Welcome to Friary Diary issue 44 - a one page monthly round up of news about the Friary Guildford Brass Band.
Last month Friary returned to College Garden, a beautifully tranquil setting (apart from the occasional siren) amid the bustle of Westminster, for a very well-attended lunchtime concert. A widely varied programme – from The Magic Flute overture to Mission Impossible – featured soloists Richard Straker (cornet) Before the Cross; Isobel Daws (trombone) Thoughts of Love; Chris Straker (euphonium) with a somewhat unseasonal A Troika? Tidy!; and Adam Gregory (bass trombone) Ory’s Creole Trombone. As is customary, the concert concluded with the National Anthem.
RUISLIP LIONS CONCERT:
There were Union Jacks a-plenty and a full house at the Winston Churchill Theatre, Ruislip for Last Night of the Proms concert, organised by the local Lions Club who had whipped up the audience into a frenzy of flag waving, a terrific atmosphere. And Friary, together with the wonderfully versatile singer Ruth Fortey did not disappoint. One audience member enthused: ‘I attended the concert with my grandson (13) who enjoys classical music. I must admit to having slight reservations with the proms concert being performed by a brass band. HOW WRONG I WAS. What a fantastic performance, we were blown away. I watched the last night of the proms on the tv and was quite disappointed, a full professional orchestra could not compete with the performance at the Winston Churchill hall.’ And from my own perspective, it was one of Friary’s best concerts I’ve attended, too. Aside from the traditional Last Night items, perhaps the most entertaining piece was the Post Horn Gallop, featuring Richard Straker on … post horn, and Simon Persin favouring some non-brass instruments, including a funnel, watering can and even a toilet bowl on the end of a hose: surprising tuneful!
It was a rather more sedate atmosphere the following afternoon at Stroud Subscription Rooms, where Friary had been invited to perform as part of their brass concert programme, alongside bands such as Fairey, Flowers and Virtuosi GUS. Phlilp Wilby's timeless Paganini Variations featured on the programme, and acknowledging the location, Gordon Langford’s West Country Fantasy.
… to our hard-working Contest Secretary and baritone player, Alex Stevens who married Paddy Sears recently. Paddy plays for Aveley & Newham and also assists Alex with her scaba secretarial duties. Not surprisingly, there were players from at least ten bands in attendance! We wish Alex and Paddy every happiness together.
It’s that time of year again: National Finals next Saturday at the Royal Albert Hall, test piece Handel in the Band by Winchester-based Kenneth Downie – wish us luck, please!