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

Brass Explosion on Sat 25 May: JP gets louder and prouder

by Administrator 3. May 2013 13:47

John Packer Ltd have had a reputation as specialists in the world of Brass instruments for several decades, but are now proud to announce that they are getting even bigger and better. Not only is there a great overall increase in stock, but there is also an entirely new showroom focussing on low brass. Students and professional players alike can now come and test a vast array of instruments from prestigious makers like Bach, Besson, Conn, Courtois, Holton, JP, King, Mauriat, Rath, Schagerl, Schilke, Smith-Watkins, Sterling, Stomvi and Yamaha and many more.

To mark the occasion, we are hosting a special launch event on Saturday 25 May from 9am. With plenty going on and many fantastic discounts available, it’s a great chance for you to come and see how we’ve changed. Andy Crowley, professional Yamaha artist and internationally renowned trumpeter joins us for the day and will be on hand to give free 30 minute 1-2-1 tuition. Whether it’s a query about performing or advice on your technique, Andy’s experience will be invaluable in improving your approach to playing. 

Described by the Independent as “A trumpeter of virtuosic brilliance” Andy Crowley is one of the most recorded trumpeters for film soundtracks in the world including the last 3 James Bond movies and has played with Paul McCartney, Tina Turner, Sting and Robbie Williams. Andy is also a professor at the Royal College of Music and manager of the London Brass. Also on hand for the day are is Grenville Moore. Grenville is a multi-talented multi-instrumentalist and his credits include a 20 year stint with the Ulster Orchestra on French horn, while more recently he has being performing on different instruments with a number of high level brass bands.

To book your tuition slot with Andy or Grenville, contact Steve or Tommy, on 01823 282386 (option 1) or email Steve at Spaces are sure to book up quickly so let us know soon if you are interested.

Also on display and available to try on the day will be the very exciting new Yamaha Neo brass range, which is due to be released in August, including the Bb & Eb Cornets and EEb tuba. A professional member of the Yamaha team will be on hand to answer your questions and to discuss with new range. David King, Principal Conductor of Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band (Britain), Guest Conductor of Eikanger Bjorsvik (Norway) and Artistic Director of National Australia Brass (Australia) described the new range as “a model of excellence designed and developed for discerning band musicians and soloists seeking to combine intrinsic warmth with a projected resilience of sound that has both personality and persuasive presence.” Come and try them and see if you agree!

To celebrate our expansion we are giving away a generous JP goodie bag (worth at least £20) to the first 50 customers who visit on the day. Amongst other things it’ll include an TGI98W Metronome and Tuner electronic combined tuner/metronome worth £12.80 and plenty of music related goodies. Also included is a special website discount voucher giving 20% off all accessories. This is valid for 12 months and an unlimited number of purchases through our website  

Everyone at John Packer warmly invites you to visit us on Saturday 25 May. We look forward to seeing you there!

Saturday 25 May at John Packer Ltd, Taunton, TA2 6AF
- Free JP goodie bag worth at least £20
- Free 30 minute 1-2-1 tuition with Andy Cowley  or Grenville Moore
- Try out the new Yamaha Neo range
- Free £50 prize draw

Join Packers this Spring for a Brass Band Workshop!

by Administrator 25. January 2013 14:33

AFTER 2012's highly successful Brass Band Workshop, John Packer Ltd is delighted to announce another event for Brass Band Musicians this Spring.

Musicians are invited to our Brass Band Day at The Castle School, in Taunton on Saturday, March 23rd.

We're delighted to welcome back retired Lieutenant Colonel Dr Chris Davis (OBE) who led our Symphonic Wind Day in 2012.

Dr Chris Davis

Chris joined the Royal Marines Band Service in September 1975 and on completion of three years training at the Royal Marines School of Music embarked onboard Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia.
On commissioning in 1993, he went to Salford University, gaining a First Class Honours Degree in Band Musicianship, studying conducting with Professor David King and composition under Ray Steadman-Allen and Professor Peter Graham.
After a period of research and mentoring by Professor David King in composer/conductor collaboration, he gained a Doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Salford in 2006. The research programme involved the commissioning and performance of contemporary works by British composers, including Nigel Clarke, Peter Graham and Robin Dewhurst.
In July 2002 Chris assumed the position of Principal Director of Music, Royal Marines and Commandant of the Royal Marines School of Music, the seventh in a line of celebrated musicians who have held this appointment.
After 34 years of service Chris retired from the Royal Marines in May 2009 and now pursues a busy career as a freelance conductor and adjudicator. He has adjudicated at the National Brass Band Championships at the Royal Albert Hall, as well as the Lower Section National Finals in Harrogate. Other judging positions have included ‘Brass’ in Concert and the Yeovil entertainment contest.
In December 2011 Chris accepted an invitation from the world famous Brighouse and Rastrick band to become their Associate conductor and now enjoys a busy schedule of concerts and recordings throughout the UK and Europe. In short, Chris is something of a legend and this is a fantastic 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 £8.50 each and must be pre-booked. This day features challenging music (listed below), so musicians must be Grade 6-8 standard (or above) to cope with some of the technical demands.

