the bbsa western cape's report on tour through germany from 19 april to 13 may 1997
1. Introduction

After three years of preparation, commitment and determination our group of thirty members left Cape Town Airport on a Lufthansa 747 - 400 aircraft Friday 18 April 1997 at 17h50. During the ten hours flight the excitement and expectation could not be contained. Some of us had already experienced air travel, while the majority traveled for the first time beyond the African continent. At half past six the Saturday morning 19 April 1997 we landed at Frankfurt Airport where Helmut Buck and his assistants welcomed us warmly and directed us straight away to the four combi buses.

2. Concerts, income, music, venues

The reception in Darmstadt organized by Dr. Klaus Fette and rev. Klaus Stolze reassured us that the long flight was not in vain. After short morning devotion we could move the homes of our respective hosts and hostesses in order to get rid of the jet lag and also to reorient ourselves for the first concert in the Darmstadt Arheiligen at 20h00. Even our newly found brass custodian from Hannover, Günter Marstatt, came to attend our evening of brass. In spite of the exhaustion we presented our musical pieces in such a way that the local newspaper reported favorably. There was no rest for the weary because we had to be ready for the next concert in Reinheim on Sunday 20.04.97 again at 20h00.

From the very first night our performances, our speeches, our discipline and polished approach amazed the members of the audience. Those who attended our concerts at Lützel-Wiebelsbach, Liedolsheim, Fulda, Dresden, Metzingen, Essingen, Backnang and Hülben were all mesmerized and surprised by our deft fingering and exquisite brass sound. After the evening bell-ringing we usually kicked off with a short fanfare by Elgar Howarth and then with the Fantasia by Michel Laurent. A piece that demanded audience participation was undoubtedly the evergreen composition by Helmut Lammel, He’s got the whole world in His Hands. However, the pieces that really seduced and revitalized the listeners were the traditional compositions of African origin, namely Masithi, Gabi Gabi, Ntsikana’s Great Hymn, Shosholoza, Senzinina. Give a thought to Africa, Ipharadisi and Albert Engel’s Jesus is the One.

These musical items not only enticed the knowledgeable audiences, but also drove them to generous financial support. It was only the first concert held at Darmstadt and the afternoon session at Neuwied, which did not bring in the sums to write home about. All the other concerts, especially the one at Dettingen, convinced us that we would be able to cover our transport and other essential expenses. In fact the financial side of our trip far exceeded our expectations, so that we could return with some profit for our ongoing touring fund. Fortunately it was not only the economic aspect that clicked; it was also the excellent solidarity amongst the touring group members, which brought about this overall happy outcome.

Whenever we traveled to a concert venue we were welcomed by a group of staunch congregants so that we could feel at home. We were always shown to well-planned, well-stocked congregation halls where we could freely indulge in appetizing edibles and beverages prepared for us. Every time members of the local brass group or interested enthusiasts joined us to round off the evening of music. Besides performing in church halls rich in acoustics, we could also experience the heartfelt and noticeable warmth generated by the partnership congregations.

3. Dettingen YMCA Brass Band Centenary

On the 1st of May 1997 the four combis stopped close to the Dettingen Town Hall where practically all the citizens gathered to meet us. As in customary the strong Dettingen brass group greeted us with a few lively numbers and immediately afterwards we sensed the intimate hospitality of the Erms River residents. In groups of two or three we were posted to the different homes of brass band members.

Rudolf Beutler, the mayor of Dettingen, entertained us the next day and we learnt about the administration of the town as well as the schooling system. At 20h00 we returned to the Town hall to attend the first function connected with the 100th anniversary. While standing the guests were addressed by the mayor, businesspersons, clergymen and of course the BBSA president. Hans Beck’s employer handed over a sum of DM10000 as a donation to the brass band. Matthias Beck’s quartet added luster to this gathering by rendering breezy, modern brass compositions.

One of the highlights of the centenary festivities was undoubtedly the jubilee concert in the Festhalle. That night the 130 members of the Dettingen Band under the leadership of Hans Beck performed effortlessly and stylishly. Some items were accompanied by kettledrums, keyboards and castanets. The Saints’ Hallelujah arranged by Luther Henderson, Der Evangelimann arranged by Hans Hartwig and the Pavane in Blue by Tedd Huggens brought the house down. When they completed counting the takings, which were dropped into four unused tubas, DM12500 (more than R30 000) was recorded.

Pfarrer Werner Keitel officiated at the Divine service in the Evangelische Stiftskirche Dettingen to round off the anniversary celebrations. Naturally our touring band was invited to co-operate with the jubilee group that Sunday morning 11 May 1997 at 09h20. After the sermon the minister announced the official retirement of Hans Beck who stood with Hetwig near the imposing pulpit. As a parting gift he received a voucher to visit Austria.

4. Sightseeing and Association

Although the trip was extremely exhausting we had time to relax, to shop around in the exclusive supermarkets and to observe the uninhibited nightlife of the Germans. From Rüdesheim to St. Goarshausen we traveled by boat on the Rhine River. Traveling from Fulda to Herrnhut we had time to visit the birthplace of J.S. Bach in Eisenach. Also we could visit the castle at Wartburg where Dr. Martin Luther hid from the Catholic Church Authorities and translated the original Bible into the German Language. Returning from Dresden we climbed the 768 steps leading to the top of the Münster in Ulm.

Before we started disagreeing with each other the Dettingen YMCA allowed us to spend two carefree days at their Berghaus in Kleinwalsertal. Our group could actually play in the snow, which came down for hours on the second day. The South Africans could not stop making snowballs and snowmen.

Meeting the warmhearted Moravians of Neuwied and Herrnhut also served as outstanding features on our tour. Playing to a full house in the Church hall in Herrnhut and performing at the hospital in Neuwied where Dr. Bernhard Kruger was a patient gave us enormous pleasure.

At our farewell party the BBSA president had a chance to express our sincerest thanks and appreciation. Our gift to Hans Beck consisted of the map of Africa made out of stinkwood mounted on a rectangular piece of yellowwood. Our chief host then presented us with a voucher for a BBSA member to visit Dettingen for a four-week training course in brass instruments repair work.

Ivan Liedemann
Chairperson Western Cape Branch

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the bbsa western cape's report on tour through germany from 19 april to 13 may 1997