On a cold and snowy Saturday morning in February 2012, Roy Varney, a Rayburn Tours Coordinator, made the trip from Derby to Shepley to meet with the band to fine tune the details of their upcoming band tour. 6 months on and they set off on their eagerly anticipated tour to the beautiful German region of the Rhineland. Roy Varney joined them as their courier and here he tells us about his experience.
After a good nights sleep everyone was refreshed from the journey from the previous day and excited for their first concert at the Rüdesheim Wine festival. Despite the very hot weather, the mid-day concert went very well and there was a very appreciative audience, including a large group from Sheffield! The remainder of the day was free for the group to enjoy the festival, some visited the Mechanical Instrument Museum while some took a ride in the cable car.
Day two started with a leisurely morning in the 19th century spa town of Bad Ems, giving the group time to admire the grandeur of its architecture, and take the funicular to the Bismarck Tower, for the grand views of the Lahn Valley. A late afternoon concert was enjoyed by both the band and the audience. The Kurhaus caretaker was a music enthusiast and took a lively interest in the band’s performance – he presented the band leader with a mascot teddy bear at the end of the concert. He also revealed that the rooms we had used for changing were in the apartment where composer Jacques Offenbach had lived for a while in the 1800’s. The band were particularly pleased to learn this, as their encore item was probably Offenbach’s most recognisable work, the ‘Can Can’
There was a day off from concerts today, and the group were to spend time enjoying the Moselle Valley and the pretty town of Cochem. Highlights for some were time at the Cochem swimming complex and an enjoyable guided tour of the castle, with a tour guide with a very bizarre English accent. It was a curious-sounding mix of Lloyd Grossman and Dame Edna Everidge which caused much speculation amongst the group as to its origin. The guide was clearly aware of this, and at the end of the tour invited guesses as to where she was from – the answer turned out to be Flemish-Belgian, something no-one had imagined.
This was the ‘big day’, a journey to the town of Trier, on the Luxembourg border. The group spent the afternoon admiring the Roman ruins in this, Germany’s oldest city, or taking a boat trip on the Moselle. The group re-assembled in the evening for what was probably their best concert, in the Brunnenhof courtyard in the shadow of the city’s landmark, the ‘Porta Nigra’.
Day five was a rest day from performing, which allowed the group to chose their own activities around the local area. Some took an excursion to the Beethoven House in Bonn, and Cologne. In Cologne, some group members could not resist visiting the award-winning toilets in the Café Reichard, opposite the Cathedral.
The day was rounded off by an impromptu evening concert on the hotel terrace, open to other guests and visitors from other hotels.
Our final day was once again one of free choice activities. Some of the group opted to visit Koblenz in the morning to view the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle at the Deutsches Eck, and then ride the cable car to Fortress Ehrenbreitstein for fabulous views across the city. Some continued on to the Geyser of Andernach. A remarkable natural mineral water jet which spurts up to 60 feet high, every 90 minutes.
Your band can discover the Rhineland from just £329pp based on a 5 day, 4 night tour travelling by coach. Our Band Tour to the Rhineland includes Bed and Breakfast accommodation, trailer for excess luggage, three publicised concerts and Rayburn Tours’ Tour Courier.