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Friary Diary - Issue 111 - May 2024

Welcome to Friary Diary issue 111 - a monthly round up of news about the Friary Brass Band.


Friary setting up for the performance  (photo:  Jenny Crossfield)

First of all, many thanks to everyone who came  along to our open rehearsal on 8th May: it was marvellous to have that level of interest and support and we appreciated it very much.

In previous years, 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 to follow   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.  Fellow adjudicator Morgan Griffiths also commented:  ‘It was a great performance from number one and stuck with us right to the very end of the contest.’  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.

‘It was a great performance from number one and stuck with us right to the very end of the contest.’ Adjudicator, Morgan Griffiths

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: congratulations to them all.


With our next contest not until the National Finals in October, we can now look forward to our summer concert season, which starts next month.   Originally scheduled for last year, our long-awaited joint concert with Surrey Brass will take place on Saturday 29th June at Christ Church, Waterden Road, Guildford GU1 2AZ.  Surrey Brass was founded in 2001 by John Goodwin and aims to develop the fine tradition of brass ensemble performance originated by the internationally famous Philip Jones Brass Ensemble.  It promises to be an evening of outstanding brass music, so please book your tickets early!  These are available from (£15;  concessions £10;  under 16s free;   small booking fees apply.)


And talking of the National Finals, tickets for the Championship Section at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 5th October go on sale this Friday 24th May at 10.00am, available from 


As at 1st May, in the table, Friary stands at 22nd in the world following the Regional Championships – no change from the previous month.  We eagerly await the update from both Brassstats and 4barsrest following the Spring Festival.



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