After an absence of three years, Friary Guildford Band made a triumphal return to the scaba Autumn contest at The Hawth, Crawley yesterday, collecting all but one of the Championship section prizes. With the contest format comprising a hymn tune and own-choice test piece, it was an ideal opportunity for the Band to give its first public performance of the National Finals’ test piece, Gallery by Howard Snell. Of the performance of hymn Passion Chorale, adjudicator Dr David Lancaster wrote: ‘Super playing … a band with a warm tone and lyrical legato … there’s no doubting the quality of your playing.’
Summarising the test piece performance, he was similarly impressed: ‘This has been an authoritative performance with super attention to detail. You’ve worked hard to capture the different moods of each movement and the characterisation is exceptional. Wow - thank you!’ Musical Director Chris King was delighted with the result: ‘The Band has worked hard on Gallery and we can all see that it’s really paid off. David’s comments about individual sections within the piece are extremely helpful, and give us a great opportunity to polish our performance for the National Finals in just under three weeks’ time.’
As well as taking first prize, with an impressive trophy, Friary also took the awards for the Best Hymn Tune; Best Percussion Section; Best Bass Section; Best Instrumentalist (Simon Tong – Soprano Cornet); and Best Conductor (Chris King).
Band Chairman Nigel Stevens was also highly pleased with the result: ‘It’s always a pleasure to come away with trophies and prizes, but of equal benefit are the constructive comments which should really stand us in good stead for our return to the Royal Albert Hall next month.’ ‘A great day at the office!’ he concluded.