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Friary Diary - Issue 95 - January 2023

Welcome to Friary Diary issue 95 - a monthly round up of news about the Friary Brass Band.


Despite the competing attraction of a Royal Marines Band concert at nearby Basingstoke, the Victoria Hall, Hartley Wintney was well attended for Friary’s opening concert of 2023. As for its debut there last year, there was a warm welcome for the Band from an appreciative audience.

The programme featured some of the Brass in Concert set, as well as several new pieces added to the repertoire and others not played for a while. These included Tom Davoren’s Living Power, Giuseppe Verdi’s overture to The Force of Destiny, In Memoriam from George Lloyd’s Royal Parks Suite and George Allan’s march The Senator. Soloists Richard and Lauren Straker and Neil Wharton delivered excellent performances, as did the euphonium duo Chris Straker and Sam Noden.

Baba Yaga and the majestic Great Gate of Kiev from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition provided a rousing finale, before the encore, another new item, Midwest, a fast march (also known as a screamer!) by JJ Richards left everyone breathless (band and audience!) by its sheer pace.

Victoria Hall Chairman Edward Woods commented: " We had a superb afternoon concert at the halls with the amazing Friary Brass Band! A wonderful afternoon of entertainment was had by all - uplifting marches, moving solos - what a talented band! We hope to see them back again with us next year.” Friary Chairman Dave Wicks added: "We were delighted to return to Hartley Wintney and such an appreciative audience.”


Friary has entered the scaba Spring Contest on 5th March – a test piece and march – as this provides an ideal opportunity to run out the regional test piece a couple of weeks before the big day. The Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts on the University of Sussex campus at Falmer, Brighton will host the event which will take place in the afternoon, draw on the day.


Preparation is well under way on the regional test piece, Prof. Philip Wilby’s The Red Priest. Referring to Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi, the work was originally commissioned by Black Dyke Band for the 2010 European Championships and was chosen as the test piece for the following year’s British Open. The contest takes place on the afternoon of Sunday 19th March at the Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage. Needless to say, we are keen to regain the London & Southern Counties regional title and book our place for the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall again!


You may be aware that Amazon Smile – the scheme where Amazon made a small percentage-based donation to a charity of individual shoppers’ choice – is closing. If you participated in that scheme and the Band was your chosen charity then please accept our thanks for your support. We have registered Friary Brass Band with Easyfundraising as a suitable successor to Amazon Smile so if you would like to continue or indeed start supporting the Band at no cost to you please see details of how the scheme works at As a result of careful management over many years, Friary is fortunate in being financially strong, but as the saying goes, every little helps …


An update in early January so soon after the December one saw few overall changes in the top 30. For full ranking details, please go to



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