Battle of the Bands – Part Deux: Blasmusik in Bischberg, Germany

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I am kinda surprised I got this journal posted today. There was some doubt because I’ve just returned from Hilde and Adi’s where Hilde served a wonderful Sunday dinner of Sauerbraten, potato dumplings and gravy. Then we had plum torte and coffee, but not even the German coffee is staving off the yawns completely.

Remember if you click on any of the photos you can see the full-size version.

But on with the story:
A third instance of music marching past was the pièce de résistance of them all. The local marching band is called the Blasmusikverein Bischberg. Because German is so freaking logical, I can break this title down for you: Blas (horn) musik (music) verein (association) Bischberg (my little town).
They had their “jubilee” this year, which is means they celebrated their 50th anniversary. The posters around town announced that the celebration would start on Friday 18 June and go through the weekend until Sunday 20 June. Germans have a verb derived from the word “jubilee,” as in, “They jubileed this year.”
So on Friday I was ready and kept near the window most of the day. Unfortunately my husband had gone back to the States by this time so I was on my own.
The forecast was for rain and it did rain several times that day. The weather here was pretty much anybody’s guess, so no one knew what was going to happen.
Well, it was sprinkling a little around 7:00 p.m. when I heard music. So I ran to the window with my camera and waited for the band to come into view. I was feeling pretty smug about my bird’s-eye viewpoint and the fact that I was inside out of the rain until the band took a left turn off the main street just before it reached my apartment!
So I dashed down the stairs and saw a second band coming down the street.
They turned down the same little road.

So all us little children of Hamelin followed them!

Interestingly to me, I just looked up the Pied Piper of Hamelin to make sure I was spelling the name of the town correctly. It’s actually a modification of the spelling of a German town called Hameln about four hours from here.

Anyway, we followed them to a little square that’s just one block off the main drag. There I saw the first band; you can see them in red in the background of this photo.  The second band lined up in the middle of this little square.


A banner and ropelight sign announcing the 50th anniversary of Bischberg’s marching band hung on the building adjacent to the square:


As I waited, I heard more music, and ANOTHER band came marching into the square to take its place. They looked like minutemen to me, but they weren’t playing Yankee Doodle.
So I began to get the picture that we were all waiting for several more bands. I wondered how they would ever fit into the tiny square, but Europeans are good at that sort of thing.
As it began to rain a little harder, a fourth band showed up. I dig their green socks. The men were rockin’ those lederhosen!
Well, of course, there was a space left, so ANOTHER band marched in playing.


Notice the role of the fire department in all this. They acted as escorts to each group. They were decked out in their waterproof gear for this. 


A SIXTH band came in from another direction! Notice that each band had a kid or kids walking in front with a sign designating what village they were from. These boys looked particularly uninterested. But they were there.


Rockin’ the Dirndl!


Well, I guess either all the bands showed up or they simply ran out of room. In any case, the Burgermeister (yes, the actually use that word) of Bischberg began to make a speech. It continued to rain harder…
Dig his embroidered felt jacket and lederhosen. Note also the umbrellas sprouting among the crowd. Remember that I’d dashed out of the house without a jacket or umbrella. It was a very cold rain.
The Burgermeister welcomed everyone and apologized for the weather. I surmised that the bands were supposed to play together while each bandleader took turns leading them.
However, it began to rain so hard that the Burgermeister suggested that they try to stand under the skinny little trees in the square (which, by the way, is a parking lot on a normal day) for shelter. Here’s how THAT looked:


Notice the one dedicated young man holding the sign for his band while getting soaked in the process. Notice his cowardly band crowded under the trees.
I crouched down near the ground to get a shot of how hard it was raining by then. The guy in the white t-shirt is conducting the bands.



As I shot that last photo, a dog nosed my elbow. I turned to pet him and the lady who was holding his leash bent slightly in my direction to see if the dog was bothering me. He wasn’t. But as she did this, all the water from the top of her umbrella spilled right down the back of my neck! That was it. I decided I had enough photos and that I had absorbed enough of the local color. I was really wet and getting chilled, so I bailed. I tried to be inconspicuous as I faded out the back through the crowd and made my way laughingly back to my apartment. What a hoot!
Back inside as I dried my hair in a nice warm towel, I noticed the music had stopped, though the rain hadn’t. Apparently they had either finished their program or called it onaccounta rain because I saw this when I looked out the window:

Saturday I heard music off and on all day. I had a lot of writing to do that day so I didn’t investigate. However, for a break in the afternoon I decided to see if I could record some of the music on my computer from the window. It worked much better than I expected. I was trying to embed the audio file into this blog post, but I’ll spare you a long, sad story and just say it isn’t working yet. Maybe soon, I’ll let you know.

