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National Youth Orchestra of Wales on tour to Germany

DSC05751 resizedRebecca Abbott, from OneStage had the opportunity to see her arrangements in action as she accompanied one of the UK’s most talented youth orchestras on their tour to Germany. Becky is one of our German speakers and a wonderful singer! There were 115 students from the National Youth Orchestra of Wales on tour in three coaches, performing in various venues in Berlin and Leipzig. Read on for a day by day synopsis of their tour.

National Youth Orchestra of Wales Tour

By Rebecca Abbott, Tour Operator & Tour Manager for OneStage

5th – 12th August 2013

Monday 5th August
A total of three coaches headed to Dover port for the ferry crossing to Calais for the National Youth Orchestra of Wales (NYOW) tour to Berlin & Leipzig, Germany.
I met the coaches in Dover, where the atmosphere on board was lively and excitable with plenty of singing. The coach made good time and we managed to get an earlier ferry, which meant that we reached the hostel ahead of schedule. On reaching the hostel, the keys were ready for distribution. After dinner, it was time for bed, a good sleep required ahead of the next day’s travel.

Tuesday 6th August
After a full day of travelling we were all very tired but in good spirits as we reached our AO hostel Hauptbahnhof in Berlin. We arrived in time for a buffet for three coach loads of tired, hungry musicians. The hostel allocated armbands to the over 18’s which meant that they could independently visit the bar. Everybody thought that this was a good system.

DSC05774 resizedWednesday 7th August
In the morning, our explorations of Berlin began with a visit to the iconic Brandenburg gate with independent sightseeing of this fantastic city. This was a great start to what would be a successful day all round. Next stop was a rehearsal at this evening’s concert venue, Brandenburg Cathedral. What an amazing venue! The cathedral was packed full with an enthusiastic appreciative audience. NYOW performed a sensational concert, so much so that there was standing ovation at the end accompanied by constant applause. A great start to the tour. A post-concert meal was served in a local restaurant and everybody was buzzing from the atmosphere lovely comments that they received.

Thursday 8th August
The performers enjoyed a relaxing morning, with most students determined to take the opportunity to explore the main sights and museums of Berlin. Today’s concert was to take place at the Konzerthaus in Berlin which was part of the Young Euros Classic’s Festival, to which the orchestra had received a special invitation to come and play. Another outstanding concert in Berlin!

Friday 9th August
Goodbye Berlin….and Hello Leipzig! The journey took its allotted 2.5 hours, with a meal at the hotel ready on arrival. Today’s concert was to take place in a marquee at the remarkable Altenburg Castle, as part of the Opening Night of their summer concert series. Sadly, the weather was not on our side, but fortunately, the orchestra and the audience were protected from the rain. The musicians enjoyed a barbecue after their rehearsal, just as the sun made a welcome appearance. The concert was well attended and the orchestra were invited to stay for drinks to celebrate the tour and enjoy some social time.

Saturday 10th August
After breakfast, there was free time to see the highlights of Leipzig; the Thomaskirche, the Bach Monument, Mendelssohn’s House, the Bach Museum, the Grassi Museum and the atmospheric cellar style restaurants….and of course, fantastic shopping streets!
Then the orchestra set off to play in the MDR festival (Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk, a German radio station) in Wermsdorf. Sadly, the weather was not on our side, and the talented, young players kept the audience entertained whilst the rain poured down outside. A wet, soggy evening was wrapped up with some drinks in the bar on the final night in Germany.

Sunday 11th August
An early morning start saw us back on the road, with Antwerp set as our final tour stop. After a week’s worth of practising checking in to various hostels and hotels, it was becoming second nature to the orchestra. After dinner, the orchestra had time to explore the pretty, historic centre of Antwerp.

Monday 12th August
We had a prompt departure from Antwerp and arrived in Calais in time to catch an earlier ferry. This was appreciated all round as the orchestra were now all ready to go home after a very exciting and fun tour. Once in Dover, I said my goodbyes to everyone whilst the orchestra continued to Cardiff where their journey and the tour ended.

Eve’s tour managing experiences in the South of France

IMG_0500 resizedOne of the best parts of being a music tour operator is to see the arrangements that you have set up in place live on tour. We encourage all of our team to join at least a couple of groups on tour each year, the experience is invaluable for our creativity and exploring the intricate details involved in planning every single tour. It is also fulfilling and exciting watching our groups enjoying attractions and concerts that have been planned for them.
This year, Eve (one of our French & Italian speakers, clarinettist & baritone horn player) joined The American School in London on a tour to Leuven, Wood Green Junior School on their tour to Normandy and Kirklees Youth Orchestra in Provence. You can find out a little bit about her tour managing experiences in the South of France:

“There were so many to choose from that everyone each had their own favourite moment of the Kirklees Youth Symphony Orchestra tour to Provence this summer. For some, it was finding themselves at a rehearsal in an abbey atop a mountain, wondering why anyone would schedule a concert in such a remote place, only to walk out on stage before a huge audience. Others enjoyed exploring new cities, kayaking through the countryside or sampling local treats. My personal highlight was seeing the audience in a packed Saint Maximin Town Square so appreciative that they applauded for encore after encore and still wanted to hear more!”

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