Moving large and heavy boxes full of bells on a long journey is no joke, not to mention our specially modified tables and padding to avoid damage to the bells when playing. Despite a series of unexpected challenges it was an interesting experience, and we had the opportunity to perform in some novel locations. We even had to jump start our bus at one point, and were to be seen pushing it, by hand, off the Eurotunnel shuttle on return to Folkestone!
Highlight of the tour was undoubtedly the Dutch National Carillon Museum at Asten. Here there are bells from ancient China, from around the world, and from continental Europe where the “Carillon” is popular in churches. This is a system by which tunes can be played on tower bells either via a special type of keyboard, or by a large drum like a giant music box. You can visit their website and see some of the exhibits, but be warned it is only available in Dutch!
We stayed in Amstelveen, a community near Amersterdam that is twinned with our neighbouring town of Woking in Surrey, and gave a concert at the local music school.
Sunday morning we particpated in a service at a Lutheran church outside Amsterdam, where the bells made a fine sound with the acoustics of the high roofed church.