Yorkshire Building Society in Switzerland
- 11th June 2002
Gillian Clark of Yorkshire Building Society gives 4BR
a personal account of the European Champions latest trip abroad to Switzerland,
where they entertained packed audiences wherever they went
some of you perhaps, the Monday Bank Holiday of the Jubilee weekend may have provided
you with a golden opportunity to get those shelves up, or to tackle the jungle
out there you call your garden
. for the 33 players and management of the
Yorkshire Building Society Brass Band, Monday 5th June 2002 marked the beginning
of the band's first tour outside the UK since embarking upon what has proved to
be an immensely successful partnership with the Yorkshire Building Society. There
now follows a brief account of what proved to be a tremendously successful tour
in every way, due in no small part to a huge amount of hard work put in by the
tour organisers, YBS's own Richard Hirst and Paul Land.
After a brief rehearsal at the band room at Lindley, the band sets off for Luton
airport at around 5pm. An overnight stop at Luton Airport Holiday Inn provides
the ideal opportunity to limber up for the week ahead with a few beers and a curry.
It has to be said the curry on offer in and around Luton is of the hot variety.
6th: By lunchtime the band has successfully managed to transport itself and
its associated gear to Geneva airport without any major hitches. The band flew
on Easy Jet. One customer was to comment on just why Easy Jet was so cheap, something
to do with the after effects of the Luton curries.
A few hours later David King and the band kick off the first of 6 concerts to
be held over 6 days in a concert hall in Gland with a stirring rendition of Peter
Graham's Summon The Dragon. Perhaps surprisingly, the audience reserve their most
enthusiastic applause for the piece of music that rounds off the first half of
the show - the Tranquillo and Finale from Piet Swert's "Chain". This
of course was the test piece for the band's victorious retention of the European
Championships in Brussels.
10.40pm: The implications of starting
concerts at 8.30pm begin to hit home when the band find themselves taking to the
stage to start the second half of the concert at twenty to eleven. The enthusiasm
of the assembled crowd ensures that the band don't leave the stage until a quarter
1.30am: Fortunately we're in Switzerland, and after
a couple of cold ones at the venue and a short coach ride back to the hotel, the
guys and gals of YBS set off into town fairly confident of finding a watering
hole in which to round off a very successful first day. After 45 minutes of wandering
the streets the intrepid but increasingly weary bunch find themselves still in
search of somewhere to slake the thirst. A large dose of persistence and some
halting French pays dividends in the end and an establishment providing cold beers
and fresh pizza into the wee small hours is a very welcome find indeed.
7th: The day dawns bright and sunny, and the good weather perhaps plays its
part in encouraging an impressive showing at breakfast and a good turn out at
the first YBS football match of the tour. The teams are captained by YBS's very
own "Playing the Field" Margi Antrobus and Gill Clark and match highlights
include some impressive ball skills and tactical control from the three Michaels
- Walsh, Howley and Green - and a brave thigh-stinging stop at close range from
Margi. Margi's team (Walsh, Smith, Williams, Clough, Starr, Gresswell, Antrobus)
take an early lead via two stunning goals from the self named Grezvaldo (Simon
Gresswell), but a come back in the second half sees their opponents (Howley, Pritchard,
Kay, Atwell, Green, Clark) come from behind to win the first game of the tour
1.30pm: After an excellent feed at a restaurant near the hotel,
most of the band retire to a nearby Irish bar to watch Ireland beat Germany with
that stunning last minute goal from Robbie Keane. Following the match, it's back
on the coach to start the journey to that evening's concert at Corgémont.
Another late finish sees the majority of the band seeking out another late-opening
bar. We stumbled across the town's Piano Bar and the players proceeded to show
off their own piano skills in the style of Les Dawson. Those who couldn't play
the piano just drank lots of beer. And one member in particular (Grezzy) paid
for this by leaving a newly acquired coat with house and car keys in the pocket,
never to be seen again!
Thursday 8th: The itinerary had the coach leaving for the next hotel at
9am, and at this early hour a few of the band are looking decidedly the worse
for wear, with a certain member of the percussion section sporting a particularly
impressive injury to the face sustained the night before by falling into his bed
in a fashion he would not recommend to his worst enemy. However a couple of hours
on the coach allow everyone to get their heads down and let the headache tablets
work their magic. By the time the band arrive at Baumgarten and see the beautiful
lakeside surroundings in which they are to spend the rest of the day, everyone
begins to feel a good deal better.
