Natural Trumpet Ensemble Workshop Weekend 2020 at Stewartby Village Hall and Church of All Saints, Houghton Conquest

Overview & Updates:

With new (larger) venues the natural trumpet course is now able to go ahead on 19th and 20th September 2020!

Covid Safety Measures: Please note a later start time of 11am on Saturday and Sunday. This will hopefully make travel easier and it allows time for the venues to be ventilated and cleaned before use in case anyone is using these buildings before us. These are spacious venues. We will have the windows and doors open, but please be aware that entry to these places is at your own risk. Hand sanitiser will be provided.

To confirm your place on the course, please could I ask you to pay a £25 deposit at your earliest convenience.
(The deposit will secure the venue bookings). A secure card payment can be made by visiting

I'd you'd prefer to make a bank transfer, or to pay the whole course fee upfront, please ask me for my bank details. (The course fee (minus the £25 deposit) would be refundable in case of illness, local lockdowns or cancellation).

I'm really looking forward to welcoming you to the course!

Join Russell Gilmour
and a select group of like-minded individuals for an intensive (no-holes) natural trumpet weekend course - 'by invitation only'.

The idea behind this course is to blow away the cobwebs after lockdown, and to encourage high-quality, refined ensemble playing. The course will take place in Bedfordshire.

The weekend workshop will feature at least 9 hours of combined tuition and playing time. Participants will have the opportunity to play a variety of repertoire for the natural trumpet alongside some of the country's finest amateur and professional players. I am hoping to be able to invite other professional musicians to play alongside us - which would add another dimension of interest to the course.

Please study the details on this page and take a look at the pricing structure - which includes a significant discount for furloughed workers, key workers, students, OAPs and so on. Please note that meals and accommodation are not provided. I have included details of inexpensive and nearby accommodation below. Please let me know if you think you might like to come to this course.

I look forward to welcoming you very soon!


Invitation Video:

Please note that the venue has had to be changed since making this video.

Course Features:

- Large rehearsal spaces
- Pleasant surroundings
- 9 hours of course time
- Tuition from a qualified teacher and professional natural trumpet specialist
- Good mix of ages and abilities
- Inexpensive instrument loan available (if required)
- Limited number of course participants, for social-distancing and musical reasons
- Discounts for furloughed workers, key workers, students, OAPs etc.
- Heavily-discounted individual lessons available on Friday for course participants
- Hand sanitiser will be provided
- Disabled access and accessible toilet available
- Parking available nearby
- Convenient train links to/from London on Thameslink services
- Free lift from Bedford station (if required)


This course will focus on playing the natural trumpet (without finger holes).

The pitch of the course will be predominantly in D, at A=415Hz.

Please bring a wide selection of crooks, if you have them.

Participants that do not have their own instruments may be able to borrow an instrument from me for the duration of the course. There is a small hire fee to contribute towards cleaning and insurance costs.


The course will begin with ensemble pieces from the earliest trumpet method book - Bendinelli (1614). Players will learn to improvise inner and clarino parts within a structured trumpet ensemble. From there, we will continue chronologically to discover (notated) well-known and more obscure repertoire, which will give an overview of Renaissance and Baroque music for the natural trumpet.

I have been spending a lot of time researching new repertoire for this course, so we will be playing some interesting music!
Copyright © John Smith, All Rights Reserved.


The course weekend will take place at two large and interesting venues in Bedfordshire.

Stewartby Village Hall, Stewartby, Bedford MK43 9LX

Church of All Saints, Houghton Conquest Church, MK45 3JU

By Car:
c.35 miles from Cambridge
c.47 miles from London
c.52 miles from Oxford
c.79 miles from Birmingham
c.160 miles from Manchester

is available near both venues.

By Train:
East Midlands Trains

(According to the Thameslink website there are no planned engineering works between Bedford and London this weekend)

I can arrange a lift from Bedford Main station to/from the venues, if I know in advance.


