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Friary Diary - Issue 36 - January 2018


Happy New Year! Skegness may not be everyone’s choice for a weekend break in January, but in recent years it has become the perfect way for Friary Guildford to start the New Year’s contest season. With around 80 competing bands and their supporters, Butlin’s was packed to capacity. As well as competing in the usual contest over two days, Friary – winners of the ‘Most Entertaining Band’ award last year and in 2015 - had been invited to stage the Friday evening concert, which started the weekend in fine style. As in previous years, Friary’s performance of the chosen test piece The Year of the Dragon wasn’t as strong as would have been hoped and only managed 5th place, but the Band bounced back on Sunday with its ‘people’ themed entertainment programme comprising With a Little Help from my Friends; America; People; Letter from Home; So Nice to Come Home to; and Adventures on Earth. ‘Overall a well conceived & delivered programme’ and ‘A great theme to your programme with a strong variety of pieces chosen.’ were the opinions of two of the adjudicators. That earned the Band 3rd place for the Entertainment section of the contest. It also left Friary tied at 3rd with Woodfalls on points total for the overall contest, but unfortunately Woodfalls’ 2nd place in the Entertainment section took precedence and nudged Friary off the podium into 4th place overall. That was the same result as last year, and certainly a pleasing one with higher ranked bands taking the top three places. The winners were Flowers, and Desford runners-up.


The Band’s Annual Awards Dinner took place the following weekend at the Hilton Hotel, Cobham. 30 Band members and their partners enjoyed an excellent meal and a witty review of 2017 by Chairman Nigel Stevens, before the eagerly awaited Annual Awards were announced. Player of the Year was Chris Straker (euphonium), chosen by Musical Director Chris King particularly for his rock-steady solo performances from memory, with Alex Stevens (baritone) taking the Most-Improved Player award. That left the Section of the Year award in no doubt – euphoniums and baritones. Chris Straker also took the Attendance Award, missing only two rehearsals and attending all engagements. Finally, the Bandsman of the Year award, voted for by the players, went to Sarah Daws for managing the Band’s library, and supporting the Secretary, not to mention some babysitting, enabling players to attend rehearsals! Congratulations to all the winners, and also to the rest of the Band: it’s a team effort.


Our Christmas playing at The Meadows and the Hog’s Back Brewery raised £1,100 shared equally between the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust and Band funds. We are also able to claim £275 Gift Aid on this collection. We are very grateful to everyone who donated so generously.


Please support the Mayor of Guildford’s Musical Extravaganza at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford on Sunday 25th February. Showcasing the musical talent within the Borough, this unique event will raise funds for the Mayor’s chosen charities including the British Heart Foundation and the Fountain Centre. Tickets are available from the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Box Office on 01483 440000, or online from

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