2.00pm: After a spot of lunch
the more energetic (and touched by the sun perhaps?) of the band are ready for
another game of footie - so it's on with the shorts and t-shirts and off into
the heat of the afternoon sun for a re-match of the previous day's game. Team
Antrobus, strengthened by the fresh legs and skills of Stuart Lingard and determined
to reverse the previous day's run of play, start confidently and scored a couple
of deserved early goals.
Margi finds her scoring boots and contributes
to her team's goal total by firing an excellent low shot past the keeper. Not
to be outdone, Gill responds soon afterwards by getting a boot on a well-timed
cross and burying a shot into the bottom right-hand corner of goal. Half-time
sees Margi's boys in front - however, a bit of a re-shuffle in the Clark camp
and the renewed confidence begins to tell early in the second half with a couple
of great goals from Mick Green. The recovery comes too late however and Margi's
team win a well-fought battle by a narrow margin.
4.15pm: Back at
the hotel, the sun still blazing down, there is time for a refreshing dip in the
lake for some - while others content themselves with a spot of fishing or simply
chill out with the feet up and a cold drink or two. One bandsman (Grezzy) decides
to blow up one of them rubber boats. Out on the lake he went, only to spring a
leak. Panic set in when Simon announced he couldn't swim. He is a fast learner
and made it back to shore with the band members singing Titanic.
Hirsty is faced with his first dilemma of the tour when he receives a call from
a couple of intrepid cornet players who take a boat trip across to the opposite
side of the lake and miss the last boat back
.however, a couple of hours
and a train journey later sees the sheepish pair return just in time for dinner.
Later that evening, the great acoustics of the concert hall in the nearby Rotkreuz
and an excellent audience contribute to what is perhaps one of the best concerts
of the tour. Back at the hotel bar everyone rounds off an excellent day with a
winning combination of beer and local sausage laid on by the hotel.
7th: A small matter of a certain international football match takes centre
stage and the entire band take a certain amount of enjoyment in watching England
taking Argentina's scalp in a slightly seedy bar in Neuchâtel. Following
the match we move onto the venue for that evening's concert - an open-air concert
at Expo 2002. The concert attracts a huge crowd who give the band tremendous support
throughout the concert, which is recorded for broadcast on Swiss and French radio.
Halfway through the second half of the programme time is running short (a fireworks
display scheduled for later that evening means that the organisers insist on the
band being off stage by 10.30pm) and David King decides to bring the evening to
a scintillating close with two very fine solo performances that go down a storm
with the crowd - Pete "Figaro" Smith playing and singing his heart out
in a fabulous rendition of Rossini's Largo al Factotum on Eb tuba and Gavin Pritchard
bringing the house down with a performance at breakneck speed of the xylophone
classic "Helter Skelter". The encore goes on
and on and on
the band have no choice but to pack up and load up the bus for the journey to
Sion and the final hotel of the tour.
Saturday 8th: Several of the
band head off to sample the heart-stopping water slides at the local Aquaparc,
while others take a wander into town or up into the surrounding mountains. The
penultimate concert of the tour takes place that evening in Vétroz, and
the band's last night in Switzerland is wiled away in traditional fashion in the
hotel bar (which is apparently more usually frequented by members of the Treize
Sunday 9th : The last and final concert takes
place at Belfaux at 2pm, where YBS once again take to the stage. Throughout the
tour the band was on top form with solo contributions from Stuart Lingard, Iwan
Williams, Sheona White, Gavin Pritchard, Mike Howley, Peter Smith and The one
and only Peter Roberts. The main item featured in all concerts was the recently
premiered Hymn of the Highlands by Philip Sparke. This is a real tour de Force
and had the locals dreaming of Scotland such is the descriptive nature of the
work. The band was on brilliant form all week and we hope it is not too long before
we undertake our second tour.
Straight after the concert everyone piles
back on the coach, exhausted but happy, for the 1.5-hour drive back to Geneva
airport and a 7.05pm flight back to Luton.
Where to next year
Yorkshire Building Society Band