John Packer Blog

Welcome to the John Packer blog. Here we’ll keep you updated on all the latest happenings at John Packer Ltd, all the latest music news, musical instruments and competitions.

Month List

JP Symphonic Wind Band Day 2014 Review

by Administrator 4. February 2014 10:32

On Saturday the 1st of February, the foundations of the main hall at Richard Huish College were shaken to their core by the massed talents of around 90 of the best musicians in the southwest. The latest in a sequence of workshop/play days, this one was under the baton of the inimitable Pete Long whose own talents have taken him into the top session player league via Itchy Fingers, Dizzy Gillespie, Chick Corea, Jools Holland, Paul McCartney, The Stereophonics (among many more) and innumerable recording sessions for top artists. The standard of musicianship was top drawer from all those in the ensemble and the repertoire was enhanced by arrangements by the renowned Michael ‘Mac’ McDermott (check spelling) who was present during the event. The event was honoured to play some his arrangements for the first time outside a military band context.

With Pete’s encouragement the band generated an incredible sound as it went through a playlist dedicated to Movies and TV – Jurassic Park, Eve of the War (from Jeff Wayne’s War of the World’s); ending with a rousing medley of ‘cop’ themes like Hawaii 5-0, Cagney and Lacey and Hill St Blues.

Perhaps the most significant endorsement of the event is from many of these talented players who immediately signed up for the next event as soon as the final concert was over.

You can see photos from the day on our Facebook page by clicking here

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Events

Polish up your brass at our Brass Band Workshop!

by Administrator 24. January 2014 15:39

Dr Robert Childs

Spring 2014 marks John Packer Ltd’s third Brass Band Workshop, featuring Dr Robert Childs as guest conductor for the first time.

Brass musicians far and wide are invited to the workshop taking place at Richard Huish College, in Taunton on Saturday 29th March, from 10am-5pm.

Dr Childs needs no introduction as a well-known and highly regarded figure in the brass band world and so this special day offers the opportunity to glean many pearls from his musical expertise.

Repertoire on the day includes the following:
        Walking With Heroes - Paul Lovatt Cooper
        Suite from Stabat Mater - Karl Jenkins 
        An American Tale - Dan Price
        Brassed Off Fantasy - Dan Price
        1812 Overture - Tchaikovsky

While this is an informal event, the aim is to provide a high standard of
performance and to enable those attending to have fun, gain experience and hopefully go home a better musician than when they arrived!

Tickets for the event are £8.50 each and must be pre-booked. This day
features challenging music, so musicians must be of an advanced standard.
Please bring a packed lunch, your instrument and a music stand.
Registration from 9am for a 10am start. The day will end at 5pm.

The event is organised with the kind support of Besson.

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Events

For the Love of Wind!

by Administrator 24. January 2014 14:11

The celebrated wind section of Britten Sinfonia take centre stage on Valentines Day (February 14th), in a concert at Milton Court Concert Hall, London, which includes Mozart's Gran Partita - a towering masterpiece of the wind repertoire.

In addition, BBC Young Musician of the year, clarinettist and composer, Mark Simpson, has been specially commissioned to write a new work and esteemed pianist, Imogen Cooper directs Beethoven’s Quintet in Eb for piano and winds.

All information on the concert can be found here: http://www.brittensinfonia.com/concerts/events/view/imogen-cooper-wind

Imogen Cooper piano/director
Mark Simpson conductor*
Britten Sinfonia wind

Mark Simpson Geysir (World premiere tour)*
Beethoven Quintet in E flat for piano and winds, Op16
Mozart Serenade No. 10 for winds in  Bb major, K361 "Gran Partita"

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Events

New Denis Wick Paxman Mouthpieces Now in Stock!

by Administrator 16. January 2014 16:37

Denis Wick Paxman French Horn mouthpieces

Denis Wick and Paxman have collaborated to produce a set of revolutionary new French horn mouthpieces.

Tim Jones, a friend of Denis Wick, Principal Horn of the London Symphony Orchestra and Director of renowned horn makers Paxman, worked with Denis on the trial of these remarkably different mouthpieces. Initially Tim thought the shape would not work, but was immediately hooked after he tried it!

These new mouthpieces use a radically different outer shape to the well-established internal shapes developed over the years by Denis Wick and Paxman. The result, an unusual outer shaped mouthpiece with the endorsement of Paxman giving great credibility.

The range covers a broad spectrum of sizes from 16.55mm to 18mm stemming from the Denis Wick 5N, 6N, 7N, and Paxman 3B and 4B internal dimensions, whilst also using some traditional cups for the smallest sizes, giving a total of 7 models that will join the similar Heritage range of mouthpieces for trombone, cornet and tenor (alto) horn.

While the look of the mouthpiece is a big departure from the traditional ‘funnel’ shape of other mouthpieces, the internal sizes and rim profiles are completely conventional, giving an immediate, easy response (particularly in the high register), providing smooth legato playing with a really beautiful just-heard overtone structure to the sound.

In a world where to stand out from the crowd is sometimes not easy, we very much feel that the benefits of this design make it worthwhile to dare to be different!

