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Friary spreads the Christmas Spirit



Friary has been busy this month spreading the Christmas spirit. The Hog’s Back brewery, Tongham provided both atmosphere and refreshment to ensure the audience was in fine voice for joining in the carols at an informal afternoon concert on 3 rd December.


Last Saturday saw the Band return to another familiar venue, Teddington Baptist Church. Here again the audience was treated to Christmas fare, including arrangements of well-loved seasonal music by Paul Lovatt-Cooper, Sandy Smith and Stephen Bulla, as well as the opportunity to join in carols. Interspersed in the programme were two of the new commissions which formed part of Friary’s Brass in Concert set, Simon Dobson’s Cromarty, a tranquil flugel solo sensitively played by Lauren Straker, and the clever medley of nursery rhymes, Thames, from the pen of Callum Au. Lauren also joined husband Richard for an entrancing performance of Astor Piazzolla’s Oblivion. Chris Straker on euphonium completed the family line-up with the Christmas favourite, O Holy Night.


Concluding the programme, a rapid rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas with somewhat breathless audience participation was followed by Ray Farr’s stirring arrangement of Bach’s Toccata in D minor, sending everyone home full of Christmas joy.


And for many of the Band players, there was little respite on Sunday. Four hours of carolling at The Meadows shopping centre, Sandhurst raised some £380 which will be divided equally between Band funds, the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust, and locally-based charity Sebastian’s Action Trust which supports seriously ill children and their families.


‘This year has seen many changes for Friary, so it was a real delight for our final performances of 2023 to be centred around the constant of Christmas.’

Band Chairman David Wicks commented: ‘This year has seen many changes for Friary, so it was a real delight for our final performances of 2023 to be centred around the constant of Christmas.’

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