring that some allotment holders couldn’t resist coming in to sing along to golden tracks by Frank Sintra or the Andrew Sisters.


Our local a cappella choir, Cantamus, founded by conductor Richard Emms attracted a good crowd at the Townsend Hall on a sweltering Sunday afternoon. Anne Hume gave us some very witty readings between each of the songs in a varied programme of choral music, from “I love my love” arranged by Gustav Holst, to “Waltzing Matilda” arranged by Richard Emms. Anne read out the hilarious “Letter from an Australian grandma” to great comic effect.


On our penultimate Friday, DJs Tim Shickle, Harry Synge and Nick the Kidd lit up the skies above the Hub with their thumping Ibizan club set and ultra sparkly glitterball.

So, to the Final Night. Fortunately, by the evening the gusts which had almost sent the marquee flying had dropped to be replaced by welcome evening sunshine. The marvellous Amber accompanied by Phil Moffett on his new guitar and Julcarvs Carvero on drums opened the evening and justified their winner’s slot. Honor, the second winner impressed all over again and afterwards joked that her manager, her mum, would be pleased to hand out her business cards!




First support act, 2022 Shipston Introducing winners, blues, jazz and pop combo The Weekend Warriors, had the audience singing along and dancing to their upbeat set including Stevie Wonder’s‘Sir Duke’ and Santana’s “She’s not there.”

For something completely different, the second support band The Dropouts exploded onto the stage in a riot of noise and a colour. They played a blinding set of rock songs and had the crowd begging for ‘just one more’ before they finished with Motorhead’s chart topping song “Ace of Spades.”


And in yet another change of pace, headliners top boogie band King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys finished the Shipston Street Party in fine style dressed in dashing blue suits and with plenty of attitude to keep Shipston alive with the sound of great music until midnight.


And then it was all over, bar the clearing up, but fortunately this year, we were mostly all in bed by 2.30am!

This year there were so many memorable acts, too many to mention here but a huge thank you to everyone that took part or supported the Proms financially, by attending events or by volunteering.


We would like to say thank you to all our venues in Shipston and the villages, Newbold, Cherington,Stourton, Whichford, Ilmington, Long Compton and Brailes, we hope you will join in again next year.Any feedback will be much appreciated. So far, we have requests for Viennese waltzes and a return of the RPJ Band!


And finally, the worthy winners of our window display competition was the Post Office!

As always contact details are: www.shipstonproms.org or go to our Facebook page.

A huge thank you to all who have donated so far on our GoFundMe page. So far, we have raised over £275.00 to help with our costs and please look on Shipston Proms GoFundMe page if you would like to contribute.

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1 Comment


magicgrizzlybear
Jan 16

Great article and so very happy you WON the opportunity to sing your amazing songs at this gig.

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