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Friary Diary - Issue 37 - February 2018

Welcome to Friary Diary issue 37 - a one page monthly round up of news about the Friary Guildford Brass Band.


We are delighted to welcome top soprano cornet player, Martin Britt, to the Band. Martin has long been regarded as one of the banding world’s finest soprano players. Having studied trumpet at The Royal Academy of Music with James Watson and David Staff, he has played Star Wars with John Williams, Baba O'Riley with Roger Daltrey, Prospero's Books with Michael Nyman and Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 with Christopher Hogwood. Martin is now a brass band player in the true sense with a day job but performing at the highest level in his free time.

As a regular guest soprano player with some of the world’s best brass bands, he has won the European Championships, New Zealand Nationals, the Australian Nationals, the All England Masters, the National Eisteddfod and the German Nationals. Martin is a Schilke Artist and member of 3BA (Germany), Tubular Brass, Wallberg Band (Switzerland), and comes to Friary Guildford Band following a six month "caretaker" role with Grimethorpe Colliery Band.

Band Chairman Nigel Stevens commented: ‘We are absolutely thrilled with the arrival of Martin to fill our soprano seat, and we look forward to a long and mutually rewarding relationship. I would also like to express the Band’s gratitude to Simon Tong who has covered the seat for several years pending a permanent appointment and made a significant contribution to the Band’s success.’


The Mayor of Guildford’s Musical Extravaganza took place at the end of February at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, and Friary had the honour of opening and closing the evening’s performances. On a bitterly cold evening, the opening number, Malaguena at least gave the audience a chance of conjuring up thoughts of warmer climes, before Richard Straker gave a stunning trumpet performance of the Barbra Streisand favourite People from Funny Girl. Nightingale Dances closed the Band’s first set. The audience was then treated to a variety of song and dance from ensembles and soloists, until it was time for Friary to take to the stage again.

The closing set started with Musical Director Chris King’s arrangement of America from West Side Story, before it was time for Chris Straker to display his digital dexterity with the final movement from Karl Jenkins’ Euphonium Concerto, entitled A Troika – Tidy! Chris King commented that perhaps by the end of the week we would all be needing one to get around! It was a memorable evening, raising funds for the British Heart Foundation and the Fountain Centre.


The February World Rankings update reflected Friary’s strong result at Butlin’s in January, taking the Band back into the top 30 with a rise of seven places to 28th. The much rejuvenated Redbridge have also risen, to 32nd although there is a significant difference of over 20 points. The London & Southern Counties Regional Championship on Sunday 18th March promises to be a close contest. We are working hard on the test piece to defend our title!


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