Welcome to Friary Diary issue 70 - a review of Friary Brass Band’s activities during 2020
The Band held its customary annual Awards Night Dinner with the following awards were presented:
Best player: Chris Straker (euphonium); Most improved player: Mike Jefferies (percussion)
Section of the year: Cornets; Bandsman of the year: David Wicks (Band Manager; cornet)
Best attendance: Adam Gregory (bass trombone)
Guests of honour at the Awards Night were long-serving former Friary players Roland Knight (trombone) and Duncan Ford (Eb bass) who both left the Band in 2019 and who were made Vice Presidents of the Band.
Later that month, a team of six from the Band won the All Saints’ Woodham fundraising quiz.
February saw our only concert of the year, a popular return to Ash for the local Rotary Club’s charity event. It raised £1,375 for Surrey Search & Rescue, a voluntary specialist search team which assists the emergency services find missing vulnerable adults and children. Little did we know then that it was to be our one and only public appearance in 2020.
Just as Friary was preparing to defend the Regional Championship title and set a regional record for consecutive wins, the pandemic started to take hold. The contest was due to take place the weekend before lockdown was announced, but by then it was clear that a mass gathering of brass bands, playing and socialising was not sensible and the Friary management team decided that the Band would not take part. In the event the contest was cancelled and all banding ground to a halt, well all live banding that is, because …
… saw the release of Friary’s first ‘lockdown video’, I Wanna Dance with Somebody. To watch it again, please go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz6cC-KtxLM
The Band kept busy by producing the second video, Your Song. To watch it again, please go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fu__RhMUqF0&list=RDFu__RhMUqF0&start_radio=1
Simon Persin represented Friary at a much-reduced ceremony in Guildford to mark Armed Forces Day.
Friary’s two lockdown videos helped a Crowthorne-based charity, Sebastian’s Action Trust’s ‘Christmas in July’ virtual party go with a swing.
Simon Persin again represented Friary at Guildford’s commemoration of VJ Day.
We released our third lockdown video, You’ll Never Walk Alone, in conjunction with the Guildford-based Vivace Chorus. To view this one again, please go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kvrH7RcBIE&feature=youtu.be The Band’s weekly virtual gatherings continued, and in place of a quiz, we were delighted to have a couple of talks by Professor Stephen Allen of Rider University, New Jersey. Succinctly described by Friary Chairman Nigel Stevens as ‘a man who is to brass band history what Mary Berry is to baking’, he enthralled the Band with his knowledge of banding and anecdotes.
Usual Remembrance Day ceremonies were pared down to a minimum, but Friary provided recordings of The Last Post and Reveille and the National Anthem to Ash Parish Council and Nimrod to Guildford Borough Council.
We also announced our collaboration with talented musician Callum Au who has provided some wonderful new arrangements which we are looking forward to playing once we can get back together.
Our involvement with Sebastian’s Action Trust charity continued with a recording from a few years ago of A Troika – Tidy! which was included in the music for their virtual Christmas party. If you’re in need of some original brass music to put you in a Christmassy mood, take a look at it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGUp3VaQhyY - picture the horses’ breath as they neigh in the cold air, and hear the crunch of the snow as the sleigh rushes through the pine forest!
And if you’d like some top quality festive trombone playing, look up Bone-afide on YouTube: they’re a trombone quartet which includes Isobel Daws.
We are also excited to announce that Friary is entering the next Cory Band virtual contest, to be screened in March. Individual recordings have commenced though have just been interrupted by the latest restrictions, so we are desperately hoping that all can go ahead in time.
As far as rankings are concerned, with no further updates since April, Friary remains 23rd in the world. For full ranking details, please go to https://www.4barsrest.com/rankings/
So that is 2020 in a nutshell. To paraphrase a small part of the popular Christmas carol:
On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: three videos, two civic solo appearances, one concert, and no contests. But actually there’s much more than that, because the Friary family is still together, virtually if not playing together. It has certainly been a year to remember, if not necessarily for the right reasons.
In closing, on behalf of the Friary Brass Band I wish you all a peaceful Christmas, and a happy and above all a healthy New Year. Until then, thank you as always for your interest and support. We really hope to see you again before too long.