Hub Highlights

13 Sep 2018

Tour 2018

"What an absolute blast and a privilege", was what I was thinking as I drove down to be with my family in West Wales in early August. 


What was I thinking about?  Well, between 26 July and 2 August, I had the great pleasure of being part of a team from Shropshire Music Service which took just under 80 students on tour to the Harz region of Germany.


Drawing on youngsters from Shropshire Youth Orchestra, Shropshire Girls’ Choir, Shropshire Youth Wind Orchestra and Shropshire Youth Brass Band, we pulled together a truly eclectic and electric ensemble.  Some judicious reassigning of certain instrumental lines to others (for example, we had no oboes but a goodly number of saxophones) meant that our repertoire stretched from Adele to Mozart and the Sherman brothers to Sibelius.


Based at an excellent hostel in Wernigerode, we performed at a number of venues within easy reach, including a modern bandstand, a country park and an 800 seat concert hall.  Among the pieces performed by the full complement of players, a number of smaller ensembles from each instrumental/vocal section had featured spots.  The diverse repertoire included Karl Jenkin's ever-popular Adiemus (Girls’ Choir), the first movement of Gounod's Petite Symphonie (woodwind), a movement from Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (strings), the Fucik Florentiner March (brass) and Steve Reich's Clapping Music (percussion).


Aside of the concerts, the massed throng enjoyed a couple of sightseeing trips in Wernigerode and Goslar and an afternoon at a small water park.  A visit to the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp site proved to be a very moving experience for all concerned and led to much thoughtful discussion, not only about WW2 but also in relation to current international conflicts and politics.


Particular points that stick in the mind? Well, we were blessed with fantastic weather (often 35/36 degrees), Halberstadt Cathedral was a stunning building that was really inspirational to play in, all our audiences were really responsive (with some standing ovations along the way) and, of course, it was such a joy to work as part of a really fun staff team. 


Oh, and I nearly forgot, the students!  Along with my colleagues, we all considered it such a privilege to be among and perform with such a great body of students.  Their attitude and behaviour on tour was a credit to them and, of course, their music making was a real joy to be part of.


Bring on the next tour!

Mike Turner

Germany was amazing, absolutely amazing. I had the best time playing music with everyone involved (students and staff alike) at the fantastic venues we played at (especially the cathedral in Halberstadt… that was incredible). The accommodation was great, the food was lovely… basically everything about the place we stayed was fab! The various activities we did in between concerts were amazing too, for example the swimming centre at Brockenbad was great, the cable car up Bad Harzberg was amazing and visiting Dora concentration camp was also very thought provoking and very interesting… generally the entire thing was extremely relaxing (especially after college and secondary school for the younger years). I had a blast!

Kristian Blyth

As a parent it means a great deal that you can trust the organisation that is taking your child halfway around the world. Not only did we know that he would be safe but we also knew that he would grow as a person and return more confident.

There isn’t much that makes a teenager enthuse but we seriously couldn’t get a word in edgeways when he got home. Every experience he had was positive and the camaraderie that he experienced was amazing. He has formed many new friendships which have continued after the trip. The Cathedral concert will always stay with him and what a great opportunity to perform in such a venue. The concentration camp visit is also something that I don’t think will ever leave him, and taught him so much about what happened at that time.

Thank you for giving the students this experience your time and care are greatly appreciated.

Jill Blyth