Wessex Band Summer School

The Friendly Summer School

Monday 29th July to Saturday 3rd August

50th Anniversary

50th Anniverary

Wessex Band Summer schools celebrates 50 years of making music

In 2019, the Wessex Band Summer School will be celebrating their 50th and will mark the momentous occasion through a night of celebrations.

The course was set up in 1970 by John Grinnell and Andrew Pitts as a youth course along with Courtney Bosanko who was the Musical Director of the local Championship Section brass band.

Over the years, the course has grown in size from 44 brass players to over 200 musicians of all ages and abilities who play in a brass, wind or training band. Taking part during the summer holidays in the beautiful Dorset countryside in Sturminster Newton, it is the longest running course of its type, encouraging and nurturing the talents of people nationally and internationally.

To commemorate 50 years, celebrations are being held on the evening of Friday 2 August 2019 on the school field of Sturminster Newton High School. Conductors, tutors, students and parents who have been involved in the course, past and present, are invited to come and help mark the occasion by taking part or coming to listen to the reunion band. The evening will be full of reminiscing and catching up with old friends and we are asking for pictures, memories, videos or stories to help mark the occasion.

Course Musical Director Michael Fowles said ‘I joined the course originally as a student and I have always loved the enthusiasm and commitment of those involved. I feel that the tutors and conductors who have been part of the course past and present are the finest musicians and I am honoured to be involved with such a fantastic course. As we move forward we want to ensure we keep the essence of why the course was set up and celebrate 50 years of music.’

Course Chairman Matt Stimpson said ‘We have a committed and valued team of people who have helped the course continue to be a success. 50 years is a long time to keep a course thriving and marking such an achievement with the people who have made the course so fantastic for so long is key to our celebrations. The anniversary of the course will be celebrated and marked appropriately, but it is also important to remember that for many this will be their first course, so the 2019 course will continue as it always does under the watchful eye of Michael Fowles and the stunning team of tutors. We would welcome people to send in their videos, pictures and memories to us to 50th-anniversary@wessexband.com and for people to let us know if they would like to attend and take part in the reunion band. We also ask that you spread the word to those people who you know have been involved in the course in the past. We want to offer an evening to remember where we can all share the course history and remember how it all began, whilst looking forward to an exciting future and the next 50 years!’

Anyone who would like to ask questions, send in photos, videos or memories or if you would like to join the reunion band please email Wessex 50 .

This year’s course runs from 30 July to 2 August 2019 and details on applying can be found on the website. Book early to avoid disappointment.

If you want to camp for the week or weekend, reserve a spot on the school field. Bookings are being taken at Wessex Camping.


The Course

The Wessex Band Summer School is a week long summer course for brass, wind and percussion players of all levels and abilities. Under the expert direction of Musical Director Michael Fowles and the internationally renowned musical staff, students are given the chance to test themselves playing a wide and exciting range of music whilst having fun and making new friends.

The non-residential course is held at Sturminster Newton High School in the beautiful North Dorset countryside. Catering is available during the day for breakfast, lunch and snacks. Students are able to camp on-site, while some choose to stay in one of the many guest houses or hotels in the area. Camping, which is run by the Wessex Camping Committee fosters a sense of community on the course.

Wessex is a very friendly course. Many players past and present have forged life-long friendships whilst on the course. Evenings on the campsite include many activities for young, young at heart and families alike. These are run by the Wessex Camping committee.

Wessex Band Summer School is proud to be sponsored by



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The Bands

The Training Band is for brass, woodwind and percussion players from grade 1 up to grade 4 standard. Adults or young players are normally at the earlier stages of learning. The week provides a progressive introduction to group playing for the less experienced musician. There is group tuition and specialised tutorials. The week finishes with a concert for parents and friends.

The Brass Band (brass and percussion) and Wind Bands (brass, woodwind and percussion) are for players of all ages from around grade 4 upwards. The days are made up of full band and sectional rehearsals on an exciting programme of music with a variety of items to challenge everyone.



Each year our team of conductors selects a range of music, ranging from brand new compositions to timeless arrangements. Throughout the week students rehearse the music in full band rehearsals and sectionals. There is also one piece selected to be rehearsed and played by the Band of the Wessex Band Summer School, where members of both the wind and brass bands join forces.

Recent selections include 'Windows of the World' by Peter Graham, as well 'Cry of the Celts' and 'Hymn of the Highlands' by Phillip Sparke.