To find out more, or arrange a trial, please contact our brass department, by calling 01823 282386 (option 1), or email steve@johnpacker.co.uk

Click here to buy

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New Products

CASS Members Receive Special Discount

by Administrator 15. January 2014 11:34

John Packer Ltd has been a long term supporter of CASS, and for many years has offered a special 20% discount* to its members.
To receive your unique discount code simply contact jean@johnpacker.co.uk

*Terms & Conditions apply: Offer valid for 20% off clarinet and saxophone accessories, not including reeds which are already heavily discounted. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers or promotional discounts. Offer not exchangeable for cash. Offer subject to change without notice.

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Shop news

John Packer Goes Mobile!

by Administrator 10. January 2014 10:22

The John Packer mobile webiste will go live on Tuesday, January 14th, making it even easier to browse our website and make orders while you're on the go!

The website is fully optimised and compatible with all major devices. So, if you find you're suddenly without a decent reed, or in need of more valve oil, a couple of clicks and we'll have your order processed and ready to go!

If you have any questions, comments or feedback about the new site please feel free to post on our facebook page or tweet us.

 

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Shop news

New Job Vacancy at John Packer Ltd

by Administrator 9. January 2014 09:38

John Packer Ltd are looking for a capable individual to join their sales team to support continuing growth in their export markets.

This is a demanding and full time role with considerable responsibility. The successful candidate will need to be an experienced musician with good organisational skills and a high level of accuracy. Some sales experience would be beneficial, but full training will be given. Competence in foreign language(s) and familiarity with standard proprietary design software would also be an advantage, but are not essential. Familiarity with standard office software/processes is a pre-requisite.

We are a team company and this is a team role.

The job is based in our Taunton administration centre and involves all aspects of sales with additional elements of marketing/PR & relevant administration.

A generous remuneration is on offer to the right person and we are looking to fill the post immediately.

The closing date for applications is February 14th, 2014.

Apply in the first instance by emailing a CV and a short covering letter to Company Director Annie Gardner - annie@johnpacker.co.uk

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Shop news

New John Packer Bass range receives high praise

by Administrator 10. December 2013 14:10

 


FROM £699.60 (JP077) TO £4,490.60 (JP378)


Wilfred Driscoll recently
came down to review our own ‘JP’ range of basses, instruments that cater for the complete beginner right through to the professional player and are competitively priced compared to the established makes.

Student Instruments:
Wilfred started with our entry-level instruments, the JP077 mark II Eb and the JP078 Bb bass and said:

These instruments have three valves, and have the tuning slide in the leadpipe for ease of use. Both instruments feel solidly built with plenty of protection to avoid dents in the vital areas and a good thickness of brass. The sound they produced was a lot bigger than you would expect from an instrument of their size and they were very easy to play in all ranges. They are well designed for smaller players, with the distances between the hand-hold and the valves close enough for small hands, and, while they are well built, they are light enough for children to handle, making them a good choice for schools and music services. They come with a mouthpiece that is a little bigger than the average beginner mouthpiece. I think this is a great idea as it opens out the sound and makes the lower range better, as well as keeping the number of mouthpiece changes necessary as the player progresses to a minimum. The B
b instrument has a cunningly designed third valve slide that loops back on itself to protect the slide from any accidental damage. They both come in a semi-hard case – providing lightness and protection – while the wheels and storage pockets are very handy too.”

Wilfred then moved on to the JP277 intermediate EEb Bass continuing to compliment the range saying:

“This full-sized four-valve instrument with 19 inch bell comes with the compensating system – extra slides that make the low notes in tune – allowing the full chromatic scale to be achieved in the pedal register. Pedal notes are achieved with ease and without having to force the air through the instrument with all the valves down. This instrument has a low-level leadpipe allowing not-so-tall players to reach it without having to stretch up to it. I liked the ease of access to the third-valve compensating slide around the back of the instrument. In a neat design, two knobs on the side of the slide allow better grip – a great idea, as this slide often gets stuck from lack of use. All these instruments have brass valve guides, which are more durable than their plastic counterparts.”

The Professional Series:
John Packer Ltd has teamed up with Paul Riggett of Sterling Musical Instruments, one of the leading British makers, to come up with its professional instruments. The JP377 Sterling EEb has the higher style leadpipe that Wilfred found more comfortable, due to the fact that it is curved around the bell a little more, meaning that you don’t have to hold the instrument so ‘straight on’. Wilfred went on to compliment the JP377 Sterling saying:

“The sound is big and round while still retaining control over clarity and articulation, especially in the higher register. The instrument felt at home in both the lighter and heavier orchestral repertoire and is an excellent all-rounder. Packer’s most recent addition to their range is the JP378 BB
b bass. I was astonished by how good this instrument is! The British brass band style BBb bass has always been an unwieldy beast: every instrument seems to have different characteristics, it is usually very hard work to achieve a good round sound, and, personally, I feel very tired after playing one even for a short time. This instrument is totally different. All the handholds are in just the right place, the fourth valve is within easy reach, as is as the leadpipe, and there are no worries about it falling off the chair. I felt that I could play this instrument all day. It produces a fantastic sound with a good solid core and it is in tune all the way up the scale. It is very clear to see that the John Packer makers, along with Paul Riggett of Sterling musical instruments, have spent a great deal of time dealing with the traditional problems of these instruments and have come up with fantastic solutions. Anyone looking to buy a bass should take a serious look at this range as the quality and price are very hard to beat.”

