Friary Guildford Band kicked off their 2014 contest season at Yeovil yesterday with a ‘Wicked Brass’ themed programme for the annual entertainment contest. Their programme opener, Michael Jackson’s Thriller immediately had the audience tapping their feet, and this was followed by a first public performance of Musical Director Chris King’s arrangement of Cathedrals, an intriguing homage to the Italian Renaissance composer Giovanni Gabrieli, and a contrasting blend of ancient and modern. Baritone and cornet solos by Alex Stevens and Richard Straker then enthralled the audience in the Witch of the Westmerlands, before Richard took centre stage again in a dazzling performance of Defying Gravity from the West End show, Wicked, aided by Hannah Mitchell and Simon Tong. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, with a short reprise of Thriller, rounded off the programme to an enthusiastic reception. The Band’s 6th placing was something of a disappointment after last year’s runners-up slot, but there was a strong field, all keen for silverware. Gloucester-based Flowers Band hit the top notes for the third year running with the adjudicator John Maines.