Holland Trip

21st October 1988 - 29th October 1988

The members of the Manx Youth Band have now returned from their trip to Holland and Germany. Their exploits have left them wiser about banding in the big wide world which we hope will stand them in good stead for the future.

The contests themselves were not quite as we had expected, particularly the entertainment section which proved to be an absolute lottery with four different types of bands taking part. These represented brass, wind, swing and jazz and to compare their relative entertainment value must have been extremely difficult.

I think it is fair to say that few were surprised that the Northern Youth Brass Band won both the brass section and also the entertainment. While doing some P.R. work for the IOM Brass Band Festival we discovered that the Northern Youth Band was a group of the top young musicians in the heartland of the banding world, most of whom play in championship section bands so could not register and play in a contest like our own. Most of the bands expressed a little disquiet at the way the whole event was handled but any disappointment that the Manx Youth Band had was quickly put aside and the party set about enjoying the rest of the festivities.

Even prior to the contest we had enjoyed two very different visits, one to a Safari Park near Hilvanbeek when some of the younger girl members of the party kept us highly amused by their special commentary of the coach trip through the Park. We then moved on to Eindhoven to visit the amazing Evoluon Centre. This is a futuristic building full of every conceivable type of technological wonder which is run by the huge Phillips company.

An excellent quiz about the exhibits was painstakingly arranged by Ian Clague resulting in a win for Paul Turner. Early starts were definitely the order of the day, the distances to be travelled making this essential. On the Wednesday and Thursday we crossed the border in to Germany to firstly visit the house where Beethoven was born and Phantasialand, followed on the second day by a sail up the Rhine from Konigswinter and a short drive to Bad Neuenahr where the band played a concert in a local park.

We were a little disappointed that Beethoven was not at home to greet us but we had a good look around his rather tiny house before we set off once again for the Phantasialand Park near Bruhl. To many this was the highlight of the trip with the most amazing collection of roller-coasters, water-chutes, ride back in to the past and perhaps most hairaising of all, a space centre which turned out to be a giant roller-coaster in an enormous pitch black hall with laser beams flashing across your vision and the screams of excitement, or was it terrified, travellers we clear for all to hear.

This was a great afternoon which was enjoyed by all. Another longish coach journey brought us to the beautiful town of Konigswinter where, after yet more shopping, we boarded the M.V. Duachenfels for the voyage to Remagen further up the river Rhine and where our driver was awaiting us for the journey to Bad Neuenahr. In this most beautiful of towns the band played an excellent concert in the Kurpark, a large open area and parkland within the town and containing a magnificent concert hall in which the band entertained a large and most appreciative audience, as much as that they over ran and made us late back for our evening meal, though our hotel was very good about it.

Most evenings were filled with walkabouts, the very occasional pint of beer, discos and visits to the local ten-pin bowling alley when most of us tried our hands for the very first time, much to the amusement of everyone. All too soon it was time to leave Valkenburg for the last time and set off for home. Everyone had a great, if rather tiring time and a few thank yous must be said. Within the party, the bulk of the worry and headache was carried by Jane Creer, Steve Garrett and Liz Skinner who did an excellent job of looking after us all. Our coach driver Andy was of the utmost help and managed to transport us to our various destinations safely and in good humour.

The greatest surprise of the tour was when, on arrival in Valkenburg our Chairman, Doug Quirk, and our President, Jack Whitmore were waiting to greet us at our hotel. No-one in our group had any idea that these two fine gentlemen were planning to be there, but we were all delighted to see them and thank them for all the trouble and expense they went to to support the Band in this way.

Finally, can we thank Trevor Austin of Rosehill Instruments for laying on a superb meal in his home town of Beaconsfield on our way South on the Friday evening and for working so late and hard to carry out repairs to the instruments while we ate our meal. Thanks to everyone involved, the trip was most enjoyable and will be remembered for many years by all of us fortunate enough to have been in the party.

M. Magee
Press Officer