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Friary Diary - Issue 30 - July 2017


On 1st July Friary Guildford Band travelled to Bournemouth for its annual joint concert with the Salvation Army (‘SA’) to raise funds for The Alzheimer’s Society and the SA, in memory of Band Chairman Nigel Stevens’ parents. It was an uplifting evening with Boscombe SA Band, one of the SA’s most prominent bands, under the baton of Howard Evans, and featured as guest soloist Dewi Griffiths, principal cornet of the Tredegar Town Band.

The concert started in grand style, with the SA Band accompanied by timbrels, all whirling tambourines and ribbons, in Salvation Song, before quietening down with Wells followed by an opening prayer. For me, the highlight of the SA’s first set was Dewi Griffiths’ flugel solo, Children of Sanchez, from the film of the same name which starred Anthony Quinn. The film may have been forgotten, but the theme tune, by jazz player Chuck Mangione, is full of Mexican atmosphere, and Dewi gave it his all.

In complete contrast, Dewi’s solo with Friary was People, the Barbra Streisand favourite, played with huge sensitivity. Friary’s set also included In Thee is Joy, Chris King’s arrangements of Granada and Rondo alla Turka (featuring some excellent choreography and clowning around by bass player Ross Graham!), Stevie Wonder’s You are the Sunshine of my Life, and Climb Ev’ry Mountain from The Sound of Music.

After the interval, the massed bands began the second half of the concert with the stirring Florentiner March, featured in the film Brassed Off, with the beautiful Welsh tune, Myfanwy, providing a quieter contrast. Kingdom Triumphant and Crimond brought a memorable evening to a close.

Compère for the evening was the host of BBC Radio 2’s Listen to the Band, the inimitable Frank Renton who kept the audience amused and informed with anecdotes and comprehensive background about the music. Frank also revealed that many years ago, before its current ‘incarnation’ came into being, he conducted Friary Guildford, taking it from the 4th section to Championship section, and therefore has a close affinity with the Band and its Musical Director Chris King. The concert raised £600 for the Alzheimer’s Society and also £600 for the Salvation Army.


No change in July, with the Band still placed at 29th in the world.

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