2019 Repertoire

Brass Band

Die Felsenmühle - Reissiger

Les Preludes - Liszt

Rhapsody in Brass - Goffin

The Cossack - Rimmer

Songs of the Quay - Richards

Suite in Eb - Holst

I’ll Walk with God - Brodszky arr Richards

Galaxies - Davis arr Farr

Vitae Lux - Alneas arr Aargaar- Nilsen

Norwegian Dance - Aagaard -Nilsen

Lake of Tenderness - Hollings

Wind Band

Magic Flute Overture - Mozart

Symphonic Metamorphosis - Sparke

Radetzky March - Strauss

The Force of Destiny - Verdi

Imaginarium - Standridge

For the Love of a Princess - Horner arr Duncan

The Greatest Showman - arr Murtha

Wessex 50 (Band Fanfare) - David Marshall

Arromanches - Albert Kelly

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice - Paul Dukas

Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves - Michael Kamen

A Concert Rhapsody - Philip Andrews


Where Eagles Sing – Lovatt-Cooper

1812 Overture - Tchaikovsky

2018 Repertoire

Brass Band

Senator - Allen
Just As I Am - Heaton
The Magic Flute Overture - Mozart
Lake of the Moon - Houben
Living Power - Davoren
Abide with Me – Jenkins arr Graham
Phoenix - Graham
Lady Stewart’s Air - Graham
Lament from Macbeth - Meechan
Molly’s Wake - Rock
March Praise - Heaton
Pastorale - Richards
Songs of the Quay - Richards
Escape Velocity – Cordner
A Moorside Suite - Holst

Wind Band

Olympiada – Hazo
Egmont Overture – Beethoven
Imaginarium - Standridge
The Battle of Britain - Goodwin
The Phantom of the Opera – Lloyd Webber arr Barker
Chanteys - Sheldon
The Best of Bond – arr Woodfield
A Quiet Moment - Sparke
West Side Story Symphonic Dances - Bernstein
ELO Selection – Lynne arr Marshall
Las Castanuelas - Binge
Sortie – Wely arr Batten


Day of the Dragon - Graham

View previous years music

2017 Repertoire

Brass Band

Scheherezade - Rimsky-Korsakov arr.Rimmer
Doyen - Richards
French Military March- Saint-SaensarrHargreaves
Sinfonietta - Langford
Fast Ride in a Brass Machine - Baker
Ubi Caritas - Mealor
Starburst -Price
Wired - Pankhurst
Pasmo - Van der Woude
March O.R.B -Anderson
Lustpiel Overture - Bela Keler
Westminster Waltz- Farnon
Serenade - Bourgeois
Escape Velocity - Cordner

Wind Band

East Coast Pictures - Hess
Olympiada - Hazo
Egmont Overture - Beethoven
The Thin Red Line - Alford
Les Miserables - Schoenberg arr. Barker
New York New York - Kander and Ebb arr.Bullock
The Best of Bond - arr. Woodfield
Bohemian Rhapsody - Mercury arr. Woodfield
Polovtsian Dances- Borodin arr. Cacavas
Espana - Chabrier arr. Marshall
Molly on the Shore - Grainger
Time Changes - Short
Armenian Dances Suite No. 1 - Reed
The Waking Dawn - Jones


Americana - Dan Price
1) Flame of Independence
2) Sunrise over Blue Ridge
3) An American Tale

2015 Repertoire

From The New World – Dvorak arr Rimmer
The Land of the Mountain and the Flood – MacCunn arr Briggs
Suite Gothique – Boellmann arr Ball
The Cossack – Rimmer
Jubilee Overture – Sparke
The Crazy Brass Machine – Taylor arr Smith
The Path to Peace – Harper
South Rampart Street Parade – Bauduc/Haggart arr Morrison
Bat Out of Hell – Meat Loaf arr Davoren
Mephistopheles – Douglas Batman – Elfman arr Catherall
Calling Cornwall – Richards
The Corsair – Berlioz arr Brand
The Padstow Lifeboat – Arnold
Ruby Tuesday – Jagger arr Catherall
Cornish Hymn Sheet


The Concert

The course concludes with concerts for both the training and main bands on Saturday 3rd August . The Training band concert will be on Saturday Morning with the Main Band concert on Saturday afternoon. Both concerts are held at the stunning Exchange Theatre in Sturminster Newton.