'Earth Rites' Robin Dewhurst
'On the Edge of Time' Ray Steadman Allen
'Quintessense' Robert Redhead
'All Night Long' arr. Baker
'O Magnum Mysterium' Lauridson
'The Saga of Haarkon the Good' Philip Sparke

Please bring a packed lunch, your instrument, mutes and a music stand. Registration from 9am for a 10am start. The day will end at 5pm.

Please call Steve for 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).

See You in Skeggy!

by Administrator 7. January 2013 15:51

JOHN Packer Ltd will be making the annual trip to Skegness next weekend (Friday January 18th - Monday January 21st) for the annual Butlins Mineworkers Brass Band Championships with a plethora of stock exclusive to the company.

On display will be K&G mouthpieces, Rath trombones - including the '00 Series- Rath accessories, pro-level instruments, JP Musical Instruments, secondhand instruments and a wealth of other brass band accessories and goodies.

Brass manager Steve Herbert will be accompnied by fellow brass experts and educational representatives Liz Slack and Grenville Moore.

Anyone with specific requests for instruments or accessories can contact beforehand or call 01823 282386.

Busy Weekend Beckons!

by Administrator 13. September 2012 11:26

A busy weekend is coming up for the John Packer team with our trade stands out and about the Westcountry, see us at:

Saturday 22nd & Sunday 23rd September at the National Brass Band Championships at The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse. Come and try out the latest editions to the John Packer musical instrument range, and make the most of some very special offers on our trade stand!

Sunday 23rd September at Manor Gardens Exmouth for ‘Music In The Park’ featuring Exmouth Concert Band, The Hornblowers, Taunton Concert Band, Top Brass, The Band Of The Rifles and many more, all helping to raise funds for The Rifles ‘Care For Casualties’ appeal.

Brass Band Workshop Hailed Great Success!

by Administrator 16. April 2012 15:27

NINETY-FIVE brass players travelled to Queens College, Taunton in Somerset on Saturday 14th April to attend the John Packer Brass Band Workshop with top soloists David Thornton (Brighouse & Rastrick) and Richard Poole (Foden’s).

The day started with David giving warm up advice and tips to all the players before tackling the various pieces of music which were designed to stretch the capability of the assembled ensemble.

As well as coaching the players throughout the day both soloists were given the opportunity to have their share of the spotlight, Richard’s awesome soprano playing in his own arrangement of La Virgin De La Macarena was just stunning and not to be outdone David followed with his faultless performance of the famous Euphonium solo The Carnival Of Venice during the final session of the day.

Steve Herbert Brass Department Manager of John Packer’s had given everyone a lighthearted ‘Brass Band Quiz’ and later in the day presented prizes to Graham Davies, John Woods & Dave Coles who came joint first with Christine Sweetapple, Jessica Smith, Holly Whale & Tegan Hill receiving runner up prizes.

Everyone who attended the day thoroughly enjoyed the event. Steve and his team give a big thank you to all the participants who took part in the day and also to David and Richard who made the whole day that something extra special.   


David Thornton conducting the brass band workshop


What a great day. Us three Brummies had a marvelous time. A long drive but worth every mile. Please do it again – soon’.

‘Again, many thanks for organising today’s brass music fun day. I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish and I am amazed at the amount of information I came away with that will hopefully make me a better player. Both David and Richard are masters of their chosen instruments and it was pleasure listening to there expert advice and to hearing them play. I have both of David’s solo CD’s and the latest Foden’s CD featuring Richard’s sop solo and so I knew what great soloists they are, but hearing them live was just fantastic. It would be good to this as an annual event and if this is to be the case, please put my name down for next year.’

 ‘I have attended several brass workshops in the hope of 'self improvement' (!)  This was by far the most effective and moreover it was highly enjoyable.  I have no criticisms whatever  --  just the opposite.’

 ‘Organisers seldom receive thanks, but I would like to add my thanks alongside, no doubt, that of many others and express the hope that the event will be repeated.’

West of England Regional Brass Band Championships in Torquay

by Administrator 5. March 2012 13:06

John Packer Ltd will be at the Torquay Riviera International Conference Centre this Saturday & Sunday (March 10&11) with a tradestand at the West Of England Regional Brass Band Championships.

Brass manager Steve will have a selection of new & secondhand instruments for customer to try out plus loads of accessories, along with some very special deals for the weekend.

