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Friary Diary - Issue 61 - February 2020

Welcome to Friary Diary issue 61 - a one page monthly round up of news about the Friary Brass Band.


Friary received a very warm welcome on the Band’s return to Ash on 8th February, for a concert kindly sponsored once again by the Rotary Club of Ash and Blackwater Valley. This was Friary’s fifth appearance at Ash and the audience was as enthusiastic as ever. A new concert programme was unveiled, including the overture to Strauss’ Die Fledermaus; the Les Miserables favourite, Bring Him Home, a euphonium solo sensitively played by Chris Straker; the Bond theme Live and Let Die, superbly played on the soprano cornet by James Nash; and Edward Gregson’s Variations on Laudate Dominum, together with the original hymn tune O Praise Ye the Lord.

The second half opened with the march Mephistopheles from the Band’s CD Letter from Home, and also featured In the Tavern, from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana; Lauren Straker’s haunting flugel solo Eyes of a Child; and the ever-popular xylophone solo Robin Harry, dexterously performed by Will Rowling.

The concert raised £1,375 for the benefit of Surrey Search & Rescue, a voluntary specialist search team which assists the emergency services find missing vulnerable adults and children. They are on-call 24 hours a day, with a team of 80+ people and search dogs, to respond across Surrey and surrounding areas, so a hugely well-deserving cause.


Friary was delighted to welcome Eb bass player Chris Jackson to the Band in 2019. Chris started playing tuba at 8 years old and soon after he joined the Southampton Youth training band. He played with the training band for about two years until he moved up to the Southampton Youth Brass Band where he sat as principal tuba until he left at the age of 18. Music played a major part of Chris’s life and by the time he finished college he had earned a place at the Royal Northern College of Music. However, with his young family taking priority, sadly Chris had to pass up this opportunity and a long break from playing ensued. In 2016, Chris began his return to playing, joining a wind band. He then went on to play for Gosport Solent and Woodfalls Bands before taking up the solo Eb bass seat at Hyde.

Chris joined Friary in the summer of 2019. He is now working towards a Fellow of Trinity College London diploma and recently joined the Army Corps of Music as part of the Waterloo Band and Bugles of the Rifles. A highlight of Chris' playing career was performing with Friary in last year’s National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall, a venue he wanted to play at since he was a child. Welcome, Chris, and good luck with the diploma!


As part of Friary’s final preparations for the Regional Championships at Stevenage on 22nd March, an open rehearsal is being held on Wednesday 18th March at All Saints Church, 564 Woodham Lane, Woking GU21 5SH, from 8.00pm until 10.00pm. This is an opportunity to see and hear how the Band approaches a major contest, and all are welcome. The test piece for the contest is Philip Sparke’s A Tale As Yet Untold, commissioned by the Cory Band for the European Brass Band Championships in Linz, Austria, 2010. The theme of this impressive work, which is set in three movements, is one that recurs again and again throughout the music of Philip Sparke: the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity and how the beauty of music can help in this respect. Do join us if you can: it will be great to play to an audience!


As you will see below, Friary will be participating in the Whit Friday Marches again, the first time since 2010. More about this traditional brass band contest a bit nearer the time.


In the February update, Friary remains at 22nd in the world. For full ranking details, please go to

Please visit our calendar page here to view our forthcoming events

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