Sunday June 20 the energy in my little berg was very festive. Sunday mornings are usually pretty quiet, but this day people chattered excitedly as they went to and fro in Bavarian finery, getting ready for the big parade later that day.
I was excited, too, because Hilde and Adi were coming over to watch the parade from my window with me. It didn’t start til 1:00 p.m., but there was plenty to see beforehand. Hilde brought one of her famous marble cakes and I made coffee. We chowed as we watched the people gather on the street below.
I loved this guy’s look:
And lest any of you think the 80’s are dead, check out this guy’s space suit!


For the record, I left out all the pictures that I could have gotten really snide about!
So the parade started. I have to tell you that it was much longer than I expected, even though I didn’t really know what to expect. A total of 34 bands marched by! In between them were schools, guilds, organizations, you name it. I won’t show you a photo of every band, but I’m including a representative few. Plus several photos of interesting groups and what passed for floats. Hope you enjoy the parade!
For the parade, the kids holding the signs for each band were dressed in traditional clothes, too.




LOVE this car! I do not know where they keep it – no German garage would be large enough.





Chef’s guild handing out some kind of rice dish:

Brewery “float” handing out little cups of beer. Sure beats our candy and beads thing in the States.



Bicycle soccer team!


Elementary school:

Taking his job too seriously:

Fire department:

The parade was before the World Cup – this guy was really into it!


Florist guild:

Too confident there’s a band behind him:

Remember the funky green outfits from the last post? Here’s the whole fisherman’s guild. They held a Fischerfest the next weekend wherein they grilled carp from the river and, of course, beer. I walked through the fest but the smell of frying carp didn’t sit very well with me. It was a quick visit.


Here’s the daughter of my downstairs neighbor, the woman who runs the flower shop on the ground floor. Daughter’s name is Patricia and she is SO sweet, if a little loquacious!

Cheerleaders and baton twirlers:


No idea.

This is a group from Weipelsdorf where Hilde and Adi live. The woman in the lower left looking backward is Andrea, Hilde’s nephew’s wife.

Traditional dance group.

Another fire department. Notice the little baby in the wagon with his fireman gear on.


Trying to update the lederhosen look:

This guy was the flag bearer for a traditionally clad group – I think they are a dance group, too, but it wasn’t clear. The flag says, “Knights of the Chicken.”  Dunno.

The woman waving is Hilde’s good friend Margit. I’ve met her and she is just so personable. No surprise that she’s waving madly to make sure we see her.

This is a hunting club. Looks like a Zorro lookalike contest.

Kids’ soccer teams.


Bischberg’s basketball team.

This is an absolutely gorgeous old truck! I’ve seen it around a few times. Sounds awesome.

So after the parade, the entire town made its way to the soccer field about five blocks away where there was a huge beer tent set up, of course. I noticed the signs hanging from the tent ceiling – I think they were reunions of versions of the band through the years.

And, of course, there are always the young guys down front who have been drinking the longest and try to get in my lens as I try to get a shot of the band on the stage:

We sat outside at one of the many tables set up out there. I got this shot of an awesome ‘stache!

Who dat in Germany with a beer and her good friend Hilde? The beer was the local brew and very delicious.

Trumpet duets broke out from time to time on the festplatz.

Commemorative beer deckel – I have two of them myself.

I hope you enjoyed the parade and the account of the local flavor. Bischberg’s band played at the subsequent Wasserfest (water festival – I didn’t go but could hear it), Johannisfeuer celebration (bonfire and music) and assorted other little gatherings. The fest thing has died down over the hot summer, but it will gear up again in the fall as Oktoberfest approaches. Look for those stories.
Whew! I gotta stop spoiling you guys with so many photos. It takes me forever and a couple of diopters of eyesight to process and upload all of them. Don’t get used to it!
But I will leave you with this photo for no apparent reason:


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