Welcome to Friary Diary issue 48 - a one page monthly round up of news about the Friary Brass Band.
Once again, Friary was delighted to return to the Park Barn Centre, Guildford the first Sunday in December for the traditional pre-Christmas concert in aid of the British Heart Foundation. As usual, the Centre was packed to capacity, and the audience enthusiastic and in good voice to join in the carols. There was some visual help for the audience in The Twelve Days of Christmas with a ‘volunteer’ group drawn from the special guests (no names, no pack drill!) displaying pictures of the various daily gifts, although for some of the party involved, the need for some more practice was evident! It all added to the enjoyment of the afternoon though, and I’m sure everyone felt more Christmassy by the end of the concert. As ever we are immensely grateful to Chair of the Guildford & Godalming Branch of the BHF, Shirley West, for all her support for the Band, and for the sterling work which she and her Committee undertake on behalf of the Charity. The Band also made a welcome return for concerts at Teddington Baptist Church and Chobham Club, as well as playing carols and other seasonal music at The Meadows, Sandhurst and the Hog’s Back Brewery, Tongham.
BUTLINS MINEWORKERS FESTIVAL:
The New Year could hardly have started better for Friary with the Band’s fifth appearance at the Butlins
Mineworkers Festival, Skegness. The contest was spread over two days, with a choice of test piece on Saturday followed by the entertainment contest on Sunday. With the majority of bands selecting a slightly less challenging piece than Hector Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini, Friary was lagging in 6th place going into Sunday’s performance. The Saturday placings, however, are not disclosed until the end of the whole contest. But on Sunday, the Friary fairytale was unfurled, devised and written by Chris King and Nigel Stevens and narrated by the rich tones of Frank Renton … Once upon a time, in a land far away, young Princess Isobel (Daws) lacked for only one thing: love. Indeed, All You Need is Love. Her father, King Christoph (Chris King) invited musicians from across the land to play for her and try to win her heart, word being spread by the splendidly attired Town Crier (Nigel Stevens). Many suitors played For the Love of a Princess, but to no avail. To find solace,
Princess Isobel took to her trombone and gave a stunning performance of Thoughts of Love. But just as she was in despair, a lowly bass player Rossolini (Ross Graham) arrived and played Your Song. Princess Isobel was Princess Isobel and Rossolini smitten with true love and ready to celebrate: I Wanna Dance with Somebody. And of course they all lived happily ever after! The audience loved it – ‘More camp than Butlins,’ observed the British Bandsman magazine – and so did the adjudicators. An undisputed first place for the entertainment section as well as third for technique lifted Friary to second place overall for the weekend, the Band’s best result to date at the contest, and earned the Most Entertaining Band trophy for the third time in five years. And for Princess Isobel, as well as true love, there was also the well-deserved Best Soloist award. Special thanks go to Chris King for his excellent arrangements and to him and Nigel Stevens for the script.
Following the Butlins result, Friary has rocketed 10 places to an all-time high of 23rd in the World Rankings!