Stacks Image 3573
Copyright © Stewartby Village Hall Website
Stacks Image 3577
Copyright © Stewartby Village Hall Website
Wootton Pillinge was renamed Stewartby in 1936. It was built as a model village and named after the director of the London Brick Company. The nearby brickworks was open until 2008. The village is built with London Brick Company bricks, as is much of London and Peterborough.

Stewartby Village Hall was built in memory of those who lost their lives in World War I.


Stacks Image 3581
Copyright © Russell Gilmour, All Rights Reserved.
Church of All Saints, Houghton Conquest was in the news in 2018 as its lead roof was stolen by 'audacious thieves' - see BBC News article.

One of the reasons that we are going to be playing in this church is to help support their fundraising efforts for a suitable replacement.

Fear not - the building is water-tight, thanks to temporary coverings (which can't be seen from inside or even from ground-level outside).


Saturday 19th September 2020 (Stewartby Hall, Stewartby)
Sunday 20th September 2020 (Church of All Saints, Houghton Conquest)


Saturday: at Stewartby Village Hall, Stewartby, Bedford MK43 9LX
11:00 - 13:00: 2-hour rehearsal (with a break)
13:00 - 14:00: Lunchtime
14:00 - 17:00: 3-hour rehearsal (with a break)
17:00: (prompt): Vacate Stewartby Village Hall

c.17:30: if there is good weather and a general appetite for it - we could perform a piece outside - Relocate and park cars at the junction of Shefford Road and Jacques Lane in Clophill, MK45 4BL

Sunday: at the Church of All Saints, Houghton Conquest Church, MK45 3JU
11:00 - 13:00: 2-hour rehearsal (with a break)
13:00 - 14:00: Lunchtime
14:00 - 16:15: Private 'run-through' performance
16:15 - 17:00: Tidy up and post-course wind-down session

Course Personnel:

Russell Gilmour

Course Director & Natural Trumpet Player
Russell Gilmour
Russell Gilmour is a natural trumpet specialist and has given live performances, as well as radio and television broadcasts, in more than 20 countries in Europe, Asia, North America and Australia. He has also featured on several notable recordings (with and without finger-holes).

Russell has performed and recorded with some of the finest period instrument ensembles, including the Academy of Ancient Music, Aurora Orchestra, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Les Talens Lyriques, the Taverner Consort, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Orchestra of the 18th Century, Solomon's Knot and Vox Luminis.

Russell's recent recording of Bach's second Brandenburg Concerto at Ansbach Bachwoche will be released in Autumn 2020 in preparation for the tricentenary of these iconic concertos.

Russell's enthusiasm for performing and researching Renaissance, Baroque and Classical music, particularly the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, was cultivated at the Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester), under the inspiring influence of David Staff. This fascination continued throughout his studies with Michael Laird at the Royal College of Music (London), where Russell gained the 'Master of Music in Historical Performance' qualification with distinction.

In addition to performing, Russell is an experienced and fully qualified teacher. He has recently lectured at the Oxford University Faculty of Music and Bate Collection on behalf of the Taverner Consort. He has also lectured at Royal Holloway, University of London, the Royal Academy of Music and University College London.

For more about Russell please visit

Sam Kinrade

Course Assistant & Natural Trumpet Player
Sam Kinrade
Sam will be playing on the course and helping Russ to move music and equipment between his house and the venues. Sam will be helping by shifting chairs, putting the kettle on, and that sort of thing…

Sam is a freelance orchestral trumpet player who spends most of his time working with symphony orchestras around the UK.

Before the lock-down he was busy working with the BBC Philhamonic and Malmö Symphony orchestras, and was about to play guest principal with the Aurora Orchestra for their upcoming tour. Instead he is now spending his time playing the piano, reading uplifting novels, and trying to get to grips with his newly made natural trumpet.

Ben Fullbrook

Baroque Timpanist
Ben Fullbrook
We will be inviting Ben to play with us at Houghton Conquest, on the Sunday.

After graduating from the Royal Northern College of Music in 2007, Ben Fullbrook held the post of Principal Timpani for the Orquesta Filarmónica de Santiago in Chile. Since his return to London, he has performed and recorded for most of the major London orchestras, as well as numerous chamber orchestras as a freelance percussionist and timpanist.


