This year from the 6th-9th June the Durham University Brass Band went on their first ever tour. They stayed in Kortrijk in Belgium and had a great time giving well-received concerts and taking in the sights. Their concerts included an afternoon in Ostend Bandstand where they performed to an audience of over 200 bystanders, shoppers and restaurant goers. The final concert of their tour was an open air concert on De Panne beach in the sunshine which was enjoyed by performers and audience alike. Their repertoire was varied including a wide range of traditional brass band classics such as marches and hymns, as well as arrangements of popular and film music written by some of their members. The concerts were conducted jointly by Matthew Ruddock and Abi Groocock, the outgoing and incoming conductors of the band.

Although the tour was short, there was plenty of time for sight seeing. The first day was mainly taken up with travel and a short rehearsal before enjoying the selection of Belgian beers in the hotel bar. The next day the band explored Ghent, which included taking a canal cruise around the historic city. The third day the band visited Bruges and were given a demonstration and tasting session in a Belgian chocolate factory before enjoying the afternoon sunshine, shopping, relaxing on the beach and swimming in the sea at De Panne. Later that evening, a member of the band’s birthday was celebrated with a party in the hotel and a trip bowling. The final morning before travelling back to the UK gave the band a chance to visit Tyne Cot Cemetery; a cemetery of war graves on the Passchendaele road where a number of Northumberland and Durham Light Infantry soldiers were killed, and which gave the cemetery its name. This was a very poignant and moving experience for the whole band.

The first ever DUBB tour was such a success the band are considering future tours to Germany, Barcelona, and a ‘home nations’ tour.