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Friary Diary - Issue 88 - July 2022

Welcome to Friary Diary issue 88 - a monthly round up of news about the Friary Brass Band.


Friary players’ involvement in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations was partly covered in last month’s issue. Last but certainly not least was cornet player Simon Persin. Simon sounded a specially commissioned bugle call ‘Majesty’ at Guildford Cathedral in front of a packed congregation. The bugle call formed part of the nationally co-ordinated beacon lighting ceremony, although the beacon itself was lit on The Mount, away from the cathedral. With the pressure on timing, the large crowd, the temperature dropping, and some ‘optional’ high notes, Simon admitted that it was a somewhat nerve-wracking experience – not helped by a BBC Radio Surrey reporter asking him beforehand if he was nervous playing to large audiences! Nevertheless, the piece went perfectly – even the ‘optional’ high notes. Congratulations to Simon, who, having booked a short family break in the New Forest for the extended Bank Holiday weekend, had a round trip of some three hours for around 15 seconds of playing. “I’m sure the Queen appreciated it though,” quipped Simon.


Simon was in action again later in the month as the bugler for Guildford’s Armed Forces Day ceremony, joined by representatives of the military, the newly appointed Chief Executive of the Council and a representative of the clergy. After a brief welcome and heart-felt message of thanks from the clergyman, a note perfect performance from Simon resounding powerfully off the High Street's buildings completed the flag-raising ceremony. A change from the usual format was a call for those attending to sing a verse of the National Anthem. “Had they mentioned this beforehand, I’d have played it on the cornet,” commented Simon. “It might have made the experience less uncomfortable than having to sing unaccompanied!” Thank you and well done again, Simon.


We are delighted to announce that former RAF Central Band bass player David Stokes has landed at Friary. David is a highly experienced tuba player who has played with a number of leading bands in the Midlands, London and South of England. His musical roots are with The Salvation Army and he was for many years a member of the renowned Chalk Farm Band. Upon leaving full time education he joined Royal Air Force Music Services and was a member of the Royal Air Force Central Band for 12 years. During this time he travelled the world on playing tours to such places as the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, Scandinavia and most countries in Western Europe.

On one memorable occasion he was with the Central Band in Jordan and found himself, along with his colleagues, in a broken-down bus in the middle of the desert waiting for rescue whilst a flock of vultures circled overhead! Closer to home, David has been a member of Rigid Containers Group Band, William Davis Construction Group Band, Redbridge Brass and First City Brass. He is an Associate of the Royal College of Music, Fellow of the London College of Music and has a B Ed in Music Education. "I'm delighted to be joining Friary Brass Band and have appreciated the warm welcome extended to me. I look forward to making a contribution towards Friary's continuing development and its quest to be the best it can be."


This Saturday sees Friary return to the concert stage, at Godalming bandstand in Philips Memorial Park Gardens, sharing the programme with the Rock Choir. Starting at 5.00pm, Rock Choir will perform the first half, with Friary playing the second half after a brief interval. The concert will conclude with some typical prom pieces, finishing around 6.45pm. In the event of poor weather, the concert will be held in Godalming Parish Church which is adjacent to the park gardens. We hope to see you there: it’s a free concert, but best to bring a chair, maybe a picnic too!


With no update since June, Friary remains 27th in the world. For full ranking details, please go to



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