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Friary Diary - Issue 96 - February 2023

Welcome to Friary Diary issue 96 - a monthly round up of news about the Friary Brass Band.

SCABA Spring Contest:

Friary took the honours at the Southern Counties Amateur Bands Association (scaba) Spring Contest held the Sunday before last at the University of Sussex, an encouraging start to the Band’s contest season. Friary took first place for both the march and the test piece, with Chris Straker taking the award for Outstanding Euphonium. The Band chose to play Shipley Douglas’ classic march Mephistopheles (as featured on the CD Letter from Home) and run out the Regional Championship test piece, Philip Wilby’s The Red Priest. Referring to Antonio Vivaldi, the test piece was originally commissioned by Black Dyke for the 2010 European Championships and was subsequently used the following year for the British Open.

Adjudicator Alan Duguid was impressed: “Overall a performance of real merit with so much to enjoy and admire, particularly in attention to dynamic and stylistic detail with an extremely persuasive reading.”

Friary Chairman Dave Wicks was pleased with the result: "This was a really useful opportunity to perform the test piece in public ahead of the Regional Championship and gain an adjudicator’s feedback. We are very grateful to scaba for organising the event.” Egham and St. Sebastian’s bands took second and third place respectively: congratulations to them.


Final preparations continue on The Red Priest. 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!


As you will see from the logo in the top right hand corner, Friary celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, so we are planning a special anniversary concert later in the year, either 23rd or 30th September. We’ll keep you informed of our plans.


There have been no further updates since early January so Friary remains 26th in the world. For full ranking details, please go to There is likely to be a further update once the round of regional championships concludes this coming weekend.



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