flag of republic of South Africa  
South African guests visiting Gebenbach

  poster of international youth music festival in Amberg   After several weeks full of preparations and expectations they finally arrived: The Blasmusik Gebenbach received visitors from South Africa. The Hoerskool Choir from Eldoraigne/South Africa participated at the international music festival which took place in Amberg/Germany. The Blasmusik Gebenbach hostet the choir for one week.   Hoerskool Choir from Eldoraigne  

  On July 19th, shortly after 6 o'clock pm, the 50 boys and girls, together with their adult attendants arrived in Gebenbach. They were welcomed by the local supervisors: the youth representative of the city of Amberg, Sibylle Lederer, the chairman of the Blasmusik Gebenbach, Anita Freimuth and the vice-mayor of Gebenbach, Franz Gottschalk. The host families quickly recognized "their" children and took them home  

  invitation in the town hall   The mayor of Gebenbach, Peter Dotzer, gave an invitation to the whole choir and its official representatives, director Dawie Boshoff and the principal Frank Ross, together with the chairmen of the Blasmusik and the local choirs in the town hall of Gebenbach. The guests payed a lot of attention to the words of the mayor. After some information about Gebenbach and its surroundings Dotzler gave a coat of arms of Gebenbach to Frank Ross. The members of the choir acted quite enthusiastic when Dotzer told them that some beer was waiting for them in the local restaurant "Obermeier". Afterwards the guests wrote an entry in the golden book of Gebenbach.  

  At the same night the first concert took place in the church of Gebenbach. The Eldoraigne Hoerskool choir, directed by Dawie Boshoff, and the MGV Gebenbach together with the Landfrauensingkreis Gebenbach, both lead by Josef Bäumler, entertained the visitors quite well. At the beginning of the concert, Eva König who was travelling with the South Africans, presented the choir and explained some of the songs that were sung in English and in several South African languages. The church was filled up to the last place by listeners. Those got so enthusiastic about the rhythmic moves and songs of the guests that they wouldn't let them go without several extra songs.

   performance in Amberg  
  At the end of the concert Anita Freimuth, part of the organization team, thanked the South African choir. She called the concert a high light that hardly ever takes place in Gebenbach. Right after the concert the participants met at the local restaurant Obermeier. There the beer the mayor promised to the young people and some gigantic pretzels, donated by the local bakery Kredler, were waiting.

  South Africans enjoying Bavarian beer   In the course of the week many further gatherings like this first one followed. After each concert, which took place in the context of the international music festival, host families and choir members visited local pups and discos. The Hahnbacher Marktfest, a kind of fair, suited just fine because the boys and girls from South Africa had the chance of getting to know Bavarian customs. Some of the South African girls also tried out dirndln from host families and then were hardly to be differentiated from the Bavarian Kirwamoidln.  

  During the day the group undertook also trips into the closer and further surroundings of Gebenbach. Thus they visited Amberg, Sulzbach Rosenberg, Regensburg and of course the Monte Kaolino. Quite enthusiastically and with many purchase bags carrying with them they returned from enterprises. Some even had to buy another traveling bag to store all their souvenirs. Some of them were quite taken with the feather/spring beds, in which they were allowed to sleep. These are not usual in South Africa and some one gladly would have carried one with him, if it had fit into the suit-case.  

  The week just flew by and in the last evening one celebrated together on the Annaberg. There the choir sang quite spontaneous a few songs at the end of the service until one allowed oneself a Bavarian beer for the last time. The common performances of the Blasmusik Gebenbach and the South African choir on the music festival in Amberg, as well as the every evening enterprises tied both groups together so that one had to say sadly goodbye to each other.
As a memory of their journey the chairman Anita Freimuth presented collages from the performances and the visited places to conductor Dawie Boshoff and head master Frank Roos.
  Anita Freimuth presenting collages  
They said thank you itself for the large hospitality of the families. The whole group felt very well here in Gebenbach and the surroundings. They hope for reunion, maybe to take place in South Africa. Likewise, Anita Freimuth as chairmen of the Blasmusik Gebenbach cordially thanked the host families. Without the spontaneous willingness of the host families this meeting and the participation in the international music festival would not have been possible. Many thanks to all families and to all persons concerned.

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Some explanations:

Blasmusik: Brass band, also the name of the Wind Ensemble in Gebenbach.
Landfrauensingkreis: Name of a choir in Gebenbach. Members of that choir come from Gebenbach an the villages around it.
MGV: Abbreviation for 'Männergesangsverein' - A male voice choir.
Kirwa: sort of fair, usually the anniversary of the consecration of the local church. A Kirwa usually lasts from three days, from saturday to monday and is clebrated in nearly every village around Amberg and Sulzbach.
Kirwamoidln: 'Moidln' is Bavarian slang for girls. A 'kirwamoidl' is some kind of hostess wearing 'dirndl', performing traditional dances and promoting a kirwa.
Dirndl: traditional bavarian dress for women.
Monte Kaolino: a huge pile of quartz sand as a spin-off from mining industry were one can go skiing in the summer.
Annaberg: a pilgrimage church in Sulzbach-Rosenberg with a festival in the week around the name day of St Anna (July 26th).

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