All senior band players are expected to attend the Training band concert in the morning, to show support for those hoping to progress into the Wind and Brass Bands in future years. Tickets for friends and family to attend the concerts are available from the helpdesk during the week. They sell out fast so book early to avoid disappointment!

The Location

The course is held at Sturminster Newton High School in the beautiful North Dorset countryside. Whilst not a residential course full catering is available during the day, for breakfast, snacks and lunch. Students are able to camp on site although some may choose to stay in one of the many guest houses or hotels in the area. Camping, which is run by the Wessex Camping Committee fosters a sense of community on the course. We pride ourselves on the social side of the course and because we are not residential families are most welcome. Families use the opportunity for parents to holiday in the area whilst their children attend the course during the day. We do of course have many older players as well.

The 2019 course takes place from Monday 29th July to Saturday 3rd August at:

Sturminster Newton High School
Bath Road,
Sturminster Newton,
DT10 1DT

Accommodation is not provided by the course, but members choose the style of accommodation that suits them, all of which is plentiful in the area:

  • Camping on the school field
  • Camping at local campsites
  • Holiday cottages for groups and families
  • Bed and Breakfast
  • Travel daily from home
  • Hotel and guest houses

The course runs between 9:30am and 5pm daily, so please bear in mind journey times and distance when arranging where to stay. Many of the course attendees choose to stay on the campsite run by the Wessex Camping Committee. This is an independent committee, separate from the Wessex Band Summer School organisers. Please visit www.wessexcamping.com for further details.

(Please note: WBSS is not responsible for content on external sites)

Course Tutorial and Conducting Staff

The course is run by a dedicated and talented team of tutors and conductors. Many of the staff are either musicians or music teachers and many are ex-Wessex Band students themselves. Tutors are involved with full band rehearsals and also take a section from their relevant band for sectional rehearsals.

This list shows our tutors and conductors for the 2019 course.

Michael Fowles - Musical Director

Michael Fowles – Musical Director

Widely regarded as one of the leading conductors of his generation Michael hails from the rich musical tradition of North Staffordshire and is an Honours and Post-Graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music.

He is Musical Director of Foden’s Band. Having worked with many of the country’s leading bands Michael has a reputation for entertaining concert programming and high standards in competition. He is well known for having transferable skills having won Championship section contests with 10 different bands either in regular working relationships or on a freelance basis. As such he is much in demand both in the UK and abroad.

Michael is also a member of the Association of Brass Band Adjudicators and has officiated at numerous Regional Qualifying contests, The National Finals, Butlins Mineworkers Festival and the Swiss Nationals amongst others.

Educational work also forms an important part of Michael’s musical life. He is Course Director of both the Wessex Band Summer School and Fodens Armagh Summer School. As well as returning to the RNCM as a regular guest conductor he undertakes much training work throughout the UK with bands of all levels from championship to youth including being Musical Director of Fodens Youth Band, Associate Conductor and Musical Adviser of Lions Youth Band and Music Adviser to the North East Midlands Brass Band Association Youth Band. He is also a regular guest conductor for school and youth workshops in Leicestershire, Staffordshire and Northern Ireland with both Brass and Wind Bands.

Michael has written articles and reviews for both Brass Band World and British Bandsman, given many premiere performances, conducted concerto appearances of eminent soloists and directed many commercial CDs and broadcasts for both BBC Radio 2 and 3.

Anna Hughes-Williams

Anna Hughes-Williams

Training Band Conductor and Repiano Tutor

Born in Treorchy in the Rhondda Valley. Anna started playing at the age of 12 under the guidance of Ieaun Morgan MBE . Progressing to Principal cornet with the Treorchy Youth Band and Mid Glamorgan ... more

Becky Plant

Becky Plant

Training Band Conductor and Trombone Tutor

Having been born into a Brass Banding family, music has always been in Becky's blood!

