Last Saturday saw Friary Guildford - along with 19 other top bands from England, Scotland and Wales - return to London's Royal Albert Hall for the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain for the fourth consecutive year. And for Friary, 2016 proved to be a very happy return for the Band.
The day started with the all important draw for the order of play. Drawn 10th appeared
good … other than at draw no. 9 were the world’s undisputed top band, Cory, who have swept all
before them over the past 12 months. Undaunted by Cory’s stunning – and as it turned out, winning - performance, Friary tackled Simon Dobson's Journey of the Lone Wolf with aplomb, especially the soloists who did the Band proud and drew favourable comments from the three adjudicators Luc Vertommen, Allan Withington and Phillip McCann, including: ‘Controlled performance by a top band … Great sound – great soloists.’
After declaration of the top six placings and presentation of the prizes for the top three, the
usual tense wait for the remaining placings followed. Although on the face of it 12th place may not appear such a great cause for celebration, 8 of the 11 higher placed bands are
ranked in the top 10 worldwide. Friary Guildford is currently ranked 36th in the world (Band Supplies World Rankings in association with 4barsrest.com and British Bandsman).
12th place in the National Finals is a superb achievement for Friary Guildford, and one which reflects the huge commitment of Musical Director Chris King and all the players. ‘It’s a fantastic result for the Band,’ said Chris King, ‘I’m immensely proud of them all and delighted their efforts have been rewarded.’
Interestingly, the top three placed bands were, in descending order: Cory, Fairey, and Brighouse & Rastrick, with all of whom Friary Guildford Band has performed over the past year. Maybe some of their magic has rubbed off? Congratulations to our friends at Cory, who have ensured their trophy cabinet remains full.