Welcome to Friary Diary issue 87 - a monthly round up of news about the Friary Brass Band.
With the heatwave, political changes, the Women’s Euros and the Commonwealth Games, the Platinum Jubilee seems a long time ago now, but several Friary players were involved in the Jubilee celebrations, albeit not under the Friary banner. Amongst those was Neil Wharton who is a trombonist and Drum Major of The Band of the RAF Regiment. Neil played the fanfare for the National Anthem for the Party at the Palace that was live on BBC. The following day he was part of a 300 strong marching contingent from the Royal Air Force taking part in the Jubilee Pageant Parade. “It was a great occasion,” said Neil, “although what people don’t see is the hours of waiting around that comes with it!”
Another player involved in the Pageant Parade was fellow RAF musician Sam Noden who has recently joined Friary on euphonium: read on for more about Sam.
Sam started playing tenor horn at the age of seven in his local primary school and at Oldham Music Centre. After playing tenor
horn for four years, Sam wanted to play the euphonium and changed as soon as he could. Having played for Oldham Music Centre Youth Brass Band, he realised that he wanted to move on and at the age of 14, joined Dobcross Youth Band on 2nd euphonium. This was an excellent opportunity and, having improved rapidly, was able to move to Dobcross Silver Band, the senior band at Dobcross on solo euphonium only two years later.
Over the two years he played at Dobcross Silver Band (2nd Section at the time), Sam achieved Grade 8 (Distinction), also playing solo euphonium in the Blue Coat School Band.
In September 2016, Sam started at the Royal Northern College of Music. “For the first few months at the College I didn't have a band and I was missing it,” explained Sam, “So I applied successfully for the solo euphonium seat at VBS Poynton.” Sam played there from 2017 – 2020 and over this time played at some of the best
contests at the highest level, notably winning the Senior Trophy in 2019.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sam decided to join the RAF as a Musician. Sam currently plays solo euphonium with the Band of the RAF Regiment. Moving to London meant moving band and Sam joined Regent Brass for a year before being asked down to Friary for the Grand Shield in 2022. Sam is looking forward to all the challenges that conductor, band, concerts and contests will bring. In his spare time, Sam enjoys to run and cycle.
“Joining a band such as Friary feels so special to me,” Sam commented. “Looking at results that the Band have had over the past few years, I know that the Band is one of the best, not only in London and Southern Counties, but also the rest of the country. I am looking forward to all the challenges that will come and hope that we can keep progressing as an ensemble. I would like to thank Chris King for giving me the opportunity and also all the rest of the Band for the warm welcome,” he concluded.
As well as performing in the Platinum Jubilee Pageant Parade, during his time with RAF Music, Sam has also had the pleasure of playing at many high-profile events including the Changing of the Guard, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral and Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph. Welcome, Sam!
Rankings were updated in June, when despite the good result at Blackpool, Friary was overtaken and pushed five places lower: the Band is now 27th in the world. For full ranking details, please go to https://www.4barsrest.com/rankings/