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Reports 2008

Please note that not every group receives direct cash aid from the Association.

Linlithgow Reed Band   Murdoch Kennedy Conference   Newlands Concert Brass     Youth Exchange

Groups visiting West Lothian:

May 2008 : Newland Concert Brass are a Brass Band based in Bathgate, West Lothian and they first visited Germany in 1988 during a concert tour of the Hochsaurland Kreis in July of that year. This visit developed links with both the area and a local band, the Neheim Husten Fanfaren Korps and a Twinning Agreement was signed the following year between the two bands. Both bands have since enjoyed several exchange visits over the years. Newland Concert Brass last visited Neheim in 2004. Some members of Newland Concert Brass were also delighted to be invited to take part in the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the Fanfaren Korps in 2006.
This year the Band were delighted that the Fanfaren Korps were able to come to Bathgate to help celebrate the 150th Procession in June.
Most of the Fanfaren Korps arrived in Bathgate (by coach and ferry) on Thursday 5th June and left to go home on Monday 9th June. Four of the Fanfaren Korps members chose to fly over on Wednesday 4th June and specifically arranged to stay in the Fairway Hotel in Bathgate.
11 families of members/friends of Newland Concert Brass hosted the Fanfaren Korps, providing accommodation and meals.
On Friday the Fanfaren Korps visited Edinburgh as many had expressed an interest in spending a day there during their visit. The host families provided dinner for their guests on Friday evening and each family did their own thing with their guests. (eg walks around Bathgate, visit to the shows, Edinburgh ghost tour etc). The Fanfaren Korps members who were staying at the Fairway were invited to and got a minibus to Fauldhouse and spent the evening with friends from Newland whom they had known since 1988 when the partnership first began.
On Saturday the Fanfaren Korps took part in Bathgate Procession and particularly enjoyed this and were delighted with the response from the people of Bathgate. In the evening the Fairway Function Suite was booked for both bands where they enjoyed a buffet and disco, renewing old friendships and making new ones.
On Sunday the Fanfaren Korps were invited to play at the parade to mark the beginning of Torphichen Gala Centenary week. They also played a short programme afterwards before being provided with cream teas. The Fanfaren Korps then went by bus to Stirling. The bus parked at Stirling Castle and members chose what they wanted to do - some members went on an open top bus tour.
On Sunday evening, an informal time was enjoyed by band members at the Royal British Legion where members could relax and presentations were made. (Pens, coasters, certificate, Newland pin badges, commemorative Newland Concert Brass and Fanfaren Korps 2008 badges) Fanfaren Korps members also received a free first drink.
On Monday the Fanfaren Korps left Bathgate to return home to Germany with many thoughts from both Bands that Newland will be visiting the Hochsaurland again soon.

[Many thanks to Elspeth Grant of Newlands Concert Brass for contributing this article.]
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Groups visiting Hochsauerland:

The Band enjoyed a very successful playing holiday in West Lothian's twinned district of Hochsauerlandkreis (HSK) in North Germany.
The Band playing in Klosterkirche Oelinghausen, Hochsauerland

Long and careful planning, starting from July 2007 when Murdoch Kennedy and Edgar Liddle payed a private visit to friends in HSK, followed through by a supportive and enthusiastic committee, brought a short but happy Easter weekend to a great conclusion.
The Band playing in Herdringen, HSK

Many thanks also to Brian McSherry's expertise in road transport, the bus packing and travel was slicker than on previous occasions. (this was the Reed Band's fourth visit to Germany)
The Band marching in Herdringen, HSK

