The near capacity audience at Friary’s 40th anniversary concert at Woking’s Trinity Methodist Church on Saturday were treated to a stirring feast of music, ranging from popular classics by Borodin and Bach to top hits by Lionel Ritchie and Whitney Houston.
Guest soloist, Brighouse & Rastrick principal cornet Tom Smith produced a stunning performance of Carnival of Venice, and was then joined by Lauren Straker on flugel for a moving rendition of Piazzolla’s Oblivion. After the interval, Tom showed again his versatility with a convincing performance of Leonard Ballantine’s Don’t Doubt Him Now, followed by a dazzling duet of Peter Graham’s Quicksilver with Friary principal Richard Straker.
Opening the second half with real pizzazz, the Lionel Ritchie favourite All Night Long featured the exciting sight and sound of four mellophoniums, guaranteed to get everyone’s feet tapping. Other programme highlights included William Himes’ Procession to Covenant and Darrol Barry’s A Salford Sinfonietta, as well as a couple of new commissions to be included in Friary’s Brass in Concert set.
Previous MD Chris King returned to conduct three items, including the Friary anthem, I Wanna Dance with Somebody, and was presented with a glass plaque recognising his contribution toward
s the Band’s significant progress during his tenure. A similar presentation was made to the evening’s compere, former Friary euphonium player and a long-standing member of the management team, Mike Trumble.
Rounding off the celebration, Ray Farr’s exhilarating arrangement of the Bach Toccata in D minor was a fitting encore, raising the roof much to the audience’s delight.
"This was an evening to savour, a perfect way to mark the Band’s 40th anniversary in style. We are deeply grateful to Tom Smith for being our guest soloist, and to Chris King for returning to conduct part of the programme, alongside our current MD Nigel Taken"
Band Chairman David Wicks commented: ‘This was an evening to savour, a perfect way to mark the Band’s 40th anniversary in style. We are deeply grateful to Tom Smith for being our guest soloist, and to Chris King for returning to conduct part of the programme, alongside our current MD Nigel Taken.’ ‘We were also honoured with the presence of the Mayor and Mayoress of Woking: I understand this was their first experience of a brass band concert and I think we made lasting impression,’ he concluded.