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

John Packer Ltd supports Phoenix Brass Band Workshop

by Administrator 10. April 2014 11:30


JOHN Packer Ltd & Sterling Musical Instruments are sponsoring Phoenix Brass Band's May workshop with David Thornton.

David Thornton is a highly experienced euphonium soloist who plays Sterling instruments. He is no stranger to running workshops, having successfully run one for John Packer Ltd previously. The workshop is open to all ages with the aim of learning about playing, improving musical skills and having some laughs along the way.

The workshop takes place on Sunday, May 25th at Wadham School, in Crewkerne. It costs £10 per person and runs from 9.30am-5pm.

John Packer's will have a stand at the workshop; with a variety of brass instruments and accessories available.

For more information about the workshop and to book, click here.

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Stop Being a Music Lover - be a Player Instead!

by Administrator 4. March 2014 11:28

Learn to Play Day

On Saturday, April 12th, John Packers will be taking part in the Nationwide Learn to Play Day. The day is an opportunity for anyone who’s ever had an interest in playing a musical instrument from piccolo to a tuba to explore moving from the concept to the reality!

Our experienced staff will be on hand to demonstrate and talk about the different instruments and show how to get the first sounds. This will very much be a hands on event to give the potential player the best introductory experience.

There will also be special deals and low cost hire schemes - from £15 per month - to enable customers to move from being a listener into a player with the least financial commitment. We will also have details of a myriad teachers in the local area to ensure that the player has the best chance of success.


Tell everyone you know!

NB. Please bring ID if considering hiring.

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Events | Shop news

Benny Goodman's Legendary 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert- starring Pete Long & his Goodmen!

by Administrator 24. February 2014 12:16

Pete Long and his Goodmen take to the stage to recreate the legendary Benny Goodman Concert in 1938.

Bandleader and clarinettist Pete Long (Ronnie Scott’s Big Band, Echoes of Ellington and ex-sax star of Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra) presents a superlative recreation of one of the greatest concerts in jazz history. Benny’s line up that night included stars such as trumpeters Harry James and Ziggy Elman, drummer Gene Krupa and pianist Jess Stacey.

It was also the first time ever that black and white jazz musicians appeared together on the concert stage in the USA with Lionel Hampton on vibes, Teddy Wilson on piano and stars of the Duke Ellington and Count Basie Orchestras making guest appearances.

Pete Long and his musicians have gone to great lengths to re-create this concert, including original arrangements, period instruments and even the stage seating plan. The result is an evening of fabulous music that swings like crazy, it’s a great night out not to be missed! Yamaha are kindly supporting this event.

The concert takes place in the Queen's Hall at Queen's College, Taunton from 7.30pm. Tickets cost £15 for adults, and £10 for concessions (students, OAPs etc.). Click here to buy yours!

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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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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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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:

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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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 or call 01823 282386 (menu option 1).

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Duo Sax Concert and Masterclass Tour 2013

by Administrator 28. October 2013 11:47



EMG SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: Symphonic Wind Band Workshop with Marion Wood

by Administrator 3. October 2013 13:38

Greetings from the Exeter Music Group (EMG)!
During our 2012-2013 season the EMG Symphony Orchestra has become very aware of the debt we owe to the many fine brass, percussion and woodwind players who join us for repertoire that requires many players additional to our core membership. We want to keep in contact with this group and are also experimenting with the development of a high quality Symphonic Wind Band constructed by our Musical Director, Marion Wood.

Marion Wood studied Postgraduate Orchestral Conducting at the Royal College of Music and also spent some time as Assistant Chorus Master to the London Philharmonic Choir. She continued her orchestral and choir work with appointments to the Belfast Philharmonic Choir and Assistant Conductor to the National Youth Orchestra as well as working with various choirs and ensembles of young professionals in London.

Marion was Director of Music at the University of Exeter from 2006 to 2013 and her work included support for the University Concert Band. Her appointment as Musical Director of the Exeter Music Group Symphony Orchestra proved a great artistic success, challenging the players to undertake works not usually attempted by laregely amateur orchestras. Her enthusiasm for the development of a high standard symphonic wind orchesta has encouraged EMG to broaden its range of musical activities.

Musicians are invited to a special Symphonic Wind Band Workshop to be held at St Peter's School, Quarry Lane, Exeter on Saturday 1 March 2014.

We are inviting those who are interested in joining us for the workshop to contact Richard de la Rou (percussion and brass) or John Welton (woodwind). The music will be challenging so musicians should be of an advanced standard.

Tickets for the workshop on March 1st, 2014 must be pre-booked with the contacts below.

Please bring your instrument, music stand and a packed lunch.

Registration from 9.15am for a 10am start. The day will end at 5pm.

John Packer Ltd will be in attendance with a selection of instruments and accessories.

Brass/Percussion - Richard de la Rou - 01395 274099 -
Woodwind - John Welton - 01395 271915 -



Top UK flautists host weekend flute extravaganza

by Administrator 16. September 2013 11:26

International musical instrument retailer, John Packer Ltd and south west flute charity, 4Flutes are collaborating in delivering an exciting weekend of flute events to mark the 10th anniversary of 4Flutes. Originally set up in 2003, 4Flutes aims to enables flute players in the south west of England to benefit from the same level of performers that are usually reserved for London and other large cities around the UK. In the past they have worked with top flautists including Mike Mower, Jonathan Snowden, Gareth Mclearnon, Emma Williams, Pete Long and Paul Edmund-Davies amongst many others.

Hosted by Peninsular Arts with Plymouth University, The Great Plymouth Flute Adventure kicks off on Friday 4 October at 7.30pm with a recital from flute revolutionary Ian Clarke. His recent 2013 album Deep Blue made waves in the flute community as it marked the first time that a UK flute player had broken into the top 10 Classical Music album chart with an album consisting entirely of personal composition. Heralded as creative and innovative, Ian’s repertoire includes both traditional classical pieces and also modern interpretations pushing the boundaries of what audiences expect from the flute. Joining Ian and also performing during the weekend (Saturday 5 October 7.30pm) is Clare Southworth, Professor of Flute at the Royal Academy Of Music. Clare is renowned for being one of the very few flute players to have launched a successful career as a solo performer and teacher. Passionate about raising the profile of flute playing, Clare is unrelenting in her international mission having performed and taught all across the world.

Alongside these two very exciting concerts is a chance for aspiring players to be coached by these two flute greats. Over the weekend both Ian and Clare will be hosting individual workshops enabling budding flautists to benefit from their wealth of experience and knowledge. Tuition, advice and mentoring will be available on a range of subjects.  Participants will also get the chance to perform with Ian or Clare in short concerts at the end of each workshop.

Tickets cost £30 for one workshop and one concert

Full access to all weekend events £50 (two workshops two concerts)

For more information and to book tickets visit the 4Flutes website.