As it turned out, Valentine’s Day was an entirely appropriate occasion for Friary Guildford Band couple Lauren and Richard Straker to play in the Southern Counties Amateur Bands’ Association Solo and Duet contest at Burgess Hill. Playing Pleasant Moments, they took first prize in the Duet class, impressing adjudicator John Winterflood with the clarity and expression of their performance. Flugel horn player Lauren was delighted with their joint success: ‘This was the first time the contest has included a duet class, so it was a new experience for us. For the sake of domestic harmony, I’m glad we both played well, especially as it was Valentine’s Day!’
Principal cornet player Richard then went on to take top honours in both the Slow Melody and Air Varie Open classes, pipping his younger brother Chris (Friary’s principal euphonium player) who took second prize for the Air Varie, a repeat of last year’s result. This is the sixth year running that Friary Guildford players have topped the podium in the Open classes. The event attracts players from across London, Essex and the Southern Counties.