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Friary Diary - Issue 79 - October 2021

Welcome to Friary Diary issue 79 - a monthly round up of news about the Friary Brass Band.


After the disappointment of having to postpone our concert at Wood Street, we are looking forward to our next engagement on Saturday week (13th) at Woking Salvation Army. There’s a varied programme with some old favourites and some brand new pieces: something for everyone. To ensure Covid safety, ticket numbers are limited and must be booked in advance: there will be no ‘on the door’ ticket sales on this occasion. Tickets are £10 or £7 for over 60's. Under 16s free. To book, contact: 01483 761951 or email We hope to see you there.


You’ll see that our diary is filling up with more engagements. We have three new concert venues to look forward to: The Hog’s Back Brewery (a full carol concert this year); Hartley Wintney, and The Hawth, Crawley. Thanks to a determined approach by our hard-working Secretary Lauren, Friary has secured a place in their prestigious brass concert season next autumn.


Apart from preparing for our Woking concert, rehearsals are now focused on our return to The Sage, Gateshead, Friary having been again invited to take part in what is widely regarded as the world’s premier entertainment contest, Brass in Concert. When the contest was last held, in November 2019, Friary took the Audience Entertainment Award, voted by the audience, with soloist Isobel Daws taking the Don Lusher Trombone Award. Other than the fact that Friary has been drawn as the final band to play out of the 10 participating, secrecy prevents me from giving any details about Friary’s entry. All will be revealed next month! We will be aiming to improve on our 7th place in2019, and also at least retaining the two awards.


This month it’s the turn of another Friary stalwart, long-serving cornet player Richard Marley. Many thanks for being my ‘interviewee’, Richard.

Do you come from a musical family - if so, what did they play?

Totally non-musical, the closest my parents came to playing was my Mum, Jean, who played a tambourine in the Salvation Army when young.

When did you first start playing a brass instrument and what was it?

About 8, I was always getting bouts of bronchitis, the doc suggested I join the local band (only in Yorkshire would this be suggested!). They had a free tenor horn so that was it, my destiny awaited.

If that wasn’t cornet, when did you switch?

Actually the switch to Bb wasn’t made until about 10 years ago, first I was given the dubious pleasure of switching to soprano 10 years before that.

Have you continued playing since then?

Since switching to cornet, no break apart from small gaps.

What bands have you played for regularly?

My hometown band was Knottingley Silver Prize Band; Wakefield Schools Band (now Wakefield Met); Oxted Band after Uni, conducted by Bill Geldard; Reading Spring Gardens after a long break; St Sebastians, and finally Friary.

What do you particularly like about playing with Friary?

It’s a good challenge trying to keep up with the young Turks! Being able to contribute to the overall sound of the band and what a sound!

Do you play or have you played any other instruments apart from Cornet?

No 😊

What’s your most memorable banding moment?

It must be walking onto the Royal Albert Hall stage in 2013 and the sound of the applause afterwards, fantastic! We had an early draw and my family were on the train from Yorkshire to see me. They just made it!

What would you most like to achieve in the banding world?

Getting to the British Open would be the icing on a very tasty cake.

Are you involved with any other types of music?

No! I’m a monocultured bander.

Apart from brass, what other genres of music do you enjoy?

Early days were filled with Prog Rock and 70s glam, hideously fantastic! I was introduced to Rachmaninov’s 2nd Symphony and William Walton’s 1st in my teens and was changed forever. I don’t actually like listening to brass music that much and would much rather listen to late romantic and 20th century orchestral works.

If you were cast away on a desert island, what would be your top three music pieces you’d like to listen to - and why?

Brass Band:

  1. Spectrum: The shock of the chords and colours created in this writing by Vintner was a revelation 50 years ago when I first played it.

  2. Plantagenets: Similar reason to Spectrum, what writing. Music that just stays with you.

  3. Frogs of Aristophanes: Worked on this piece with Knottingley for Bellevue/Grand Shield in 1976, my first contest, winners were Tredegar, nothing changes.

Non Brass Band:

  1. Mahler’s 2nd Symphony. Do I really need to say why?

  2. William Walton’s 1st Symphony. Energy, Englishness and first love.

  3. Child in time. Deep Purple. Ian Gillan Band did it at a Uni gig in ’78.

Classic Prog.


Updates have resumed: as at 13th October, Friary is 25th in the world. For full ranking details, please go to

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