The course is open to all abilities, including people who have never played the natural trumpet before. You do need to have achieved a fairly good standard on the modern trumpet to be able to participate. For complete natural trumpet beginners, I ask that you come on the Friday before the weekend course and have a two-hour lesson at my home. Instruments are available to use for the duration of the course.

Course participants under the age of 18 are very welcome, but must be accompanied at all times by a parent or guardian.

Disabled Access:

Step-free access is available.

An accessible toilet is available in each venue.

Social Distancing & Covid-19 Safety Precautions:

I will be following the government's guidelines closely. We will ensure that the most up-to-date Covid-19 safety guidelines are followed.

The current Government guidelines are available here:

Will there be a performance?

After the class on Saturday (c.17:30), if the weather is good and there is an appetite for it - I am hoping [and I do have permission for this] that we can do an outdoor, audience-less, performance (of one or two simple pieces) in a place a short drive away. This will be a great way to finish the first day! Operation: Cyber Jetting Crab. Park cars at the junction of Shefford Road and Jacques Lane in Clophill, MK45 4BL and meet there with instruments, music and music stands and pegs.

On the Sunday afternoon, just before the end of the course, there will be a
private and informal run-through of our favourite pieces from the course weekend.


Here's what people said (all comments are anonymous) at similar past courses:
I found the workshop very interesting and would be very happy to do something similar in the future. I've never played any instruments like those before and I really enjoyed the session.
The trumpet workshop was a great success, featuring a great historical and practical perspective.
Russell was really keen that we enjoyed the workshop and helped a great deal in the technique and musicality required in the pieces.
Techniques, such as breathing, were emphasised when we were playing the natural trumpets which helped me think about how I could transfer these skills to my own instrument. Russell was very informative and a lovely person to work with.
Copyright © John Smith, All Rights Reserved.

Any questions?

If you have any questions, please contact Russell Gilmour using the form in the Enquiries & Bookings section of this page.

If you would like to talk on the telephone please contact Russell using the form on this page (see Enquiries & Booking) and ask for a call back.

Course Fee Calculator:

£ .00 GBP - includes Friday lesson fees [if selected], instrument hire [if selected], and weekend course fees. Course fees do not include meals or accommodation.
[status] + [experience] + [instrument] + [latearrival]

Important Notes:

Please note this is a non-residential, non-catered course, so you will need to separately source and pay for your own meals and accommodation.

* Course participants under the age of 18 are very welcome, but must be accompanied at all times by a parent or guardian.

A deposit will be required to confirm your place on the course.

Covid-19 safety measures will be in place, but please note that use of these venues is at your own risk.

Enquiries & Booking:

If you are at all interested in attending this course, please let me know so I can continue to plan the course. To book your place on the course or to ask a question, please use the form below:

Please let me know if you think you might be interested in attending this course.

Accommodation (not included in course fees):

Travelodge, Goldington Road, Bedford

Bedford's Travelodge is currently only £25!

Travelodge, Marston Moretaine

Also cheap - and 2.5 miles from Stewartby and 5 miles from Houghton Conquest.

Premier Inn, Bedford

Bedford has several Premier Inn hotels - including Bedford Town Centre (Riverside), Bedford (Priory Marina) and Bedford South (A421). I'm suggesting the Premier Inn hotels as they have a CleanProtect policy for Covid-19 and recent searches for weekend stays have been available for as little as £29 per night.

Knife & Cleaver, Houghton Conquest

Opposite Sunday's venue! See The Knife & Cleaver or

If you are booking a hotel room, make ensure you can change the dates or get a refund in the event of a local lockdown etc. Accommodation bookings are made at your own risk.

Meals (not included in course fees):

Please note that meals are not provided on this course. There will be time to eat between course sessions. It will be possible to enjoy a picnic nearby, so you may like to bring a packed lunch with you.


One of the gentlemen involved in the booking at Houghton Conquest is also the secretary of the local CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale). He assures me that the pub opposite the church (The Knife & Cleaver) is a good one. They also have rooms, currently (as of 26/08/2020) about £84 per night including breakfast.