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Best of Brass Concert Review

It was billed as Best of Brass, and few in the audience at Holy Trinity Church, Guildford last Sunday afternoon would argue with that description. Friary Guildford Band was delighted to be performing alongside the Cory Band – world no. 1 for nine years - for an afternoon of stirring music. As hosts, Friary took the first half of the concert with music including original brass composition, arrangements of folk tunes by Musical Director Chris King, musicals and two contrasting solos, Lauren Straker on flugel with the hauntingly beautiful Eyes of a Child, and Chris Straker – a former Cory player - demonstrating dazzling dexterity on euphonium with Brillante (variations on Rule Britannia with a dash of Men of Harlech).

After the interval Cory with Musical Director Philip Harper took to the stage, starting their set with a vibrant performance of Malaguena, followed by the overture from Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie. Cory had brought along their impressive collection of major contest silverware, lacking only the British Open trophy which provided an introduction to an excerpt from this year’s test piece The Triumph of Time by Peter Graham.

To round off the concert, the two bands combined for a classic British march, William Rimmer’s The Cossack, followed by The Great Gate of Kiev from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Not surprisingly, the level of applause was more than sufficient to encourage an encore, the majestic Elsa’s Procession to the Minster from Wagner’s Lohengrin. A magnificent piece of music at any time, with two bands playing it produced a sound to stir every soul, and richly deserved the standing ovation which followed. Friary was delighted to welcome Rt Hon Anne Milton MP and her husband, and the Mayor and Mayoress of Guildford as special guests for this splendid occasion, an afternoon to remember.

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