Ross started playing the cornet aged 7, as he was told to by his parents. After a near career threatening lip injury after jumping off a climbing frame aged 8, his lips became too fat for a cornet mouthpiece and he was shunted onto horn. It was here that Ross developed a real passion for playing as loud as he could, to the displeasure of all others.
13 lucky years followed on the horn, where Ross sat principal horn in the Salvation Army Territorial Youth Band, and toured with the Household Troops Band. Then someone realised that he was blowing the horn straight, and stuck him on Eb Bass. It was a match made in heaven, as now he could play as loud as he wanted without getting into trouble, or at least had the opportunity to blame it on someone else.
Ross joined the Friary in late 2015, and is looking forward to competing at the highest level with the band. And, improving his quieter dynamics.
Nigel was born and bred in East Sussex, England. Having started piano lessons at the age of 9, he then took up the tuba at the age of 13 with the Hastings Youth Band. It obviously agreed with him! He was promoted into the senior band, Sussex Brass within 4 months. Almost immediately, he started composing and arranging for band, a pastime which he has continued to the present day. He spent three years at the Royal College of Music, from 1974 – 1977, and then returned to the South East, as a freelance semi-pro Tuba player, as well as returning to Sussex Brass, this time in the capacity of Musical Director.
Other spells as Musical Director followed, taking Handcross Brass to the Championship Section, and Uckfield Concert Brass to the First Section.
In addition to his brass band activities, and his freelance tuba playing, he is also well known throughout the south east as a jazz tuba player (a rarity nowadays). He produces arrangements for Harvey’s Brass, a ten piece ensemble based on the same instrumentation as the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, run and directed by Peter Harvey of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Sussex Trombone Ensemble, which utilises between 8 and 15 trombones.
Nigel now lives in High Wycombe, and has played with the Friary for over a decade.
He is arranger-in-residence for the Sussex Symphony Orchestra, as well as producing music for all sorts of differing ensembles, including Brass quintets and Tuba sextets.
Well known for being able to produce arrangements at the drop of a hat, his fastest achievement was producing a complete arrangement, in less than one hour, of “The Star Spangled Banner” for a German Symphonic Wind Band who had mislaid their copy!!!
Although music is a hobby, it is a way of life to him, and the advent of music writing programs has finally meant there is more room in the house, without manuscripts all over the place!
Duncan started playing tuba at the age of 8. While at school, he played in a variety of orchestral groups. Then he joined the Surrey County Wind Orchestra. Finally he caught the banding bug by joining Friary about a year after the band was formed in 1983.
Over the last 30 years, he has seen the band rise from the 4th Section to the top of the Championship Section. For many years, Duncan ran the Friary Training Band, which played at music festivals and a variety of other engagements. He also helped to run the scaba Youth Band.
David was born in High Wycombe, Bucks. He started to play the tuba at the tender age of 12, when the BBb tuba was almost as tall as he was. He took to playing the tuba like a duck to water and within 3 months he had taken his first Associated Board performance exam, progressing though to Grade 8 within two and a half years. During this period, he played with many local bands and orchestras, including Bucks County Youth Orchestra, and also passed the audition for the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, where he attended 4 courses.
In 1981 David joined the Royal Air Force and after 3 months in the RAF School of Music at Uxbridge, he was posted to the Western Band at RAF Locking, just outside Weston Super Mare. The highlight of his 3-year tour was his first trip to Hong Kong. In 1984 he was posted to the Central Band where he stayed for over 23 years, being promoted through the ranks and becoming principal tuba and drum major. On the 26th December 1991 he left the UK to go out to the Gulf for a three-month stint in Bahrain as a medic. This was the first time that RAF musicians had been posted to a war zone since WW2. David continued to progress through the ranks, becoming Flight Sergeant Training, where he was in charge of all aspects of CPD training for the 120 RAF musicians, and Senior Drum Major, taking charge of drill and ceremonial for the Festival of Remembrance and Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. On promotion to Warrant Officer he spent 3 years at RAF Cranwell, which included a 6-month tour in Afghanistan, as the RAF Regiment Band Bandmaster. He was posted back to RAF Northolt in 2012 as Bandmaster Central Band. A highlight during his last few years was taking the Band of the RAF Regiment on parade with the Yeoman of the Guard at Buckingham Palace in front of Her Majesty the Queen. A first for any RAF band.
He has won many awards for his compositions and arrangements, winning the Studio Music Award for best arrangement for two consecutive years. On his promotion to Warrant Officer he was awarded the Worshipful Company of Musicians Silver Medal for being the bests student on the Bandmaster course. He also gained the award of Graduate of the City and Guilds of London for his management skills.
David has performed with many of the leading UK orchestras including the BBC Concert Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and Halle Orchestras and has travelled extensively throughout the world during his 36-year career in the RAF. He retired from RAF in 2016 as and is currently a Civil Servant occupying the post of Voluntary Band Instructor at RAF Halton, near Aylesbury. He is looking forward to performing in the top flight with Friary after spending three years as principal BBb bass with Wantage band.
Philip joined Friary in November 2006. During 40 years playing with Alder Valley Brass, highlights were playing on The Two Ronnies and Terry Wogan’s version of The Floral Dance.
At Philip’s first competition with Friary they were demoted to the 1st Section, but the road back to being London and Southern Counties top band has been inspiring. Philip's best moments include winning the 1st Section National Championships and every full rehearsal with this fantastic band.
Outside banding Philip is District Commissioner of Farnham Scouts and is a part time building consultant.