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Successful debut at Butlins for Friary

The first appearance in 2015 for Friary Guildford Band took them to the bracing East Coast holiday resort of Skegness last weekend for their debut at the prestigious Butlin’s Mineworkers Contest. A number 1 draw for Saturday’s test piece did them few favours other than the honour of giving the premiere performance of Tom Davoren’s Facets of the Heart. That and playing in an unfamiliar acoustic left their performance towards the back of the field of 9 bands, all but one of them higher in the world rankings. On Sunday, however, a new day dawned and Friary came into their own. Mineworkers may have been relatively scarce, but there was entertainment a-plenty and Friary’s own choice programme of 76 Trombones, Overture to Colas Breugnon, Bess You Is My Woman Now, Defying Gravity and Nightingale Dances hit the mark with the adjudicators. Runners up for their performance in the Entertainment section to eventual contest winners, Flowers Band (7th in World Rankings), Friary earned the awards for Most Entertaining Band and Best Bass Section and a 5th place overall for the weekend. Adjudicator Chad Shoopman summed up the Sunday performance as ‘Well done. Fantastic sound. Bravo!’ Contest Secretary Alex Stevens was thrilled with the result: ‘We’ve waited many years for an invitation to the Butlin’s contest, and to come away with two pieces of silverware – and a cheque - is a dream come true! To be drawn first to play on Saturday wasn’t ideal, but we learned a lot from it. It’s a big venue to fill with sound, and we adjusted for that on Sunday. We’re very much hoping for a return invitation next year when we’ll be even better prepared and set our sights on the main trophy.’ Friary are now busy with their preparations for the Regional Championships, to be held on Sunday 22nd March at Stevenage, aiming to win a trip to London’s Royal Albert Hall in October for the National Finals for the third successive year.

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