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

Very Rare Flute Comes into John Packer Ltd for Evaluation

by Administrator 21. May 2012 11:43

ON Wednesday 16th May a local lady came into the shop asking if we would value an old instrument for her. This happens very regularly and always generates a slight air of excitement because you never know what is going to come out of a battered old case or scruffy shopping bag. Usually, it's some tarnished and tangled web of brass tubing that would be lucky if it justified going on a pub wall.

Sometimes however... The lady took out two lengths of pale material and said that this flute (for that was what it was) had belonged to her mother and grandmother and could it be made to work again. Hmmmm. Interesting... looks like ivory... looks very old... very old.

It had four keys, well at least it should have had four keys, but one was missing with only the saddle remaining. The two keys on the body joint were of a slightly different design than the footjoint key, so we surmised that they were a later addition. Also, bizarrely, it had two embouchure holes. We searched for a makers name. Even under the best magnification it looked like it was made up of indistinct elements of a mixture of letters that could have been S's or E's or B's or R's or F's or H's. We just couldn't fathom it out, but we did have a sneaking feeling that this was something interesting...

On Thursday 17th May, we emailed some images and had a long conversation with an old friend in London who is an expert in these things. He was also quietly intrigued about it. He explained that the additional embouchure hole would have been added when standard pitch rose after the Baroque period, but from what he could see this was a 17th century ivory flute.We agreed to ship the flute to him immediately by courier for a full examination and so that our friend could call in other experts for their verdict.

Friday 18th May. Early in the morning, and within minutes of the courier delivering the flute, we get a call from London. 'It's a Scherer'. We'd heard of lots of makers from this period, but not Scherer. 'Is that good?' we asked. 'It's very rare' came the reply. So rare that the word was already out and notables were offering their opinions and queuing up to come and see it. In it's day it would have been the crème de la crème. Our London expert wasn't prepared to quote a value, as he wasn't certain exactly what effect the modifications would have on the price if it were offered for sale. However, as he put it 'it's worth a lot of money and it's staying in my safe'.

Now we wait. Hopefully, we will bring you up to date soon when we get more news. Watch this space...!

Scherer flute

Fancy Working at John Packer Ltd?

by Administrator 17. May 2012 14:52

ARE you a brass player? Do you need a job?

We're currently looking for someone to work on Saturdays in our busy shop in Taunton.

We need an experienced brass player capable of playing to a good standard and who is articulate and accurate, you may be just the person we are looking for.

We need someone to deal with customers in the shop and on the 'phone, check stock and perform basic administrative and tidying duties. This position commences on July 7th, 2012.

Please apply in writing giving relevant experience and reasons why you might be appropriate for the job.

Write to:

Steve Herbert, Brass Department Manager
John Packer Ltd
141 Staplegrove Road

Symphonic Wind Band Workshop

by Administrator 11. May 2012 15:40

AFTER the highly successful Brass Band Workshop in April, John Packer Ltd is delighted to announce news of another event taking place this autumn.

Musicians are invited to our Symphonic Wind Band Workshop at The Castle School, in Taunton on Saturday, September 29th.

Like the brass day, a very special guest will be leading musicians. This time we are pleased to welcome Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Chris Davis OBE BA(Hons) MMus DMA LRAM.

Chris joined the Royal Marines Band Service in 1975 (along with our very own Brass Department Manager Steve Herbert!) and rapidly rose through the ranks to the illustrious position of Principal Director of Music in 2002. Chris has also had a successful academic career and gained a Doctorate in Musical Arts in 2006. His research programme resulted in five commercially available CDs of contemporary works for wind band. Since retiring from The Royal Marines Chris has been busy as a freelance conductor (including on one memorable occasion, the London Symphony Orchestra), clinician and adjudicator. More recently Chris has been appointed as Associate Conductor to the current National Brass Band Champions Brighouse & Rastrick. In short, Chris is something of a legend and this is a rare opportunity to benefit from his wealth of expertise.

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 £7.50 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.

Please call Andy for woodwind tickets and Steve for Brass and percussion tickets, limited numbers available.

The venue is The Castle School, School Hall, Castle Sports Centre, Wellington Road, Taunton, TA1 5AU, which is located behind Somerset College of Art and Technology (SCAT).

For more info and tickets please call 01823 282386 (option 1).


Pieces to be played include:

Windows of the World  Graham

Resplendent Glory          Galante 

Londonderry Air             Grainger

Shepherds Song               Richards

Tocatta                               Bach arr. Farr


Win a Set of Denis Wick Mutes!

by Administrator 8. May 2012 12:25

John Packer Ltd and Denis Wick have teamed up in a fantastic competition to give away £250 worth of mutes. This unique competition is really easy to enter - just click here!

To enter simply fill in your name, email and instrument. The winner willl eceive a set of Denis Wick mutes of thier choice up to a recommended retail value of £250. Any mutes can be choisen from the Denis Wick range for any instrument or instruments. Details of which can be found here.

The prize includes carriage to mainlad UK only. The prize has no nomincal value and cannot be exchanged for cash. The winner is picked at random and will be notified by email. So what are you waiting for? Enter NOW!!!