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A Grand Day Out!

Friary set up before playing at this year's Grand Shield contest. pic. Jenny Crossfield


Reporting on Friary’s result at the British Open Spring Festival Grand Shield contest, I’ve more than once said it’s better to travel in hope than arrive.  Not so this year:  despite  being drawn first to play out of the 20 bands competing, Friary set an impressive marker for the rest of the field with a first class performance of Bert Appermont’s A Brussels Requiem.


An immensely challenging test piece, reflecting on the terrorist attacks in the Belgian capital in March 2016, it was premiered at the 2017 European  championships.  Commencing with totally exposed cornet and euphonium solos, the work has constantly changing tempos and dynamics, so is a test both technically and artistically.


In her general remarks prior to the results being announced, adjudicator Lynda Nicholson stated that there were four outstanding performances, so it was a proud moment to hear Friary being placed fourth, behind Rothwell Temperance (3rd), Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (2nd) and Oldham (Lees) who took the title.  This is Friary’s best ever result in the Spring Festival, leaving much-fancied Desford Colliery (6th) and GUS (10th), not to mention some notable musical directors, in its wake.


Summing up, Band Chairman David Wicks commented: ‘This was a superb result for Friary.  We worked really hard under Nigel Taken’s guidance and with a good number of players relatively new to the Band, it’s a testament to everyone’s commitment and dedication.  Ideally of course we would have loved to qualify for the British Open itself but we knew that was an exceptionally tough ask given the level of competition.  We are more than happy with our placing and the adjudicators’ glowing comments, especially having had the dubious honour of starting the day’s proceedings,’ he concluded.


Our fellow London & Southern Counties competitors, Redbridge, came in 11th. Next year’s Grand Shield contest will also include two more bands from the region, Amersham and Wantage Silver (conducted by Chris King) who took the top two places respectively in the Senior Cup, earning them promotion. In another good showing from a London band, Haverhill placed third in the Senior Trophy, earning them promotion to the Senior Cup next year: congratulations to them all.

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