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Friary Diary - Issue 52 - May 2019

Welcome to Friary Diary issue 52 - a one page monthly round up of news about the Friary Brass Band.


It’s always better to travel in hope, so the saying goes, and this proved to be the case for Friary at this year’s British Open Spring Festival. Having been placed 6th in last year’s Grand Shield contest, Friary had high hopes of reaching the top two this year which would earn qualification to the British Open. That said, it was a tough ask, with a field of 20 bands all with the same objective. The test piece was Thierry Deleruyelle’s Fraternity which commemorates the 110th anniversary of Europe’s worst mining disaster, at Courrières in Northern France when some 1,100 miners perished. Given that it was commissioned for the 2016 European Championships in Lille, not surprisingly it is challenging and none of the competing bands negotiated it completely unscathed. Friary was drawn to play 11th, immediately after the lunchtime break, and the Band gave a good account of the piece. However, the two adjudicators varied in their individual assessments, with Steve Sykes being the more enthusiastic, summarising as ‘So much to enjoy & admire – bravo solo cornet!’ Garry Cutt, on the other hand, was more muted with ‘Lots to commend. Took a while to settle then some fine playing.’ Overall, the end result was a disappointing 9th place, with NASUWT Riverside and the co-operation band taking the tickets to the Open in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall in September. London & Southern Counties’ only other representative band, Redbridge, came 16th, avoiding relegation to the Senior Cup contest by a whisker. Friary’s ambition to reach the Open has to wait at least another year. The Band would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge supporter Chris Allen’s donation to cover the cost of purchasing the test piece music: many thanks indeed, Chris. We greatly appreciate your kindness and generosity.


After the disappointment at Blackpool, on a much brighter note, we are delighted to announce that Friary has been invited to take part in the prestigious Brass in Concert contest, to be held in the magnificent setting of The Sage, Gateshead on Sunday 17th November and compèred once again by the inimitable Frank Renton. This will be Friary’s second appearance at what is the UK’s (and probably the world’s) top brass band entertainment contest, our debut being in 2015. The result then was not great although we were judged on one count to be better in entertainment quality than the mighty Grimethorpe, and we did at least return with a trophy, for the contest’s youngest player, Elliott Mountford (percussion), who was aged just 15. The Sage, Gateshead Friary has come a long way since then, and we will be hoping for a better result, albeit in another tough field of 12 bands including world no. 1 Cory, Brighouse & Rastrick, Tredegar, Flowers, the aforementioned NASUWT Riverside, French champions Hauts-de-France and Dutch band Schoonhoven. It’s a long way to travel, but it’s a great day’s entertainment so please do come and support us if you can.

Picture: The Sage, Gateshead


Our summer concert season starts with a joint event with the Boscombe Band of the Salvation Army on Saturday 29th June, at the Salvation Army in Boscombe, in aid of the British Heart Foundation and the Salvation Army. Tickets which are a bargain at £6 (gallery) and £5 (unreserved) are available from Derek Kittle on 01202 420410 or Compère for the evening will be Frank Renton, and we do hope you will join us.


In the May update, Friary slipped three places to 26th in the World Rankings, having been overtaken by three French bands following the French Open. In the Brass Band World table, however, we rose two places to 21st!

Please visit our calendar page here to view our forthcoming events

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