For more information about the Band and for more photos, please click here.
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June 2008 : International Conference on Culture, Education and Tourism in successful partnership networks for the Europe of tomorrow.
Bad Fredeburg, Hochsauerlandkreis, Germany.
15th - 18th June 2008
This conference arose from a successful seminar held two years ago, entitled Voneinander, fur Einander lernen, involving the various twinning partners of Hochsauerlandkreis and its communities. The seminar sought to identify ways in which the various partners could exchange ideas and this year the emphasis was on tourism.
Delegates included tourism officials from Olesno in Poland and Alba Iulia in Romania, as well as twinning activists from Rixensart in Belgium and various towns in Hochsauerlandkreis.
The conference was opened on the Sunday afternoon by a welcoming address from Herr Georg Scheuerlein from HSK and a visit to a concert in Wormbach. On returning to Bad Fredeburg, the delegates were addressed by the Landrat, Herr Dr Karl Schneider, who set the scene for what would follow over the next few days.
As a representative of West Lothian, I was invited to give a thirty minute presentation highlighting an example of Best practice in tourism in our local area. Given my experience of involvement in a number of projects in Linlithgow, most notably the Folk Festival, I chose to focus on the very successful Pride and Passion Linlithgow initiative, which has done a great deal in recent years to engender a community-led, “bottom-up” approach to tourism and stimulating interest in what the historic Royal Burgh has to offer visitors. The project has been instrumental in bringing local organisations together in a unified approach to tourism and, this, in itself, can also be seen as a localised example of the Voneinander fureinander lernen principle.
I began my presentation by giving a brief outline of my interests and personal Pride and Passion and continued with specific examples of local groups working together. Given that I was speaking the day before the annual Riding of the Marches - which I was missing for the first time! - I touched on the ancient traditions and recreated the 5am “awakening”, complete with nips of Black Bitch whisky. Unfortunately, the music clips on my presentation could not be used, and so the other delegates had to make do with me singing and whistling various well-known Marches Day melodies.
My presentation was very well received and the residue of the whisky was used the next morning for toasts of Long live the Marches over breakfast!
The officials from Hochsauerlandkreis and the Sauerland tourist authority gave presentations on various tourism projects which have been undertaken in their area, including the very impressive bike-park and bob-bahn in Winterberg. In a very enlightening lecture, the Kreisdirektor, Herr Winfried Stork, highlighted the importance of knowing your market and outlined how HSK had identified bike tourism and hiking tourism as two areas where they could be particularly strong. Huge investment has been made in several projects in these areas and site visits were made to see some of these, including the stretch of the Ruhrtalradweg which passes through Arnsberg and an area of the Sauerland Waldroute. Initiatives such as these have been responsible for a significant rise in tourist numbers in recent years.
The great importance of working together to promote tourist facilities can also be seen by the way the various authorities which border the many lakes in the Sauerland have come together in a co-ordinated marketing move entitled Seen im Sauerland. A lot of work is being done to improve facilities around the lakes and the conference delegates visited a project in Langscheid on the Sorpesee.
My reflections on the conference would be that I learned a great deal about tourism initiatives in Hochsauerlandkreis and its partner authorities and communities and I trust that I was able to inform the delegates about some of the things happening here. With the help of West Lothian Council , West Lothian Tourist Forum and the Linlithgow Pride & Passion group, I organised a publicity stall, where I distributed leaflets, DVDs, maps and other promotional material. I certainly believe that the conference fulfilled its aim of learning from each other, for each other.

Murdoch A.M.Kennedy
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Fourteen West Lothian youngsters and two adult staff travelled to Hochsauerland, staying at the Brilon Youth Hostel from 14th to 18th July 2008, then homestays for 2 further nights. Their itinerary included a welcome to the Kreishaus in Meschede; sightseeing at the Möhne dam, Ettelsberg cable car, glassblowing and the Summer toboggan run; a guided tour of Düsseldorf; adventure at Fort Fun and a visit to the wildlife park near Vosswinkel.

Editor's choice quotations from our Scottish teenagers at their recall meeting held some 3 months later in West Calder :-
best points? : "Homestay"; "seeing different cultures"; "meeting new friends";
what did you learn about yourself? : "I love Germany"; "possible to mix with others who don't speak the same language";
what did you learn about other people? : "everyone has a skill to share"; "scared about homestay, but it was the best night I had";
were your expectations met? : "Germans made it easy for us by speaking too much English"; "a great opportunity everything perfect";
anything you would do differently? : "attitude to alcohol different - no one drank to get steaming like in Scotland"; "no litter"; "festival had a community feel";
German way of life different? : "cleaner streets"; "people friendly"; "Bush and Blair went into Iraq. Germans said no"; "How long do Germans need to apologise?"
What have you learned from the project - what will you use to shape your future? : "learn German language"; " try new experiences"; "recognise when people are upset";
anything else you would like to add? : "thanks for the opportunity"; "Germany was amazing and would definitely go back"; "Nein!"; "been texting each other"; "hostel amazing quality";

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