Friary Guildford Band continued its impressive form at The Hawth, Crawley on Sunday, winning the Southern Counties Amateur Bands’ Association Entertainment Contest by a runaway margin of 11 points, and scooping the prizes for the Best March and Best Soloist. The programme, themed ‘Creepy Crawley’, started traditionally with the march Mephistopheles, before slowing the tempo with the haunting narrative ballad The Witch of the Westmerlands featuring solo baritone Alex Stevens and principal cornet Richard Straker. A superb rendition of Defying Gravity from the hit musical Wicked!, arranged by Musical Director Chris King, earned Richard Straker the Best Soloist award from adjudicator Richard Evans. To conclude the performance, the Band played excerpts from On the Shoulders of Giants to give them total marks of 91 out of 100. ‘We’ve only been able to compete in this contest five times in the past 10 years as it’s often clashed with the Spring Festival at Blackpool,’ explained Friary’s Contest Secretary Alex Stevens. ‘But on each occasion we’ve taken the prizes, so we’re delighted to maintain that unbeaten record.’ We’re now taking a break from the contest stage to concentrate on our summer concert programme and prepare for our new CD recording in September.’ Friary Guildford’s main summer concert, featuring some Prom concert favourites, will be at 7.30 pm on Saturday 5th July at Woking United Reformed Church but the Band can also be seen at various events around the county over the next few months.