Sunday 2nd October saw the Band’s 10-piece ensemble have its first outing for a while, to help mark the opening of the new Compasses Bridge over the Wey & Arun Canal at Alfold and later to celebrate the canal’s bicentenary at Dapdune Wharf, Guildford.
Conducted by Friary bass player Nigel Simmons, who has also arranged the majority of the ensemble’s repertoire, the 10-piece played to entertain visitors and dignitaries alike, including Dame Penelope Keith DBE who performed the official bridge opening ceremony. Around 250 people had gathered at the bridge, built by the Trust at the Alfold entrance to the Dunsfold Park aerodrome and business complex to replace a 1930s concrete causeway which was blocking the canal.
To finish the day there was a cream tea for Canal Trust members and guests at Dapdune Wharf in Guildford, the location of a sumptuous meal staged for canal company directors and shareholders on the day the canal was officially opened in 1816.
‘We have had a relationship with the Canal Trust for some while.’ explained Nigel. ‘We played for the re-opening of a lock back in 2010, and with several other of their projects coming to fruition over the next few years, very much hope that our association will continue,’ he concluded.