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Friary Diary - Issue 66 - July 2020

Welcome to Friary Diary issue 66 - a one page monthly round up of news about the Friary Brass Band.


The Band continues to have an activity every Wednesday in lieu of one of the weekly rehearsals, to keep the Friary family together. Quizzes prove to be ever popular, with Alex and Paddy Sears being the couple to beat, closely followed by Chris King and family. A recent innovation has been the use of the Kahoot! platform, which brings a new dimension of speed of answering to the scoring. The Band’s third video is still under production: this involves another ensemble and we await their contribution … watch this space!

There is also a glimmer of good news in that Brass Bands England, in consultation with the government, have issued guidelines for the resumption of playing. These are of course subject to stringent anti-Covid-19 precautions, but it is at least a start, a step in the right direction. For the full guidance by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport please see


Friary supplied the bugler at Guildford Borough Council’s marking of VJ Day, with cornet player Simon Persin doing the honours of The Last Post and Sunset at a socially distanced ceremony in Castle Grounds. This can be viewed on Guildford Borough Council’s FaceBook page dated 16th August. Thank you, Simon, and well played.


A charity’s plea for music videos recorded in lockdown to be part of their ‘Christmas in July’ virtual party prompted me to send them the YouTube link to the Band’s recording of ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’. The video was so well received at Crowthorne-based Sebastian’s Action Trust – a charity supporting the families of seriously ill children – that the Band’s second lockdown video quickly followed just in time for the party. I was glancing through our local paper and happened to spot the request for music videos suitable for the virtual party so thought it was worth sending through the link. I was delighted when the Trust’s Events Co-Ordinator Amy Samuel said it was just the kind of thing they were looking for, and then later asked for ‘Your Song’ as well. ‘The video recordings really helped our party go with a swing,’ said Amy. ‘The children and their families whom we support wouldn’t have had such a great time without the music, and we hope to be able to work with the Friary Brass Band again.’ For a glimpse of the party, including some of Friary’s contribution, please visit and for further information about Sebastian’s Action Trust go to


We are delighted to announce the safe arrival of Henry Arthur Burton-Pannell to proud parents Chris (tenor horn) and Jules, on 15th July. Congratulations to them all!


Given the news above, I thought it would be good to feature our solo tenor horn player Chris this month: many thanks for managing to find the time for my ‘interview’ amid the demands of being a new Dad, Chris!

Do you come from a musical family - if so, what did they play? I do, I didn't stand a chance! My nan, Muriel, played tenor horn in Boxted Methodist band (Essex). My mum, Diane, conducts Haverhill Youth Band (Suffolk) and Hadstock Silver Band (Essex) and plays all sorts of brass instruments. My dad, Richard, and brother, Tim, both play for Haverhill Silver Band, one of Friary’s London and Southern Counties competitors. My dad plays euphonium and my brother plays principal cornet in the band. Tim also plays soprano cornet, flugel horn, trumpet, guitar, drums and piano.

When did you first start playing a brass instrument, and what was it? I started playing cornet aged 4. It had a big wooden box which used to really cut into my little hands walking to school.

When did you switch to horn? I think I was about 7 when I switched. I wanted to pay trombone but wasn’t big enough (I’m still not).

Do you play or have you played any other instruments? I used to play French horn to a decent standard, but this is now rusting in my basement. I attempt to play guitar occasionally, but this is strictly for my ears only.

What bands have you played with regularly? I started at Haverhill Youth Band and then played for Hadstock as my dad conducted them at the time. The family all then moved to play for Soham Comrades Band when I was around 8 and stayed there for 10 years. When I moved to Manchester for university in 2003 I joined the Hepworth Band in Holmfirth (‘Last of the Summer Wine’ country). I then moved to the Fairey Band in 2004 and played solo horn with them until 2009. My wife and I then moved to Melbourne, Australia where I played for the Hawthorn Band. When we moved back to Manchester in 2014, I joined the Hammond Saltaire Band based in Huddersfield, finally joining Friary in 2016 when we moved to London! That’s quite a long list for 35 year old…

What do you enjoy most about playing with Friary?

I like that we all work hard for each other and we have fun at the same time, it’s a joy to go to rehearsals.

What would you most like to achieve in the banding world? To get into the British Open with Friary.

What are your most memorable banding moments? I’m going to be greedy and have three:

  • Winning the Regionals competition with Friary on Pageantry. The band was going for a hattrick of wins and this was my first competition with the band, a nerve-wracking experience.

  • Coming 6th at the British Open with Hammonds. It was the band’s first time back at the competition for a few years and my first big contest performance for years, I had a little cry.

  • Playing Acid House music with the Fairey Band at the Louvre in Paris

Are you involved in any other types of music? There are no other valid forms of music.

Apart from brass, what other genres of music do you enjoy? There are no other valid forms of music… I enjoy listening to guitar-based pop music from the English tradition mostly (e.g. Beatles, Stones, Pink Floyd, Queen, Bowie, Radiohead, Oasis, Blur, Muse, Biffy Clyro, etc,). I’m also a bit partial to light romantic era classical music such as Tchaikovsky, nothing too robust.

If you were cast away on a desert island, what would be your top three music pieces you’d like to listen to - and why?

  • All Through the Night arranged for brass band by Gordon Langford – it’s just ludicrously luxurious

  • The ballet score for Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky – Several hours of quality music

  • Magic by Pilot – It’s impossible to be unhappy listening to this song


With no further updates since April, Friary remains 23rd in the world. For full ranking details, please go to

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