Every now and then, I mention here on my blog that O.K. plays the trumpet in the village band. I also have talked about some of the events where the band either play or are part of in some other way, such as the May fête, Carnival parade or in church at Christmas. On top of such regular events throughout the year, the band (or part of it) also play for their members when someone gets married, is celebrating a "big" birthday (starting from 50 onwards) or is put to rest on the village cemetery.
This month, there were two official dates in the band's diary: Performing at a trade show on the 5th of October, and a short concert outside the church in honour of the village's patron saint, Gallus (Saint Gall). You can read about Gallus' life here on wikipedia, if you wish. I am only giving you a few excerpts here from that wikipedia entry: Gallus lived from 550 to 646 - that is a long life even by today's standards, and even more so in those days, when many adults hardly made it to 40.
His origin is unclear - was he Irish, as was widely believed? Or did he really come from the Alsace region, which would explain how he came to be such a popular saint in the region of O.K.'s village, which is close enough to look across the Rhine valley to the French Vosges and the Alsace region? Be it as it may, Gallus has not only his own small chapel in the village. Also the parish church, a baroque building dating from 1763 (built on the grounds of a much older church from the early 14th century), is named after him.
First, though, let me show you a few pictures from the performance at the trade show on the 5th of October. The band were booked for two hours. I listened to the first few pieces and took photos (more or less as the "official" photographer). Then I wandered around the show and came back in time for a late lunch with the musicians. The food was plenty and good. Afterwards, O.K. and I walked around the fair for another hour or so, before meeting up with two other band members to drive back to the village.
Day" is always the Sunday closest to the 16th of October. This year, it
was the 13th. Sunday mass is held in church, with special emphasis on
the patron saint. Afterwards, the village band play outside on the
square between the church and the vicarage.
and drink is prepared for everyone by the diligent women of the
community. It is all handed out for free, but there are small baskets
ready to hold whatever monetary contributions people are willing to give
(and the baskets never remain empty).
year, it was almost summerly warm, and there was no rain forecast -
perfect for the occasion. It was interesting to observe the
preparations, and then to witness how the square became more and more
crowded. People were chatty and friendly, and we enjoyed some of the
food and drink while listening to the band.
Some food was set aside, so that there would still be something left for the musicians after they finished playing.
The next official engagement for the village band will be their annual concert in December, and then playing at the service in church on Boxing Day. Until then, it is practice, practice, practice! There will even be one entire weekend at the end of November dedicated to band practice; one of the few weekends in the year when O.K. and I won't be seeing each other.
Being part of the band means regular rehearsals and practice sessions; every Wednesday night is firmly set in the diary. If you play an instrument, you will know that once a week is nowhere near enough practice, and you need to work on your skill constantly. Add to that the work involved in organising, setting up and running all those fêtes and similar occasions, and you can see that it is not just about making music - it is much more, and certainly not to everybody's liking. I, as a passive member (meaning I do not play music), am only involved in some of the other work, but I like coming along when the band perform somewhere on a weekend.