Steve will also be booking appointments for trombone players to test out the Rath range of pro instruments.

Visit the stand also to purchase tickets for our fabulous Brass Band Workshop on 14th May.

For more details about the brass band workshop in May, or to request specific items to be taken to the weekend’s show, please call steve on 01823 282386 or email

Two Top Professionals in a John Packer Brass Band Workshop

by Administrator 20. February 2012 15:07

Play with two of the best players in the Brass Band World for a Brass Music Funday in Taunton on April 14th!

David Thornton (Euphonium withThe Brighouse & Rastrick Band), and Richard Poole (from Foden's Band Soprano) are the star attractions at a day of brass workshops hosted by John Packer Ltd at Queen's College.

Following registration from 9am, musicians will start the day at 10am with a mass warm up led by David. Followed by expert tutoring from David and Richard on specially selected pieces. This dynamic duo are very familiar with large concert venues and international competitions so will have many tips to share! They will give demonstrations during the day and will answer any musical quandaries...

The day will culminate in a performance of pieces learned during the day, featuring solos by the esteemed guests including 'La Virgin De La Macarena', which Richard has just recorded on the latest Fodens CD!

All ages welcome, however, there is a minimum standard requirement of Grade 3. Bring your instrument / music stand and a packed lunch and enjoy the day.

Tickets for this funday are only £5! For more information, or tickets, please call Steve on 01823 282386 or email

Dobcross Silver Band wins David Thornton!

by Administrator 26. January 2012 11:50

John Packer Ltd are delighted to announce that the winner of the Butlin's "Win David Thornton" competition in association with Sterling Musical Instruments is Paul Clough from the Dobcross Silver Band.

Paul has asked for David to perform with the band at one of its concerts at the world famous Dobcross Band Club and we will be publishing the dates as soon as they are arranged.

Dobcross were one of 65 bands that entered the competition to have the services of the Sterling Euphonium artist and Solo Euphonium of the Brighouse and Rastrick band and we are sure that it will be a fantastic event!


How to win David Thornton...

by Administrator 13. January 2012 09:17


WE'RE delighted to offer the fantastic David Thornton as a prize at this year's Butlin's Mineworkers Brass Band Competition in Skegness, January 27-29.

David plays solo euphonium with the world famous Brighouse and Rastrick Band, and is highly regarded.

Anyone at the event can enter, all they need to do is fill in a form and at the end of the weekend one lucky winner will be plucked from a hat.

The prize is a day's use of David. David can:

  • Give you a private lesson of 2 hours duration
  • Be a guest soloist at a concert for your band (includes a rehearsal on the same day as the concert)
  • Conduct a rehearsal of your band or work with a section of your band (possibly culminating in a concert on the same day)
  • Give a small group masterclass
  • Give a workshop at your school or for your local Music Service

The terms of the prize are:

  • That David's services will only be applicable within mainland UK
  • The prize equates to a maximum duration of the time required to a daytime rehearsal/workshop (starting no earlier than 10am) and an evening concert on the same day. Your requirements may be of a shorter duration.
  • David is a great euphonium player, but he is only human; he cannot be used for any housework or gardening! We reserve the right to adjudicate the requirements of the prize winner.
  • There is no cash equivalent (David's time is priceless!)
  • It is a condition of this competition that the winning band must use the JP Musical Instruments and Sterling Musical Instruments logos in any publicity material connected to this event and be willing to have publicity material/banners/literature etc. on public view at the event itself. John Packer Ltd also reserve the right to have use of any images taken at the event.

One of a kind euphonium on display at Cheltenham this weekend

by Administrator 20. September 2011 15:04

John Packer Ltd will be attending the Brass Band Championships in Cheltenham this weekend with some fantastic new products on display, including a unique ‘White Rose’ euphonium handmade by Paul Riggett of Sterling Musical Instruments.

John Packer Ltd has established a reputation  for innovation, following collaborations with Dr Richard Smith of Smith-Watkins, Michael Rath Trombones and Sterling Musical Instruments  These three highly successful partnerships have been significant to the brass market, with many professional players and teachers turning to the JP range for their high performance at a moderate price.

Instruments from the new line of JPSterling lower brass instruments will be available to try out at the John Packer exhibition stand, along with instruments designed by JPRath and the famous modular Rath trombones, JPSmith-Watkins and the professional range of Smith-Watkins instruments. A large selection of accessories will also be available. 

Feel free to come along and see our friendly staff, who can help with any musical enquiry – beginner, professional, or school queries welcome.

If you would like us to take anything in particular from our shop we will do our best to accommodate. Please contact or call 01823 282386 to arrange beforehand.

Look forward to seeing lots of customers there!