Becky learned to play Cornet with Ratby Band at the age of 5 and still plays with them in the C ... more

Damon Robb

Damon Robb

Training Band Conductor and Flute Tutor

Damon has been a teacher and professional musician for over 30 years. He started his musical career in the Royal Artillery Band, after training at the renowned "Royal Military School of Musi ... more

Matt Stimpson

Matt Stimpson

Training Band Conductor and Horn Tutor

Matt Stimpson is head of music at Beckfoot School, Bingley,where he runs a large, successful music department. Matt plays tenor horn for LB Brass, and has previosuly played for a number of wind a ... more

Len Adams

Len Adams

Brass Band Conductor and 3rd Cornet Tutor

Leonard was introduced to the cornet by his Grandfather at age 8, a little while later he joined Redruth Town Band and the Cornwall Youth Band. Moves followed to Carharrack & St. Day and finally ... more

Mike Eccles

Mike Eccles

Brass Band Conductor and Flugel Tutor

Mike began playing at the age of 7 with the Poynton Youth Brass band where he progressed through the ranks to the principal cornet seat. During this time he was also principal cornet with Hazel G ... more

David Marshall

David Marshall

Wind Band Conductor and Trumpet Tutor

Born in Cornwall in 1944, David began piano lessons at the age of eight and later played cornet with Bodmin Town Band. In 1960 he enlisted with his county regiment, The Somerset and Cornwall Ligh ... more

Alan Pope

Alan Pope

Wind Band Conductor and 2nd Cornet Tutor

Following a career as an army musician took over as Musical Director of Camborne Youth Band in 1999 and formed Camborne B Band (now known as Camborne Brass) in 2001. Camborne Youth Band won its f ... more

Jon Probert

Jon Probert

Soprano Cornet and Trumpet Tutor

Jon is a Soprano cornet, Bb cornet and trumpet player, currently playing with the Fairey Band of Stockport. Starting at age 9 on the cornet Jon worked his way to playing principal cornet with Cre ... more

Kirsty Walker

Kirsty Walker

Solo Cornet Tutor

Kirsty began playing the piano at the age of 6 in her home town of Shipston-on-Stour in Warwickshire and at the age of 9 started playing the cornet with Shipston Town Junior Band. By the age of 1 ... more

George Thackray

George Thackray

Horn Tutor

Biography to follow

Mike Warriner

Mike Warriner

Baritone Tutor

The LEGEND that is Mike Warriner, a former player and winner of the Andrew Pitts Plate of the course has been the Baritone Tutor at Wessex since 2004. Currently based in Preston, Mike originally ... more

John Barber

John Barber

Trombone Tutor

In 1993 John was awarded one of only six places on the highly prestigious "joint course", run between the Royal Northern College of Music and Manchester University. He was principal tro ... more

James Fieldhouse

James Fieldhouse

Euphonium Tutor

Jim is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger and music educator with a busy performing schedule, playing both reeds and brass, with many of the UK’s leading jazz and classical ensembl ... more

Stuart Baglin

Stuart Baglin

Tuba Tutor

Biography to follow

Cherri Wallace

Cherri Wallace

Flute Tutor

Cheri Wallace studied music at Colchester Institute and Surrey University; studying flute, recorder and baroque flute. She performs regularly with the Salisbury Baroque and Salisbury Sinfonia on the ... more

Rachel Peacock

Rachel Peacock

Oboe Tutor

Rachel studied oboe and cor anglais at the RNCM with Peter Graeme, Hugh McKenna and Roger Winfield.

She has had a busy teaching career so far, having equally spent time between teaching th ... more

Nick Walton

Nick Walton

Woodwind Tutor

Biography to follow

Tracey Munford

Tracey Munford

Clarinet Tutor

Tracey is an ex-principle clarinetist of the Wessex Band Summer School.

Tracey graduated from the University of Salford in 2000 with an honours degree in Band Musicianship. At Salford she s ... more

Sandra Jones

Sandra Jones

1st Clarinet Tutor

I began playing my clarinet at the age of 9 and my sax at the age of 11 achieving grade 8 at the age of 13. Music has been the love of my life. I studied music at Huddersfield University where I ... more

Carol Frost

Carol Frost

Saxophone Tutor

After developing an addiction to the recorder at the age of 5, I was encouraged to progress onto the clarinet and saxophone achieving Grade 8 Distinctions in both by the age of 13 followed by Grade ... more

Elinor Tolfree

Elinor Tolfree

General Wind Tutor

Elinor is a well-respected and sought after performer, instrumental teacher and music psychologist.

She studied at Dartington College of Arts for her initial degree, followed by post-gr ... more

James Gilbert

James Gilbert

Percussion Tutor

Having been influenced by music throughout his childhood, James has successfully paved a career for himself as a percussionist, and is highly sought after. He started playing when he was 4 and wa ... more

Alli Smith

Alli Smith

Percussion Tutor

Music has played a major part in Alli's life from a very early age. Originally from Leicester, Alli grew up playing percussion through the bands and orchestras of both the Enderby Band Organi ... more

Executive Committee

The course could not run without the tireless work and dedication of the committee and helpers on the course. They work throughout the year to ensure the course happens and is of the quality we have all come to expect. From the committee who organise every detail of the course, to the people who staff the information desk, to the dedicated team of early-birds we call the catering staff, we could not provide the course without them.

