Between the 2nd and 6th June 2006, Godalming Band undertook a trip to Herpen Holland in order to join the the celebrations of 75 years of music with the Sint Hubertus Brassband.
We all assembled at the bandroom at Farncombe at 5 am, to board the coach which took us to Dover and onto a P&O ferry. We then made our way up through France and Belgium and into Holland, arriving in Herpen in the afternoon. After getting everybody sorted out with accommodation as most of us were staying with members of the Sint Hubertus band, we then assembled for a quick rehearsal, after which we played at the recreation hall.
Saturday saw us all making a trip to the neighbouring village of Ravenstein, with its fully working windmill, before returning to Herpen where we attended the opening ceremony of the memorial plaque and then marched with the Sint Hubertus band to the recreation hall. We then had our evening meal at the Wok restaurant in Herpen and then attended their “Night of the Beans” concert, which included a mixture of acts, one of which was a juggler who juggled with chain saws. Our conductor David Wright was very taken with this act, and we look forward to his attempts to reproduce it at a future concert (OK, this may be stretching the truth just a little bit :-) ).
Sunday morning saw us attending the mass of celebration at the church, and a septet of Godalming players providing some music during the service as well as joining with the Sint Hubertus band at the end for a rendition of “Land of Hope and Glory”. After lunch we then played a concert on the bandstand in Herpen, together with the Sint Hubertus percussion group. That evening saw the band gather in the village hall for a quiz night which our principal solo cornet player, David Sargeant, organised.
On Monday we went to the nearby town of s’Hertogenbosch on the junction of the Dommel and Aa rivers, which go under the city in a canal network called the Binnendieze. Some of the band took a ride on the tour boats that navigate around this. After this we attended the Jazz festival that was taking place in the city, before returning to Herpen for an informal band contest with 7 other local bands. The end of the evening was a massed bands performance with all 8 bands involved, which if nothing else was certainly loud!
The return journey on Tuesday saw us leaving Herpen at 10.00, with stopovers at a Belgian chocolate factory and a French supermarket in order to stock up with essentials (chocolate and wine, obviously), before returning on the ferry and arriving back at our bandroom by 8 pm.
Many thanks must go to the members of Sint Hubertus Brassband who took us into their homes and made us feel so welcome throughout our stay. Also, we are very, very grateful to Ray Pont our chairman who took on organising this event and made it into the success that it was.