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Friary Diary - Issue 107 - January 2024

Welcome to Friary Diary issue 107 - a monthly round up of news about the Friary Brass Band.


THE END OF AN ERA:

The December issue mentioned that, amongst other changes, cornet player Chris Powell was stepping down from the Band.  Chris has been such an integral part of Friary, not just as a player, that it would be totally remiss not to cover his departure in more detail.


Chris joined Friary on repiano cornet in 1985.  Over the years he has had stints on the front row, every position on the back row, flugelhorn, not to mention a short time on horn.


I asked Chris what his most memorable occasion was, but he explained that it was simply too difficult to pick any particular memory as he has enjoyed so many.  ‘I have just enjoyed performing to entertain people, whether it was at the numerous Friary pubs in the early days, as part of the Friary Meux sponsorship, or the more prestigious concerts we have done more recently,’ he said. ‘I have played at venues and events that I would not have been to without the Band.  Winning the entertainment prize at Butlins and the audience vote at Brass in Concert I think are worth so much as they mean that we entertained people,’ he added.


Chris went on: ‘Contesting has always been a priority of the Band and reaching the no. 1 spot in London & Southern Counties has been a great achievement, but also being able to represent the area at the Royal Albert Hall so many times has been very special.  However, winning the First Section National Finals I think just about pips this.’


Always keen to get involved in the running of the band, Chris has fulfilled the role of Secretary and Band Manager a number of times, as well as being a long-serving member of the management team.  In summary, Chris concluded: ‘It’s been a privilege to have been a part of such a great band in its many forms and to finish when Friary is at such a high with so many talented players and a strong and able leadership team.  I will follow the Band with keen interest as I’m sure it will go on to much greater things.’


On behalf of everyone at Friary, thank you Chris for all you’ve done to make the Band what it is today.  You’ve been a model bandsman, an example to us all.  We wish you all the very best for the future and hope to see you again soon.


A NEW HOME FOR FRIARY:

We are delighted to confirm that we are now established in our new home at Chertsey Hall. Many thanks to all the Band members who helped with the move. It’s great to be warm and dry when rehearsing again! We hope to be able to welcome you to a concert there before too long.


LEADING BANDS FORUM:

This is a new group established towards the end of last year. Friary was honoured to be invited to join and put forward the interests and views of bands in the London & Southern Counties region. Its mission statement is: ‘To seek to work with decision makers at all levels on areas of mutual benefit directly affecting the current and future promotion and development of major contests and events.’ Our hard-working secretary Lauren has added the role of forum representative to her many other Friary commitments: thank you!


Following the inaugural meeting, a spokesman commented: ‘The meeting, and the spirit in which it was held, felt like a real breath of fresh air. It was inspiring to have so many bands in attendance, but unlike a contest day when we are all locked in friendly rivalry, we were able to talk open-mindedly, honestly and collaboratively which gave a real sense of community, solidarity and togetherness between us all. We are very hopeful that our group can do much good in building a stronger future for banding,’ they concluded.


The other bands within the forum are: Aldbourne, Black Dyke, Brighouse & Rastrick, Carlton Main Frickley Colliery, Cory, EverReady, Flowers, Foden’s, Grimethorpe Colliery, GUS, Hammonds, Leyland, Rothwell, the cooperation band, Tredegar, WFEL Fairey, and Whitburn.


FORTHCOMING ENGAGEMENTS:

Our next engagement is another return event, an afternoon concert at Hartley Wintney this coming Sunday 4th February at 2.30pm. This is a very popular event but we understand there are still a few tickets available. To book, please go to ticketsource.co.uk or phone 01252 844876 (office Hours Mon-Wed 09:00-15:00 Thu-Fri 08:00-14:00).


RANKING NEWS:

The usual full ranking list at 4barsrest is still currently unavailable due to technical issues and when it will resume is uncertain. However, using the www.brassstats.com list, Friary is ranked 22nd in the world, 19th in the UK and 13th in England.

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