Revolution Show Corps On Tour
Revolution Show Corps from Queensbury, West Yorkshire have just returned from a 5 day tour to Belgium. It’s the Corps 2nd visit in the past two years, this time our base was Ghent in favour of Bruges.
44 crammed on with cases, music, tuck shop and not forgetting the brand new Jupiter Quantum horns!
Thursday 13th August
Meeting 00:30 hrs, loaded the coach and were soon off, picking 3 up deep south and a further one at Dover. Most of the trip down was spent asleep, or trying to sleep, or in a couple cases , ‘staying awake cos your too excited’. Everyone aboard and onto the ferry, most of the adults congregated where you would expect, sampling the shaken but not stirred lager. From Calais is was just over an hour to Ghent, and when 0.2 miles off the youth hostel, it took over an hour to find the correct route! It was full of no entries, dug up roads and streets not wide enough for a coach with trailer.
Our driver (Keith) certainly earned his crust and we arrived slightly sleepy mid afternoon. Checking in, and then checking out again for our 1st trip – at the Brewery ‘Gruut’ and after coke for the kids and 3 samples and a demonstration it was a very enjoyable visit. Special mention of the toilets, I think the owner got lost with all the branding (see pictures on Facebook).
The evening was spent unpacking, rehearsing, and finishing off with socialising. For most an early night, unless you’re a girl aged around 14 !
Friday 14th August
An early rise, today was Bobbijaanland or Bobbyjobbyland as known by us. The sun was shinning and we did a spot at the top of the park for around 50 minutes getting us almost £500 off the cost of entry which was excellent. Finishing just after 12 noon we had several hours to make ourselves feel ill. First ride was the Banana and my favourite, on a boat with 4 in, and a water cannon each going round a set track which means you could soak rival boats as you went round – brilliant !
Before we knew it the time was 5pm and time to head back for evening meal. Followed by relaxing in the ‘lounge’ which had a nice bar attached 🙂 Plenty of tables for the kids who were busy doing their own funny drawings of everyone, I personally liked Tash’s version of Josh & Paul.
Saturday 15th August
Bit more relaxed today with not as much driving. After breakfast we had a boat trip in Ghent, with the usual humour to include the guards who peed in cans.
At 2pm we did a parade down through Ghent, one of the best atmospheres I’ve played in, going past all the cafes and bars everyone was cheering and getting into the spirit. We did a 30 minute static on the town square and was given a trophy for the Corps participation, along with plenty of bottles of water. The invite to parade back and a cold drink was more than enough, this time we up’d the pace. Awaiting us were ice cold cokes and beers – lovely!
Once we returned we hunted out the home made ice cream parlour, temperature must have been 35 degrees as we sat and tried to slurp up the ice ice-cream as it melted. After tea it was bowling, which I think was a sauna with bowling lanes, yes it was rather hot. 2 games and 5 stones lighter we retired to the youth hostel. A couple of the older ones tried the local facilities and the legend was born (more to follow!)
Sunday 16th August
After the 1st day of fun, 2nd day of easy going, today was serious as we had Menin Gate (http://www.lastpost.be/index.php?p=/en/calendar/(http://www.greatwar.co.uk/events/menin-gate-last-post-ceremony.htm) and the visit to Sanctuary Trenches. Again a ‘loverly’ day as we had free time in the morning to do some shopping, then off we set once Michelle had ironed all our uniforms so we looked extra smart.
At the trenches it was those occupied by the English during WW1, it really brought it home, even on a sunny day they were muddy, I can only imagine what they were like after days of rain. There was a museum as well with all sorts of interesting info and snippets to read about what had gone on. The graveyard was chilling, and a reminder to me how lucky we are that these men gave their lives. Me personally I was all emotioned up so I could give a really good performance that night .
Everyone back on the coach after more ice-cream, and into Ypres , got changed, everyone had their Scout Uniform (phew!) We went through the Belgium national anthem by singing it, us brass players sounded just as you expect, Simon Cowell would have had a field day, however surprising an audience gathered and before we knew it a good hundred plus people were awaiting to be entertained. On with the static’s, special mention to the Belgium person who was making plenty of noise on the cowbell, even during the ballads…. Luckily he retired and we did an excellent job entertaining as the audience grew.
Your browser may not support display of this image. Into parade formation we marched proudly up to the Menin Gate. Every evening at 8pm the Belgium Firefighters play the Last Post. We were the only guest band, and as we arrived slightly early treated them to ‘I Vow to Thee’. Once the Fire brigade had done their bit, we played ‘Abide With Me’ as they laid the wreathes, then the Belgium National Anthem – always scary playing another Countries as its not totally familiar. Then we finished off with ours and it sounded truly awesome under the archways . A performance highlight for me, always a little stressful as your totally as a band exposed to any mistakes but we did ourselves proud. Marching back the crowd in toe where we finished in the square, and were clapped and cheered.
Hand on heart I was very pleased with every member from the youngest to the oldest, kids can get such a bad press, strange the press were not here tonight to see what the ‘good uns do!’ however to play the 20+ pieces we had done on this tour was a true representation of what Revolution can do.
Back to the youth hostel and the customary ‘awards evening’ with this years theme been James Bond, 4 of the older end (Trev, Josh, Pru and me) handed out certificates and special prizes!! The night was finished off with a social, and some of the older end met our Belgium friend known only as ‘Mr Bonkers!!’
Monday 17th August
The travel home day, after time in Bruges it was a fairly quick trip home, a chance to catch up on missed sleep, and find your back in England and Burger King had run out of burgers. Plans are already been made for the next trip, to the members who did Belgium 2009 what an outstanding trip, highly enjoyable and a great success – thank you!