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Hyde Band visit to Braunfels, Germany

In June this year the band visited the Braunfels wine festival for several concerts (well, it seemed a good reason for us!).

Please read Pete Jung's summary...

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Hyde Band’s visit to Braunfels, Germany

Thursday 21st June dawned bright and clear for us at 6.00am, as we waited- and waited- for our coach to arrive. After a lengthy and somewhat eventful journey via the Dover-Calais Ferry, we arrived in the late evening at our hotel in Braunfels, to be greeted warmly by our host, Uwe Schonwetter. Any frustration from the trip was soon alleviated with fast flowing Pilsner! Uwe – you were a saviour!

HIEJ1397Friday morning was spent getting to know our surroundings- the small town of Braunfels resembles a film set, with half-timbered buildings nestling round the cobbled market place, coffee shops selling the best cakes and pastries you can imagine, all overlooked by a fairy-tale castle set high above on the hill top. A short drive took us to the nearby town of Wetzlar, where, after an enormous meal – and several Pilsners - at the Paulaner tavern, we rehearsed several joint numbers with the Chorwerkstatt (the local choir) led by their Director, Erwin Gruner. The evening outdoor concert (to raise funds for the Wetzlar Youth Orchestra, twinned with a similar group in Colchester, England) was very enjoyable and well-received by the audience who showed their appreciation with many standing ovations. The setting was marvellous in what can only be described as a large courtyard where the sound of the band resonated beautifully. The evening ending with speeches and a presentation of gifts to the band.

The following day, we were given a tour of Schloss Braunfels (the castle), followed by ice cream in the Market square! The holiday atmosphere continued in the afternoon as we played at the Winefest. This was the second time a British brass band has played at Braunfels (the last one being Downton in 1982!) to the apparent delight of the assembled crowd. Saturday ended in the Turm pub with the now obligatory enormous meal, Pilsners and Schnapps, followed by more ‘refreshments’ and some exhibitionist dancing at the Winefest.

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Sunday promised to be a musical marathon, with two lengthy sets at the Winefest in the afternoon. Our soloists, Jack on cornet, Martin on flugelhorn and Steve on euphonium wowed the crowds, and the band was once again given a rapturous reception by the audience. Then a trip to the local brewery- Brauhaus Obermuhle- for yet another delicious meal, Pilsners, schnapps…..

We arrived home the following evening (after yet another interesting/infuriating coach trip, this time via the Channel tunnel) very tired but very happy. Our short visit had brought new German friends- the choir in Wetzlar and our superb hosts at Parkhotel Furstenhof in Braunfels. Our sincere thanks go to the members of Shrewton band who joined us, not only for their playing contribution, but also their great company; to the band ‘groupies’ the friends and families who came along and gave us moral and practical support; and also to Sonja Hanerbaun for joining us on soprano cornet at such short notice. We hope to return to Germany in the future!

Thanks must also go to the respective conductors Uwe Gruner and Jonathan Lush-Camps for putting in the hours getting the joint and individual music so well prepared. To my father Karl for helping me to put this trip together. Uwe for being such a fantastic host in his lovely hotel and of course Ron the coach driver who kept us entertained throughout with his own brand of humour!

This trip brought the band closer together and play as a team which was also my aim as well as having a fantastically good time which I know we all did!

Pete Jung

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