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Friary Diary - Issue 104 - October 2023

Welcome to Friary Diary issue 104 - a monthly round up of news about the Friary Brass Band.


Sadly, our trip to the Royal Albert Hall on 21st October turned out to be not one of our more successful ones.  An early draw - third - didn’t help but our somewhat inconsistent performance of Prof. Edward Gregson’s Of Men and Mountains meant we could have few complaints about the eventual placing of 18th.  Nevertheless there were some very encouraging remarks from adjudicators Dr. Robert Childs, Prof. Roger Webster and Dr. Stephen Cobb. ‘This was a really fine performance with just a few ‘distractions’ along the way that detracted,’ was one summary.

Interestingly, of the bands placed in the five lowest places, four were the first four drawn to play.  At the top, Black Dyke narrowly thwarted Foden’s bid for a third consecutive title, with Cory taking the third podium spot.  Congratulations to them, and also to our fellow London & Southern Counties band, Zone One, who came a commendable ninth.  

Band chairman David Wicks commented: ‘This was a disappointment, of course, when we had hoped to break into the top ten for the first time.  Frankly we just didn’t play at anything like our best this year.  We’ll take stock, and go forward with the firm aim of qualifying again next year and then bringing home a result which reflects Friary’s real capabilities.’  ‘We are very grateful to the guest players who completed our line-up,’ he added.


We are delighted to announce a further new signing, Morgan Marston who fills the solo horn seat.

Originally a cornet player in North Wales, Morgan joined the army aged 18, and after basic training and seven months at the Royal Military School of Music, he moved to the Band of the Prince of Wales’s Division at St Athan. He played with a few local bands, most notably City of Cardiff, first in M2 on principal cornet, then at their Championship Section band on 1st horn.  He moved onto tenor horn in 2017 and started at Brunel Brass on solo horn the next year, where he stayed until 2022, before moving to London to join the Band of the Coldstream Guards as a French horn player.  Morgan then took a short break from banding apart from the occasional gig, but soon decided to return to it.

Commenting on his appointment at Friary, Morgan admitted:  ‘The time out from regular banding was short lived, and the itch to get back into top level banding was strong, so I decided to audition for the horn seat at Friary Brass Band, and the rest is (hopefully) history.’

Friary Chairman David Wicks added:  ‘In Morgan we have another strong player with top level contest experience who will prove invaluable in the Band’s future engagements and contests.’


photo: 4barsrest

Following a successful spell at the Berlin Philharmonic, our erstwhile star trombonist Isobel Daws has secured the solo trombone position at the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra.  We send her our congratulations and best wishes for continuing success in her blossoming musical career.  Isobel and the BONE-AFIDE trombone quartet of which she is a member will also be appearing at the Friday evening concert prior to Brass in Concert later in November.


If you subscribe to Brass Band World magazine, you’ll have seen that October’s edition featured Friary as its centrefold band!  The issue also includes a review of our 40th anniversary concert, and the month’s castaway player is Tom Smith who was our guest soloist at the concert.


Following the National Finals, there was an update on 23rd October:  although slipping a couple of places, Friary remains within the top 30 worldwide, at 29th and is 19th in the UK.  Following their runners-up placing at the Nationals, Foden’s have taken the top band in the world title from Cory who had been no. 1 since October 2012, a remarkable record. For full ranking details, please go to



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