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

Dobcross Silver Band in John Packer and Sterling Sponsored Concert

by Administrator 26. June 2012 15:51

Dobcross Silver Band - winner’s of John Packer Ltd & Sterling Musical Instruments Competition to win David Thornton – will be showcasing their prize at a special concert on Sunday July 8th.

Band member Paul Clough entered the competition to win David at the John Packer stand at Butlin’s Mineworker’s Brass Band Competition in Skegness last January.

Paul had the choice of having a private lesson with David, a band masterclass, or David featuring in a special concert.

David is a world renowned star on the euphonium, with various videos of him and his band Brighouse and Rastrick featured on YouTube.   

Anyone who has seen David perform will know that the concert promises to be a very exciting event.

John Packer’s and Sterling – proud competition sponsors – will also have a presence on the night. Rob Hanson (one of the Company's Directors and experienced musician) will be joining the band for the concert, guesting in the cornet section which he used to play in over 18 years ago.

The concert will take place at Dobcross Silver Band Club, on Platt Lane, Dobcross. Doors open at 7.30pm.

Tickets cost £7.50 for adults, £5 for AOPs and under 16s. They are available from Dobcross Band Club, Dobcross Post Office and Uppermill Post Office. Tickets can also be reserved over the phone on 07715 680782.

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.’

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

JP243 Soprano Saxophone a "remarkable instrument" says RCM Prof!

by Administrator 20. February 2012 14:20

We do love receiving feedback from musicians, and we were delighted with this glowing review on the new JP243 soprano saxophone from David Burnand -a music professor at the Royal College of Music...

JP243 soprano saxophone

"I received this saxophone last week and have had great pleasure playing it.

"The sax feels light, which for me is good, as I play without a sling and am now developing arthritis in my wrists. In fact it's 200gm heavier than my 1926 Buescher True-Tone, but so nicely balanced that it feels lighter on the right hand. Good news for us oldies and for younger/smaller players, too. I like the integrated neck and (therefore) absence of a curved alternative crook, thought his might not suit everyone. Overall construction and appearance are of a high quality.

 "Against expectations, I stuck with the mouthpiece provided, which plays very well. In fact, on this instrument, I prefer it to my (presumably more expensive) Vandoren, Barone and Link m/pieces. The square cross-section of the chamber arch reminds me of the Selmer S-80. It speaks clearly throughout the entire range of the instrument from low Bb to high G. Intonation is excellent. The usual variations at tops and bottoms of registers lie within a very narrow range on this instrument. Tone is even throughout the instrument. Inevitable differences of tone for overlapping notes either side of the break are useful, therefore, rather than sounding like different instruments, one too thin and one to thick.

"The keys are smooth, even, fast and well positioned. My relatively short little fingers can be problematic with low Bb on some instruments. No problem at all with the JP243, which has a well-designed plate for the left-hand cluster. On some instruments altissimo keys are often difficult to find or too easily opened inadvertently, especially for players with smaller hands. Not so with the JP243. Fingering is intuitive and comfortable on this sax.

 "In conclusion, this is a remarkable instrument for its price range, and I would recommend it to beginners and professionals alike."

Professor David Burnand
Royal College of Music

Click here to buy the JP243!


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.

Jazzwise Welcome New JP231Rath Trombone

by Administrator 3. November 2009 09:01

John Packer JP231 Rath Trombone

“This is the first we are told, of a number of collaborations between retailer John Packer and manufacturer Michael Rath, with Rath having had a hand in the design of the instrument and Packer finding a quality manufacturer in China. The 231 comes with a medium-large bore and a very playable, lightweight slide. The build quality is excellent and the finishing is nothing short of superb. It’s a very responsive instrument, particularly in the middle-to-lower register, where it can really bark. The upper register needed a little getting used to, requiring as it did a lot more puff. But the tone is warm and the character of the sound suggests that the 231 would be just as comfortable in a symphony orchestra setting, as it would be used by a jazz group or big band. At a fraction of the price you might expect to pay for a horn of this quality, it all packs into a standard nylon denier semi-hard, zippered shaped case, with exterior zippered pocket, grab handles and a back harness with a Velcro flap cover.”

David Gallant

Jazzwise November 2009.

Click here to buy