2006 Tour - Catalunya

27th May to 3rd June 2006

Many thanks are due to Terry, Geoff, Shelagh and Howard for the photos. Thanks also to Christine Martin for taking the time to write an account of the tour.

More photos can be found on the Coral Polifonica website.

Enjoy the read!

Four years had passed since the Band flew out to Catalonia and yet there was a sense of déjà vu as we arrived early in the morning at Manchester Airport.  The tone for the week was set by one or two stalwarts who nobly forced down a beer or two before take-off at around 8.00 a.m.

The journey was uneventful, apart from the apparent absence of the two coaches on our arrival at Barcelona.  We all sunbathed in the high temperatures that greeted us outside the Airport whilst our gallant tour organiser, Richard, sprinted around and sorted things out.  We dutifully piled into Coach A and Coach B, each with its Host who counted us on and counted us off and gave us our instructions for the day in a very good-humoured and professional way.  In fact, the Buntlin’s Red Coats Outstanding Performance Awards go to Terry Mitchell and Christine Murphy. We, in Coach B, were speculating as to how the coaches were allocated.  We realised that 'A' stood for Allan and the Also-rans and B simply stood for Best. (Actually, to make my life easy, the coach lists were recycled from the tour to Ireland! Richard)

The Hotel Victoria in Santa Margarida had been significantly upgraded since our last visit, with the noteworthy addition of an external lift.  The whole resort was really pleasant now that all the building-work along the front was completed.  No longer did you walk into Roses to the accompaniment of pneumatic drills, tripping over live cables and falling down holes as in yester-year. To cap everything, the quality of the wine served with meals was so much better!

Ahhhh...we've arrived.....

We were made very much aware of the amount of building work and regeneration going on in Catalonia in several of our concert venues. Our venues in Bescano and Girona were both new buildings and the delightful town centre of Banyoles was being completely restored.

Concert One, 28 May 2006
Bescano, Auditorio

Acords Guitar Group

The concerts allowed us to meet up with old friends and make some new ones. Merce and Cor Preludi were with us at Bescano and Girona and the Girona Banda Band, whose conductor came over to see us in England, were also with us in Girona.  One new group was the impressive Acords guitar group at Bescano who gave an enjoyable performance. I was struck by the fact that they played without any music and that in some pieces they treated their instruments as percussion (tapping not plucking). Perhaps this is a way forward for our Band…?!

Cor Preludi

Children from Bescano

Concert Two, 29 May 2006
Roses, Placa de Catalunya

The power of Music became evident on two occasions. The first was the noteworthy time when were playing in the square in Roses. We had spent some time setting up, having walked from the hotel after dinner. Allan picked up his wand and we played our first chord of B flat in order to tune and the heavens immediately opened. Being British we hid under trees and eventually returned to play to a very appreciative audience. The Incorporated Association of Witch-doctors’ First Prize for Rain Magic goes to The Werneth Concert Band and its wizard, Allan Jones.

Banyoles Lake

The second, more serious, manifestation of the power of music is the electrifying effect of playing El Segadors to a Catalan Audience. They leap to their feet and stand to attention. The title means ‘The Reapers’ and commemorates a revolt by the workers against Spanish oppressors. The words apparently do include sentiments like ‘death to Spaniards’, so choose your audience carefully! In fact, since our return, the Times reported that 73.9% of Catalonian voters have approved greater autonomy for Catalonia in the recent referendum.

Third Concert, 30 May 2006
Banyoles, Teatre Municipal
WCB with Orff de l'Escola Municipal de Musica de Banyoles

Our most unusual partners were the Orff de l’Escola Municipal de Musica de Banyoles, a glockenspiel orchestra. They were well trained and made a very pleasant sound.

Pica Pica - Yum Yum

Girona Banda Band

I thought you said this music was in order?

The bar must be open...

Concert Four, 1 June 2006
Girona, Auditorio (Foyer, they were still finishing the auditorium)
WCB with Cor Preludi

"...and I won the boules, and I won the footy, and I won the mini-golf"    Nick wins the sychronised reading competition

Port Lligat (and who's that under the tree?)

Free time activities were very varied this year. Some enjoyed a day out in Barcelona, others visited Dali’s House at Port Lligat and most of us had the guided tour of the intriguing Dali Museum in Figures. The Citadel in Roses has been developed and has an excellent museum and it was there that I learnt the origin of the town’s name. Roses was a Greek settlement called Rhode originally, the settlers having come from Rhodes. Boat trips and little train trips, drives out to monasteries, swimming, sunbathing, ball-games on the beach and, it is rumoured, a drink or two at Rainer’s Bar more or less complete the picture.

Just in case you were wondering what it looks like without WCB inside

Concert Five, 2 June 2006
Teatro Jardi, Figueres

WCB with Coral Polifonica

The last group we joined up with were the Coral Polyphonica de Figures. The concert took place in the delightful Art Nouveau Theatre and we had a good audience. The rehearsal had been slightly difficult as there were problems with coping with joint items and the choir’s programme seemed a little heavy. What a surprise it was to find ourselves afterwards with about 100 other highly extravert and friendly Catalans eating splendid snacks and consuming vast quantities of wine, all of us singing our heads off. No one wanted to go home and any suggestion that we should do so met with open rebellion, including booing down our leaders. Threats of having to walk back to our hotel brought us to heel, but what a wonderful finish.

We had been entertained by other groups in a similar way; the hospitality is second to none. We had also sung for our supper in Girona but that last night in Figures was the most memorable. We owe Julie Parker a vote of thanks for training us so that we could actually sing something recognisable and effective. She receives the Julie Andrews Sound of Music Award jointly with Ged Marciniak who led a memorable and personalised sing-song in Coach A.

There are two further awards:

The Pickford’s Smooth Operators Award for safe removals goes jointly to Alan Cottrill and Roy Nuttall with our grateful thanks.
The Silver Goblet jointly awarded by Linguaphone and the Board of International Relations is presented to El Presidente, alias John Glynn, for his multilingual compering and good humoured shepherding of us all.

We are indebted to Richard Morris and his colleagues who have worked behind the scenes to make the tour so successful and enjoyable.
Finally, our thanks to Allan Jones for his inspired and widely ranging leadership in many fields but primarily the musical one.

Here’s to the next tour!

Christine Martin

Tour Repertoire

1 Walkabout 23 Trumpets Wild
2 Glory 24 Instant Concert
3 On The Mall 25 Barcelona
4 Bandology 26 One Voice
5 March From the Jazz Suite 27 Odyssey
6 Strike Up The Band 28 When the Stars Begin to Fall
7 Encanto 29 When the Saints
8 Spirit of Catalonia  30 Serenade
9 Thames Journey    31 Waltz From the Jazz Suite
10 Dedicatory Overture 32 Bolero
11 Persistence 33 Mars
12 Concert Prelude  34 Chorale and Rockout
13 Chorale and Shaker Dance 35 Pavane in Blue
14 Prelude Siciliano and Rondo    36 YMCA
15 Sinatra in Concert        37 Slavonic Dances
16 Symphonic Beatles 38 Els Segadors
17 Dances With Wolves 39 Boig Per Tu
18 John Williams Symphonic Soundtrack   40 Ave Verum Corpus
19 Riverdance (Finale)    41 Andrew Lloyd Webber
20 Latin Celebration 42 Be Still My Soul
21 Folk Dances   43 Speed Your Journey
22 Frolic for Trombones