For further information on any of the JP bass range or to request an instrument on approval, please contact Steve Herbert, Brass Manager on 01823 282386 (menu option 1) or email steve@johnpacker.co.uk

This review was first published in the December 2013 edition of Music Teacher Magazine.

 

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Reviews

John Packer Ltd nominated for ‘Most Innovative Retailer’

by Administrator 4. December 2013 16:07


International woodwind and brass retailer John Packer Ltd has been nominated for ‘Most Innovative Retailer’ for the Music Teacher Magazine Awards For Excellence 2014. Now in their second year, the awards, hosted by the widely respected Music Teacher Magazine, seek to reward musical businesses, institutions and groups who excel in a variety of given categories. The ‘Most Innovative Retailer’ category seeks to reward the retailer that “has proactively met and developed the needs of the music education sector”. Culminating in an evening of celebrations on Thursday 20 March, the award ceremony will be held in the Barbican’s stunning Garden Room and Conservatory and hosted by Classic FM’s Margherita Taylor.

John Packer Ltd have worked closely with the education sector for over 40 years and have contributed to a shift in the cultural relationship between music retailers, schools and colleges.

Their involvement in the creation of the Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme (AIPS), which quickly became a nationwide provision, supported the growth of music in schools by making instruments more accessible. Now, with music losing its significance in the modern curriculum, John Packer Ltd is fighting not only to restore its rightful position, but also to change the way in which is it perceived. The wide variety of benefits that music offers is already well documented - positive impacts on mind, health, socialisation, self-esteem and academic prowess - all of which generate positive outcomes in the education system and also far beyond in the wider community. Through the creation and promotion of the AIPS, and integration with a wider educational policy, John Packer Ltd hope to be able to contribute to the fight against what’s been described in The Times newspaper as a “national tragedy”.

More recently, and integral to their commitment to supporting the needs of the educational sector, John Packer Ltd’s own instrument line, JP Musical Instruments, has also made big waves. JP Musical Instruments have been developed in collaboration with world class woodwind and brass designers including Smith-Watkins, Sterling and Rath. The result? High quality and performance at an accessible price - parents get better value and schools and LEA’s get more from their budgets. Designed by such guru’s, these instruments have captured some of the magic usually reserved for instruments of much higher value - more people in more schools playing better instruments.

For the future, John Packer Ltd are committed to continue working with the education sector nationally and locally to try to create and inspire more musicians and support the resurrection of practical music making in schools across the UK.

JP Symphonic Wind Band Day 2014: TV & Film with Pete Long

by Administrator 26. November 2013 15:52

 


JP Symphonic Wind Band Day 2014: TV & Film

Conducted by Pete Long
Saturday 1 February 2014
Richard Huish College, Taunton
Tickets £8.50

On Saturday 1 February 2014, we will be hosting another in our highly popular series of Symphonic Wind Band days. This time the baton will be wielded by the inimitable Pete Long. Pete is a player, composer, arranger and bandleader and has been described as a "national treasure" by Clive Davis in The Times. During an illustrious career, it seems like Pete has played with almost everyone from Jools Holland, Sir Paul McCartney and Lionel Ritchie, through to the Stereophonics, Texas, Chick Corea and Dizzy Gillespie. No stranger to conducting, he is also MD of the Ronnie Scott’s Big Band. With Pete at the helm we want to welcome players to join us for a day of challenging repertoire and friendly guidance to hopefully make us all better players at the end of it. The repertoire will be centred around classics from TV & Film, past and present, which I’m sure will be hugely enjoyable. During the day you will also get the chance to draw on the extensive knowledge and experience of Pete Long and the John Packer Specialists with any questions about playing, performance or practise.

The repertoire for the day will include a selection of hits from classic TV and film from arranger Michael McDermott including:    

James Bond
Jurassic Park 
Star Trek Generations 
TV Cop Themes

Michael is a highly respected arranger having worked in the industry for over 35 years. Most notably, he arranged All The Queen’s Horses, which was present to  HRM The Queen during her Diamond Jubilee last year.  The days playing will also include:

Eve Of The War Jeff  Wayne Arr Ed Keeley
Band Of Brothers Suite Michael Kamen Arr Jeremy Brubaker
The Cowboys John  Williams
Out Of Africa by John Barry.

The event will be held at Richard Huish College in Taunton with registration starting from 9am. Tickets for the day cost £8.50 and must be booked in advance. The repertoire will be challenging and designed to tax the grey cells (and pink fingers!). Although the day is designed to be an informal and fun event, we request players to be of a Grade 8+ standard. The hope is that everyone will leave satisfied at the end of the day having had some enjoyable musical exercise!

For further details and to book your place email steve@johnpacker.co.uk or call 01823 282386 (menu option 1).

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Events