The current executive committee oversees the day to day running of the course throughout the year and particularly during the week

Matt Stimpson

Matt Stimpson


What do they do outside of the course?

Outside the course I am the Head of Performing Arts at Beckfoot School, Bingley. I am also the conductor of the Delph Youth Band an ... more

Kay Butler

Kay Butler


My role within WBSS is Librarian for the Brass Band, collating folders of music for the band members. My second role is as member of the exec committee, listening to others, discussing and offering ... more

Len Adams

Len Adams

Vice Chairman

What is their role within Wessex? Exec, Conductor, Tutor What do they do outside of the course? Trevada Music How long they have been involved with the course? I think from 1993 What is their favou ... more

Steve Plant

Steve Plant


What is their role within Wessex?

Course Treasurer and member of the Executive Committee

What do they do outside of the course?

Chair ... more

Howard Bland

Howard Bland


Role in wessex

Honary Secretary since 2002 Collect and sort applications, invite conductors and tutors. Try to sort out cds.

What do they do outside of ... more

Helpers and Committee

The course could not run without the tireless work and dedication of the committee and helpers on the course. They work throughout the year to ensure the course happens and is of the quality we have all come to expect. From the committee who organise every detail of the course, to the people who staff the information desk, to the dedicated team of early-birds we call the catering staff, we could not provide the course without them.

As with all voluntary organisations we always welcome new help and support, from the big to the small. If you would like to help out, either by standing on the general committee or by helping out with the many tasks that oil the cogs of the Wessex week itself, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Merchandise and Recordings

Wessex Band Summer School offers a range of merchandise, from hoodies to CD recordings. To order any of the items please download the order forms below or contact us here.

Adult - £25.00
Child - £23.00

Unisex - £15.00
Ladies Fitted - £15.00
Child - £12.00
Unisex - £15.00
Ladies Fitted - £15.00
Child - £12.00
Main Band - £7.50
Training Band - £5.00


The Wessex Band Summer School recognises the efforts of course members through a series of awards given each year. This can range from the most improvement seen during the week, to commitment and dedication over a number of years.

You can view awards by year

Simply select the year you wish to view

Courtney Bosanko Shield

This Shield is presented in memory of the course director who died in 1986 and is awarded for commitment dedication and contribution over a number of years.

Andrew Pitts Plate

This plate is presented in memory of the co-founder of the course in 1970 who was tragically killed in a motor accident and is awarded to the member making the most progress during the week in either the Brass Band or Wind Band.

Sarum Sound Cup

Peter Jury from the recording company gave this Cup to be awarded to the student under 15 making the most progress.

Wind Band Award

Awarded to the student making the most progress during the week

Brass Band Award

Awarded to the student making the most progress during the week

Silver Jubilee Shield

Presented by the course founder John and Magaret Grinnell in 1994 to celebrate the 25th course. This is awarded to the most outstanding member of the Training Band.

Angela Lowe Memorial Cup

This is in memory of Anela Lowe one of the original Training Band Condutors. This was first awarded in 2003 to the member of the Training Band making the most progress.

Elinor Tolfree - Brass Band

This cup was first awarded in 2006 by Elinor our Wind Tutor and is presented to the adult student making the most progress in the Brass Band.

Elinor Tolfree - Wind Band

This cup was first awarded in 2006 by Elinor our Wind Tutor and is presented to the adult student making the most progress in the Wind Band.

Elinor Tolfree Award- Training Band

This cup was first awarded in 2006 by Elinor our Wind Tutor and is presented to the adult student making the most progress in the Training Band.

Ron Cornelius Cup

Ron's son Tim was a past principal euphonium player for several years and this cup is presented in Rons memory for the euphonium player making the most progress.

Louise Wise Shield

This was presented in 2006 by Louise's family. Her daughter Gemma has been one of the course percussionists and it was fitting that this awarded to the percussionist making the most progress.

Wes Garner Award

This is a new award, presented for the first time in 2012, in memory of our Tutor Wes Garner by the family to the second or third cornet player making the most progress through the week.

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