Published: 31 July 2008

The Band play for the open air church service on the Lahn island
The Band play for the open air church service on the Lahn island

A group of 49 members and friends of the Rugeley Power Station Brass Band has just returned from a very successful music tour to Lichfield's German twin town of Limburg an der Lahn. The Band, which rehearses weekly at the Power Station, has members from Lichfield and Burntwood, as well as from Rugeley, Stafford and Walsall, and the initial contact with Limburg was made two years ago, when the Nether Stowe High School musicians performed there. Last year, the Youth Wind Orchestra from Limburg's Music School visited Lichfield over Easter and enjoyed an evening of music together with the Power Station Brass Band, and from then on the idea of a return visit was pursued.

The band's arrival in Limburg on Thursday afternoon coincided with the opening of the four day wine festival, an opportunity to sample wine from 29 wine producers whose vineyards lie between R?desheim and Wiesbaden along the river Rhine. As most of the party were visiting Limburg for the first time, the Deputy Mayor welcomed them all at the Town Hall the following morning, followed by a guided tour of the old town. Limburg's quaint, narrow, steep streets, lined with rows of beautifully restored half timbered and gabled houses, and all crowned by the imposing cathedral, never cease to impress its many visitors and tourists.

As part of the wine festival, the band were due to play outside in the city centre on Saturday evening, but as heavy thunderstorms threatened, they performed inside the wonderful concert venue of the Town Hall. The 28 musicians in the band, ably conducted by Russell Perry, played a delightful programme of pieces, from traditional folk songs to pop songs by the Beatles, selections from the musicals "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and "Joseph", and music written specifically for brass bands. Samantha Dewally introduced the pieces and the band members, and wowed the audience with her perfect German and cheerful enthusiasm. The evening was a great success, with a standing ovation and two encores!

On Sunday, the weather was glorious for the open air service, barbecue and concert which took place at Runkel, some 5 miles upstream from Limburg, on the island between the lock and river Lahn. The band played for the service, and then again for an informal concert whilst the audience enjoyed the barbecue. What an idyllic location, with boaters and bathers, a fabulous view of the river bridge, and quaint town and towering fortress across the river, and an appreciative audience!

John Graves, President of the Band, spoke for all the group when he said: "We have had a wonderful time in Limburg and thank all the organisers for helping to make our trip such a success. Your warm welcome has been overwhelming, and we look forward to returning in the near future to play for you all once again".

The Band's next outing is to The Black Country Living Museum over the weekend of 9 and 10 August. For further details, contact Terry Yates on 01543 307196. For further information about Lichfield's twinning, contact the City Council's Twinning Officer, Julie Dewhurst, on 01543 309851.