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Friary Diary - Issue 63 - April 2020

Welcome to Friary Diary issue 63 - a one page monthly round up of news about the Friary Brass Band.



How are you? It’s been a challenging month, but I’m pleased to say that all in the Band are keeping well. Some are still working on site, some working at home, some furloughed, some combining home-working with home schooling. Whoever thought that the highlight of the week would be getting a supermarket delivery slot! But seriously, we very much hope that you and yours are keeping safe and well and are not finding the rigours of lockdown too stressful.


The Band’s management team had a video conference via the wonders of modern technology and decided that we should have an activity every Wednesday in lieu of one of the weekly rehearsals, to keep the Friary family together. Our first activity was a quiz put together by Band Chairman Nigel Stevens, staged via video conference. It proved highly successful, the winners being Musical Director Chris King and his family, whose prize was … to arrange the following week’s quiz! That proved quite challenging, in particular the music round, but baritone player Alex Sears and her husband Paddy emerged triumphant, and they agreed to arrange another quiz which is to take place next Wednesday.

The following Wednesday saw the Band’s AGM – more details below - and last night saw Band members and partners take part in Bingo, suggested by percussionist Mike Jefferies. Cornet player Andy Singleton, resplendent in black bow tie and waistcoat, proved to be a natural caller, with witty Band-related straplines for the numbers. That was followed by another short quiz from Nigel Stevens, and the evening ended with the first showing of Friary’s ‘distance banding’ video - see below.


Friary is thrilled to announce the release of its first ever ‘distance banding’ video which is hot from the editing desk! Recorded individually by the players, all the contributions were then skillfully edited, video by David Wicks and sound by Richard Straker, to produce the end result. We are delighted with the finished article and trust that you will enjoy it, via the Band’s website, Facebook page or on YouTube. Go to YouTube to help brighten your day! Watch for the wig and the disco lights! Subscribe to our new channel and click the bell to be notified of new videos when they arrive!

Sadly we can’t claim complete originality for this ‘lockdown banding’ idea: the first remote recording with individual contributions edited together that we know of was pioneered by the Cory Band and was featured in the media, and they have followed this up with further releases. Their latest one, Somewherefrom West Side Story, features bands they have played with over recent years, including Friary – you can find it here. We remember with fondness the wonderful concert with them at Holy Trinity Church, Guildford in August 2016 – was it really that long ago?


The Band’s AGM was held, again via video conference, on 22ndApril. All the current members of the management team, who are also trustees of the charity, were re-elected. Overall it was a successful year, and a small financial surplus was reported. The accounts and Trustees’ annual report will be filed with the Charity Commission in due course.


There was an encouraging take-up of our offer last month to provide a FREE COPY OF OUR CD, Letter From Home, to help offset the effects of self-isolation, and feedback was extremely positive. It’s a well-known fact that music can have a positive influence on well-being, and so we are delighted to continue that offer to all our supporters, and anyone else they feel who would benefit from it. To take advantage of this offer, please contact me at or write to me at 37 Pondtail Road, Fleet GU51 3JF. The Band will cover the cost of postage and packing, so it is COMPLETELY FREE. We do hope that as many people as possible will take us up on this offer, to provide some entertainment at this time and help lift people’s spirits.


The rankings were updated in mid April, to reflect the various Regional Championship results, and of course with the London & Southern Counties contest cancelled there was bound to be an adverse effect for all bands in the region. However, Friary eased just a single place to 23rd in the world. For full ranking details, please go to For full ranking details, please go to

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