Performing at Disneyland in Paris was the highlight of this year's summer tour by Hebden Bridge Junior Band. A total of 42 members and parents, along with musical director Neil Robinson, entertained the citizens of the French capital with a number of outdoor concerts. The band played bandstands in Parc Champs De Mar at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, Square Jean XXIII behind Notre Dame Cathedral and Parc George Brassens - as well as the grand finale on centre stage at Disneyand Paris on the last day of the six day tour.
Tour leader Nic Etherington said the tour, held every two years, was a great success, with each concert being very well received by the French audiences and tourists alike.
'At each venue we would arrive to find few people there - but once the band started playing, it was amazing to see people gravitate towards the bandstand and enjoy the band play for an hour in the sunshine. We couldn't provide enough chairs for them!
"The children played - and behaved magnificently. We were so proud of them and they were superb ambasadors for Hebden Bridge''
The band wore t-shirts printed by Sutcliffe Farrars, of Mytholmroyd. And while the tour was largely paid for by the earlier fund-raising efforts of the young musicians, it was helped greatly by grants from Hebden Royd Town Council and the Rotary Club of Hebden Bridge.
"We are very grateful to everyone who has helped make the tour possible financially," said Nic Etherington."The band tour is a really important tradition for band members, who work so hard throughout the year. It's a wonderful reward and helps to cement friendships, as well as strengthening their sense of belonging to the band. For the parents too, it's lovely to see them perform so well and have fun. The band is run entirely on a voluntary basis by parents, so it's really important to get parents to feel involved. Each year we have to say goodbye to members who are leaving to start work or go away to university, the tour is our way of saying thankyou for years of committment to the band. For the younger members it's their first tour & really helps them feel confident with the group and performing in different settings."