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Changing of the Guard at Friary

Friary’s AGM in May saw the end of an era: long-serving chairman Nigel Stevens stepped down after 11 years at the helm and after 19 years as a player. During his tenure, Nigel oversaw the Band’s progression on many fronts, not least to a top twenty ranking at the end of 2021. But whilst the musical element of the Band was of course important, the social connectivity and camaraderie was equally important in driving Friary’s success, he thought.

In his emotional closing remarks, Nigel thanked all of the Band for their friendship, their support without which Friary could have achieved very little and for the huge amount of dedication and time all had put in over the years. He also generously acknowledged the management team members who he said it had been a privilege and a joy to work with. ‘I know I leave you in excellent hands to take the work forward,’ he concluded, welcoming incoming chairman Dave Wicks.

Nigel will be greatly missed, as will Sarah Stevens who as the Band’s librarian has kept Friary’s music in excellent order, and has also taken numerous wonderful photos of Friary in action over the years. Whilst retiring from Friary, however, Nigel is busier than ever in the world of banding: CEO of Brass in Concert, Director of Brass Bands England and Executive Member of the European Brass Bands Association. All at Friary thank him for a job superbly done and wish him and Sarah all the very best for the future.

Taking over the reins, Dave Wicks commented: ‘Nigel is an immensely hard act to follow. His dedication and breadth of view have been crucial to Friary’s success over the past 11 years. He leaves the Band in fine shape, despite the challenges of Covid, and I am looking forward to building on the success.’

Nigel was presented with a framed montage of Friary memorabilia and was made Band President to mark his outstanding contribution over so many years.



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