Friary Guildford Band made their annual pilgrimage up the M6 to Blackpool last weekend to take part in the Spring Festival. A year ago, the Band won the Senior Trophy and with it, promotion to the Senior Cup contest. The aim was a top four place, to gain further promotion to the Grand Shield, the gateway to the British Open.
The test piece was Eric Ball’s Festival Music, written in the style of Mozart, though adjudicator Steve Sykes commented that some interpretations were more like Wagner. His fellow adjudicator Paul Holland also observed that the second (Romance) movement played by some bands sounded as if they were looking for ‘Romance’ at a stag or hen party. Fortunately such dry wit comments did not apply to Friary who were awarded third place, and with it, the coveted entry to next year’s Grand Shield contest.
Contest Secretary, Alex Stevens was delighted with the result: ‘Festival Music is a challenge, and our Musical Director Chris King’s interpretation was spot on. We coped well with the playing technicalities, and despite having an early draw (2nd), our performance held good with the judges throughout the day. It’s another long held ambition achieved – to reach the Grand Shield – and next year we’ll have our sights firmly set on qualifying for the British Open.’
Following their recent run of contest successes, Friary Guildford have now risen to 35th in the World Rankings (courtesy of www.4barsrest.com).