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Friary Diary - Issue 53 - June 2019

Welcome to Friary Diary issue 53 - a one page monthly round up of news about the Friary Brass Band.


Friary was delighted to return to Bournemouth at the end of June for another joint charity concert with the Boscombe Band of the Salvation Army, this time in aid of the Salvation Army and the British Heart Foundation. On a swelteringly hot day, the evening got off to a sizzling start with the Boscombe SA Band’s rendition of the William Tell Overture. Grimethorpe Colliery Band may have made the piece their signature tune, but the addition of timbrels with their swirling ribbons took it to a completely new dimension! After that, the programme continued with items by prominent Salvationist composers such as William Himes and Ray Steadman-Allen, including the latter’s trombone solo The Eternal Quest. This was played superbly by the 2018 BBC Young Musician Brass Category winner Isobel Daws whose talent continues to impress audiences.

After the interval, Friary took the stage to reprise the Band’s winning entertainment performance at the Butlin’s Mineworkers Festival back in January this year, the Friary Fairy Tale of Princess Isobel’s quest for love. Isobel Daws was in the starring role, complemented by the welcome return of Ross Graham on bass as her suitor Rossolini, not to mention Nigel Stevens’ role as the Town Crier (I think the Mayor of Bournemouth who was in attendance was tempted to offer him a job!). Compère for the evening, the inimitable Frank Renton, provided the narration.

With all in the Land of Friary living happily ever after, it was time for the programme to return to more solemn matters: for Bandmaster Howard Evans it was his final concert conducting the Boscombe SA Band and appropriate tributes were paid to this much loved and respected musician. Howard’s choice of a contemplative item was In Quiet Pastures, another Ray Steadman-Allen composition. The final joint item was Wagner’s Elsa’s Procession to the Minster from Lohengrin, a truly majestic work to which the massed bands did full justice, bringing the evening to a memorable conclusion. All of us at Friary send Howard our very best wishes for the future.

(Pic. Timbrals in full flow!)


Our summer concert season continues on Wednesday 21st August when the Band returns to the delightful setting of College Garden, Westminster Abbey for a FREE lunchtime concert. Timings are 12.30 to 2.00 pm.


30th June marked the end of an era in the grass roots level of brass banding with a concert by the North East Hants Area Schools Bands (NEHASB) (together with Cove Brass), the last to be conducted by Simon Wyld and Wendy Brett, Director and Assistant Director of NEHASB before their retirement after no fewer than 30 and 25 years respectively. Friary has staged a number of joint concerts with NEHASB which was where Friary brothers Richard and Chris Straker both started their brass band careers.

“I owe a great deal to both Simon and Wendy for helping me develop as a musician. NEHASB was the first band I ever played in and it’s a tribute to their dedication and enthusiasm that I’m still playing some 20 years after leaving the band!” acknowledged Richard. “During their many years with NEHASB, Simon and Wendy have inspired hundreds of young musicians. The number of players who continue to perform and enjoy music years after leaving NEHASB is a fitting tribute to Simon and Wendy's years of service, as is the number of friendships formed within the bands,” echoed Chris. Without teachers like Simon and Wendy, the brass band world would be a poorer place. We thank them and send them our very best wishes for the future, and look forward to continuing the relationship with NEHASB under their new Director, Adam Denman.


In the June update, Friary slipped one place to 27th in the World Rankings.

Please visit our calendar page here to view our forthcoming events

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