40th Annual Music Exchange
In October 2016 John Port School Wind Band and the Melle Gymnasium band happily celebrated their 40th Annual music exchange together. After the Second World War, town twinning was set up as a way of fostering friendship and understanding of different cultures across Europe and bringing former foes together to lasting partnerships.
When Derby was first twinned with the city of Osnabruk in Germany back in 1976, Head of Music the late John Atkinson and Herr Rolf Lieske made contact and set up the first exchange between the bands. This has been continued by Mr Alan Losh who led an amazing seventeen exchanges, and Herr Stefan Sporreiter who still currently teaches and directs the Melle Band. The John Port Band set off on the Ferry in October 1977 in gale force winds and when they arrived in Germany the students stayed with host families. The format has little changed over the years with the bands visiting each other on alternate years to perform in concerts together and go on various cultural trips. Aside from the wonderful music, friendships are made that last a life time. It was wonderful this year to have many former students join us at the concert and join us on stage to play in the traditional finale of Instant Concert and Hootenanny. There were several former students at the concert who had taken part on that very first exchange: Alison Mottram, Dave Neville (who now teaches brass at John Port and supports the wind band), his brother Phil, and Chris Marshall.
Our current students are very much looking forward to continuing the anniversary celebrations with our trip to Melle in October 2017.