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College Musicians Tour: Amsterdam

Music Department Trip to Amsterdam February 2017

This is an account of the trip by Ryan Williams (07GSA)   

On 8 February 2017 a selection of members of the College Choirs and Bands travelled to Amsterdam to perform two concerts. The students were accompanied by our teachers. Performances were to be given at a home for the retired and at a beautiful church.

We all rehearsed a lot leading up to the trip before it was time to go.

We had to take all the instruments and equipment needed for the performances with us. We travelled by ferry and coach via Calais to Belgium and the Netherlands with the final destination being Amsterdam. We left at midnight and did not arrive at our hostel, 'Stay Okay Harlem,' until the following evening: we were all relieved to finally arrive. Nevertheless,  the sights on the long journey were compensation for the hours spent on the coach. When we arrived in Amsterdam a foot of snow had fallen which was a lovely surprise and made a good start to our trip which was to last five days.

As part of the trip we also visited lots of interesting places in the area including: the Clara Maria Cheese Farm & Clog Factory; a windmill; a canal cruise on Amsterdam’s waterways; an art museum; the Opera house and the Efteling Theme Park.

We all enjoyed the Clara Maria Cheese Farm & Clog Factory which was very interesting. We were shown how to make our own wood carving of a clog from a block of wood and we were given the opportunity to taste a great variety of different cheeses. Some of the cheeses we saw there were enormous and would need a small mortgage to buy!  

The City of Amsterdam was amazing. Spaghetti Junction would be one way to describe the hundreds of bikes, trams, cars and people whizzing around. The snowflakes that fell on that day were so large and they were shaped into beautiful patterns.  

Another highlight of the trip was the opera tour. Our guide was really funny telling us stories from the building’s history and showing us around the whole site. It was like a Tardis in disguise!

One of the things that surprised me at our performance in the residential home, and that I will remember for a long time, was how pleased the elderly people were to see us and how grateful they were that we had come to perform for them. One resident came over to shake my hand and to say 'Thank you'.  

The second performance in the church had even been announced in the local paper and radio station. Our concert was very well attended and the church was filled with people who came to see us perform. It was really exciting and the performance went amazingly well. We celebrated with Domino’s pizza afterwards – fab!  

Another fond memory is that I was not the only male to look green after getting off the ‘Baron’ rollercoaster at the Efteling Theme Park. Isn’t that right, Mr Stock?!  

We would like to thank Mr and Mrs Stock, Mr Rigler and Mrs Lees for taking us on this amazing trip.