Friary Guildford Band kicked off their contest season in fine form at Yeovil on Saturday with a performance which wowed the adjudicator and turned the form book on its head. Second to odds-on favourites and defending champions Flowers, the Band pulled off their American-themed programme in superb style, leaving much-fancied West Country opposition trailing in their wake. Opening their programme with the classic march 76 Trombones, arranged by Musical Director Chris King, they then showed their musical finesse with the overture to Leonard Bernstein’s Candide. Principal cornet Richard Straker took centre stage with the solo Saturday Serenade, from Philip Sparke’s Manhattan cornet concerto, which was followed by Sing, Sang, Sung. The stunning performance concluded with the rousing An American Tale by Dan Price, with moving narration about the American Civil War by band newcomer Mike Trumble. Adjudicator Chris Davis summed up the programme as ‘innovative and well-executed’. Band Secretary Lauren Cave was delighted with the result. ‘We put so much hard work into the programme, it’s fantastic to perform so well in such a strong field. We’re going to celebrate our success – but only briefly! Tomorrow we knuckle down to our preparations for the Regional Championships at Stevenage on 17th March. This result will give us such a boost, as we are hoping to qualify for the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall, having missed out by one place last year,’ she added.