Welcome to Friary Diary issue 62 - a one page monthly round up of news about the Friary Brass Band.
BRASS BANDING HALTED:
Well, how the world has changed over the past month. Only four weeks ago Friary was looking forward to the Regional Championships, scheduled for 22nd March, and putting the final touches to the test piece. London & Southern Counties was to be the last in this year’s series of regional championships around Great Britain, but a week beforehand the Regional Committee decided, quite correctly in our view, that holding the event was not safe in the light of the Coronavirus outbreak. Shortly thereafter, Brass Bands England recommended that all band contests, concerts and rehearsals should cease until further notice, a bitter disappointment but completely understandable.
Kapitol Promotions, organisers of the National Finals in October, have agreed with the Regional Committee that, should the Finals take place, no bands will represent the Region: we shall have to wait and see what transpires during these exceptional times. Brass banding may have halted for the moment, but I am aiming to ensure that Friary Diary continues until our banding activities resume. Let’s hope that won’t be for too long.
DOING OUR BIT - SPECIAL OFFER:
To help offset the effects of self-isolation, Friary has a special offer for you, your family, friends and neighbours! It’s a well-known fact that music can have a positive influence on well-being, and so we are delighted to offer all our supporters, and anyone else they feel who would benefit from it, a FREE COPY OF OUR CD, Letter From Home. To take advantage of this offer, just let me know the name and address to whom the CD should be sent by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to me at 37 Pondtail Road, Fleet GU51 3JF. The Band will cover the cost of postage and packing, so it is COMPLETELY FREE.
The offer will run while stocks last, first come, first served! Please also rest assured that once the CD has been sent, unless the recipient is already on the Band’s database of supporters, their name and address will be deleted from our records, to comply with data protection requirements. We do hope that as many people as possible will take us up on this offer, to provide some entertainment at this time and help lift people’s spirits.
FOCUS ON... OUR CONTEST SECRETARY:
It’s an ill wind, as they say … the absence of other Band news does at least give me the opportunity to feature some more of the Friary players. This month it’s our hard-working Contest Secretary and First Baritone player, Alex Sears. Alex started playing tenor horn at the age of six. She was a member of Brighton Silver Band for over 10 years, playing everything from cornet to Eb bass before figuring out she did the least damage on baritone. She then spent four years with City of Birmingham Band whilst studying at Aston University.
On returning to the South East, Alex joined Alder Valley Brass and then spent time in Uckfield Concert Brass and Chichester City Band. She joined Friary in 2003 on Solo Horn and moved back to her favourite seat, First Baritone, in 2005. Alex has served as Friary Contest Secretary for most of this time and represents the Band to other banding organisations and contest organisers around the country. Alex was invited to join the executive committee of the Southern Counties Band Association (scaba) in 2011 and was appointed Secretary of the Association in 2015. She represented scaba on the London & Southern Counties Regional Committee for five years and will be a familiar face to many banders in the South East from her work at scaba and L&SC contests. Alex is also the administrator and a tutor for the Southern Counties Youth Band (SCYB). She loves working with the next generation of brass banders and is delighted that two former members of SCYB have now joined the Friary family.
Alex’s banding highlights include becoming the only baritone player to win 'Best Instrumentalist' in a scaba competition in 2008, and every time she steps on stage at the Royal Albert Hall and events like Brass in Concert as a member of the amazing Friary Brass Band.
Away from banding, Alex is married to a fellow bander, Paddy, and they are owned by a dog and a horse who has a talent for breaking her bones! Alex works for The Makaton Charity, coordinating training for people who use Makaton signing and symbols to support adults and children with communication difficulties and help give everyone a voice.