Blewbury Youth Brass returned last Friday 25th August, following its successful tour of Germany. Here are a few details and pictures:
Sunday 20th August
An early start for BYB, with the coach heading off from the band hut in Blewbury at 4:45am. Second baritone player, Natalie, was surprised by an impromptu 11th birthday celebration at a service station in Belgium.
The journey was very smooth and fast and we arrived in Boppard ahead of schedule and settled into the Bergschlossen Hotel.
Monday 21st August
After breakfast, we started the day with a rehearsal. Due to space restrictions, we used the veranda and were surprised to be joined by an enthusiastic group of fellow hotel guests who became the band’s greatest supporters.
We headed up to Cologne and enjoyed a day exploring the Lindt Chocolate Museum and visiting the Cathedral. This included the band climbing the 533 steps of the tower. We cooled off with a stop at the town’s water feature where some players engaged in some very energetic and soggy paddling.
Our evening meal at the Hard Rock Cafe became a party to celebrate David’s 12th birthday. The restaurant kindly supplied hats, streamers and party poppers to add to the festivities.
Tuesday 22nd August
The morning was spent exploring the fort at Ehrenbreitstein following an exciting cable car ride across the Rhein.
We then moved on to Bad Ems to prepare for our afternoon concert. The bandstand was sited in the shade of trees amongst some small bars and cafes beside the river. We were joined by Thea’s parents who had travelled out to hear the band!
Wednesday 23rd August
A drive to Rudesheim where we enjoyed some free time. Rudesheim proved a great town for ice-creams, chair lifts and sight-seeing.
The Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum was fascinating. It housed some of the oldest and most unusual mechanical instruments. We were mesmerised by the ingenuity of the machines.
We then headed to Bad Munster. Again, our coach driver got us there ahead of time and we were able to enjoy a leisurely afternoon in the town park. Many children ‘took the waters’ at the spa (not a pleasant experience!), explored the historic waterwheel and marvelled at the curious ‘haystacks’ which created a seaside atmosphere. Some children took part in a tense game of giant chess.
The evening concert was perhaps the musical highlight of the tour. We played under the arch of a very unusual raised bandstand to a large and appreciative audience.
Thursday 24th August
This was our day in Boppard. The children were given some freedom to explore the town. Attractions included the museum, the church, yet another chair lift and shopping in the town.
Some members of the band bumped into a group of pilgrims passing through the town. The group was led by a brass band who were delighted to show the children their European-style instruments and played ‘Trumpet Tune’ for them.
Our afternoon concert, again on the banks if the Rhein, was a delight. The children were relaxed and the soloists, in particular, excelled.
The evening entertainment included a fancy dress competition and our awards ceremony. Jamie was presented with the ‘good egg’ award for his tireless dedication to duty; Rachel was voted the ‘Players’ Player of the tour’; and Daniel received the musical director’s award for ‘Player of the Tour’.
Overall, the tour was a great success. The band played superbly. We loved Germany, its people and its culture. We were warmly welcomed wherever we went and were treated with kindness and respect. The children on tour were a delight. They all worked so hard and were a pleasure to be with. The staff were impressed with their good manners, willingness to comply with any requests, and their friendliness towards one other.