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FIELD BAND FOUNDATION TOUR - 2008 FLANDERS AND NORWAY The Norwegian Band Federation (NMF) invited the FBF to tour western Norway and perform at the Stavanger Spilleglede Festival. On our way there we stopped in Amsterdam and travelled down to Zwevegem, in Flanders to work with VLAMO, the Flemish amateur music organisation. They trained our FBF members in show design and choreography. In fact they helped us prepare all the elements required for the Norwegian tour. SUPPORTERS OF THE TOUR:

Having almost all the cultures from SA represented in the National Field Band, we started the preparatory workshop with Bryan Clarke doing a team building workshop – many of the youngsters had not met each other before, but soon he had them all dancing and singing together. The Norwegian teachers stationed in SA worked hard to prepare the music for the trip and Peter Aaron prepared the choir. Singing was to be one of the attractions of the tour. Europeans can play in bands really well but their bands, cannot dance or sing as well as we do! For many of our youngsters this was their first experience of travelling internationally and the excitement ran high. What was impressive was their commitment. It was a long and tiring tour and much was asked of them and they did their best every time.

FLANDERS

KRUIBEKE is where we had our first performance, at an International Festival – it was obvious that our group understood early on how to involve the crowds, an important aspect of performing!


Back to rehearsals and learning whilst preparing the shows for Norway. Nancy Catryse (flag handling), Wim de Vlaminck (marching percussion) and Bart Tienpont (show design) continued their work following-up on the December workshop in Durban: According to Port Elizabeth FBF trumpeter and student, Keith Esau: “Bart Tienpont gave us hell in a very subtle way and I think it was a good thing for me. I am a teacher and I went back to basics and it could not come at a better time as our nationals are around the corner. The show design sessions he did with us and the show analysis was great as it taught us to think” and Eldrin Elie, also a Port Elizabeth FBF trumpeter had this to say: “It was interesting to learn how a simple move can make such a big impact on the field. Now I have a great idea on how to plan our show. There is a lot to gain from our friends in Belgium”

Working with the Flemish, Calypso and WIK Show Corps really made an impression: Thabo Mosime, FBF Melophone from Dobsonville: “I learned a lot from the staff when it comes to movement and music whilst we don’t forget to involve other sections when it comes to planning the shows and performances. Visiting bands around was amazing because we learned the Flemish way of doing shows and we also gave them our own way which they really adored!”

A march through the streets of Zwevegem brought Mantsaye Ngwaila from the SA Embassy in Brussels to observe. She has obviously missed home quite a bit and could not resist the temptation to dance with the band in the town square.


ZWEVEGEM: Moving on to perform for the Mayor of Zwevegem was a highlight.

OOSTENDE: The performance in the town square really brought the crowds out.


OOSTENDE: Time to make music together with the WIK Show Band

This was a very special evening and many friendships were made – we even got the conductor of the band to dance!

The Flemish certainly made a huge effort to host the FBF, a day in Brussels allowed our youngsters a glimpse at their long history, a visit to Mini Europe really impressed but above all the food got a very high rating! Thank you to VLAMO CEO, Filip Santy.


Visiting the famous old town square in Brussels

Last night: always hard to say goodbye………..


NORWAY

Layken Lemoor, Stellenbosch FBF pit percussion: “Norway is the place to be at…the most beautiful place ever…..we had great performances and the teamwork was just fabulous, very exhausting, but great. Aubrey Boikanyo, North West FBF Dancer: “I am speechless because it was so good, we experienced many things we didn’t know. The people were very kind and loving to us, even crying when we leave….I mean tears out! I loved Norway!” S’khumbuzo Madondo, KZN FBF percussionist: “South Africa is a free country yes, but not as free as Belgium and Norway.”


MASFJORDNES :Performance for the community and as with most of the interactions, this included a session with the local band where our youngsters taught them an African traditional song, which they then all played together at the concert. This kind of workshop brings the bands in very close contact and is one of the reasons that so many people in Norway support this programme as over 22,000 band members have worked with the Field Band members over the years.

What a setting for a concert – truly magnificently beautiful – we were also lucky, the concert time was the only time that day it did not rain!


BERGEN: The performance on the square literally drew thousands of people and was the beginning of the National Field Band “Celebrity Tour!” The reaction of the Norwegians to this tour was really quite incredible – in no time people were rushing to Field Band performances and the field band youngsters felt like rock stars as young Norwegian musicians pursued them.


Look at the expression on the Norwegian’s faces – it tells the whole story.

Roderick Smith, Stellenbosch FBF trumpeter: “Working hard in Belgium really paid off in Norway, because our sweat was turned into ‘Fame’. Everybody in Stavanger recognised us, that you were a member of the FBF – the group with the high spirit and energy – all our performances were great and the people loved it – I had the time of my life” BELOW: Proud FBF Chairman, Herman Mashaba and his wife and FBF supporter, Connie, watching the Bergen performance.

ABOVE RIGHT: Connie and Herman with long standing friends of the FBF: Trude Drevland, Deputy Mayor of Bergen, Lovisa Midtbo, Ex- President of the NMF, Ingunn Ek and Oyvind Storheim - below them the beautiful city of Bergen.


In OS we celebrated Youth Day with Daniel Mosimanegape Stemmer, First Secretary at the SA Embassy in Norway. The Embassy also supported the NMF in their efforts to bring the Field Band to Norway.

FROM LEFT: Jan Ole Karlson, NMF Head of Music. Arild Moen, NMF CEO, Connie, Stig Ryland, NMF Head of Communication, Herman and Daniel Stemmer in Os just before the performance.

The concert was in partnership with the wind band from Os and had an inside and outside element. It was special seeing our youngsters perform so proudly on this day.


STAVANGER: EXXON MOBIL was one of the NMF supporters for the Festival so we were asked to perform at their head-office. As your normal corporate staff they were not sure what to expect but their response was certainly encouraging! Their Texan CEO Lee Tillman enthusiastically came down to meet the band.

LEFT: The Kings Guard – a great national symbol of Norway- made up of one year conscripts, youthful and very good. The National Field Band and the King’s Guard shared the billing at most events which was a true privilege for us.

ABOVE: A Kings Guard with Field Banders and young Norwegian band musicians.

LEFT: Herman with some young Norwegian band musicians.


STAVANGER: Town square performance – thousands of people gathered and cheered the band on.


TATTOO PERFORMANCE: One of the main events - the Field band was riveting - our first really professional performance

When the spectators stood up, like one man, after the performance, even our Chairman wept.

Keith Esau, Port Elizabeth Field Band trumpeter and student: “Bergen was great but with no Bart to check the show and no Norwegian teachers to check the music we started a little scrappy but the more we performed the better and cleaner the show and the music got and the crazier the Norwegians went! The highlight was performing with one of the best military bands in the world – The King’s Guard - I thought they were great, but we really destroyed them with our energy! Never ever have I imagined anything like it!”


STAVANGER: MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S CONCERT

Sibusiso Mkasibe, KZN FBF Melophone : “Norway is a good country and people there are really into music. Norway I think, like Africa just because of the FBF” Thusoetsile Thebe, Kimberley FBF Marimba player: “Every performance we had was nice because we had the crowd’s attention and we rocked them!


The international co-operation between VLAMO and the NMF ensured that we managed to deliver to the NMF and FK something of real quality. We felt that this was our chance to say thank you for all the years support by doing our absolute best! From the FBF’s perspective the way our members conducted themselves was a great source of pride. They were well behaved, polite, on time and uncomplaining, no matter how demanding the schedule. It does give us courage for the future. A VERY TIRED FIELD BAND ON THE WAY HOME!


2008 European Tour Report