Menden; great fun in Germany!

My apologies for being so slow with updating this blog; we have been so busy! But there has been lots which has happened over our first month with the team. It’s crazy to think that it’s been over a month since we started with the new band, but it has been such an exciting first month and one of the highlights has to be Germany!

Our journey on Saturday was a very interesting 12 hours; being in 5 different countries at some point over that day, it was great to see the other countries and the journey wasn’t too bad in terms of traffic either. We arrived at about 9pm in Menden which is where we were going to be spending the week based. Our translator for the week, Johannes, met us there with a buffet tea along with 3 of their young people who were a bit shy to use their German, but we had a great time getting to know them.

Little did we know that we were going to be doing something slightly different that night. When we go on tour we usually are provided with hosts who are connected with the local churches, offering to accommodate us for the tour. It turned out that thy hadn’t managed to organise hosts and so therefore that night, we were going to be all sleeping in the church! Something I had never done before!

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Us girls were in one room on the top floor, the boys had the main church and Andy and Joy had the room in the basement. It was a hilarious experience but we were starting to wonder whether we would have hosts for the rest of the week or whether we would have to live in the church for the whole week!

SUNDAY: On Sunday we were part of the church service in the morning, so we set all our gear up and were ready for the day. They had an infant baptism service which was amazing to watch and be part of. The church was jam packed with people which was incredible! People even had to stand for the whole thing, we couldn’t fit everyone in! At the end of the service we performed ‘Got a reason’ and plugged our mini gig which would be happening that afternoon. We were part of the family fun day they had organised. Outside there was a stage, a BBQ and there was entertainment through the whole day.

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We enjoyed the afternoon in the gorgeous sun (it was BEAUTIFUL weather!!) and loved being able to perform to a crowd in the church at the end of the afternoon. At the end of the evening we were discussing about the hosting situation. Someone was hearing our conversation and heard that we still were slightly stuck for accommdation. He very kindly rung up his wife and checked and then told me and Becky they would be happy to have us to stay with them. The Krok family took us in, and even though they said they had never done anything like this before, they were pretty good at it! We loved getting to know them during that week and were very appreciative of their offer to have us. Andy and Joy got a place to stay too with another couple from the church. The boys, however, had to stay in the church for the week… I think they secretly enjoyed being able to have jamming sessions with the instruments each night though!

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MONDAY: On Monday we had a slightly different day; we were part of some outreach work that the church were putting together. As part of the work they were doing that week, they were interviewing people about what ‘God, Church and Belief’ means to you. As Taste we were filmed being interviewed about our views on those things. It was interesting throughout the week to hear some of the opinions, especially from non Christians!

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We went into Menden on Monday and interviewed some passers by! After our morning in Menden we had to go to the school ready for tomorrow and unload our gear and set up ready for an 8am assembly ‘Concert’ in the morning.

Each evening this week we were able to spend time with some of the local young people. They had an amazing chef for the week, Micha, who provided us with food every day. Germans love their cheese! The evenings were also very special times where we were able to get to know the young people and spend time playing games with them. They were a great bunch!

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TUESDAY: An early start ready for our 8am gig in the school Bonifautiusschule – they loved it! This was our first school of the year and the new team did a brilliant job interacting with the students. Our concert in the morning even made it into the papers! It did seem pretty early to be doing a concert but it was an experience I will never forget!

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After the concert we also did 2 lessons, one English, one Religion. They seemed to enjoy finding out a bit more about us personally such as where we’re from and how we joined Taste. Their teacher even encouraged them to speak in English to us which was impressive!

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After our morning in the school and our pack down, we had a quick turn around before having to be set up and ready for the afternoon’s workshops at the youth church. We offered them the chance to learn more music from us; Becky and I took 5 girls and taught them some singing techniques in a singing workshop. They were great girls and seemed to enjoy singing Twist and Shout!

Checkpoint Jesus also took place after the workshops; we led some worship and Micha spoke about ‘Love’. It was great to see some familiar faces from Iserlohn who had come along to spend the evening with us in Menden!

WEDNESDAY: One of the most exciting parts of today was our trip to the prison in the morning. Last year we had been part of a service at the prison’s chapel on our final morning of that tour. The chaplain had loved it so much that she has invited us back into the prison this year to be part of an activities week for some of the prisoners. We are so excited about this week that will happen on our return in October. (Here is a link to my blog from that day, September 2013 https://bethanyreid.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/playing-somewhere-new/ )

THURSDAY: This morning was another morning of an early concert in another school! ‘Gelber Morgen’ school (Yellow Morning) This concert was 2 hours in length ( a long time when you need the toilet during it!!) and Paul even did a drum solo which the audience loved! We were only supposed to be doing a concert in this school but the headteacher came before we begun and asked if we would mind doing a lesson after, which we said yes to as it was great to be given this opportunity again. Similarly to Bonifatius, we looked at England and played 2 truths, 1 lie game them about each member of Taste.

Mine were;

I am scared of heights

I have no cousins

I have never broken a guitar string

Can you guess what the lie is?!?!?!

After a good morning in the school we had to be back in the church ready for more workshops again that afternoon. The set up at the church was familiar territory by now! It was also really good because it meant we were set up ready for our concert on the Saturday too.

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FRIDAY: A lie in!! Woop woop! We spent a nice long time with our hosts this morning over breakfast and then had a day off together which was lovely. We travelled to about an hour away, a place called Herne, where Andy and Joy have some good friends. They were people I had met last year in our first tour at Konfi Camp. They have a youth cafe in Herne which is open for the kids to come and hang out; they gave us lunch which was delicious and then we had the chance to go shopping in Herne for the afternoon. I loved spending time with the team, getting to know them better!

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We then met with Johannes that evening for our evening meal together. Johannes had been amazing for our week there; he not only was our translator but did a brilliant job at looking after us, organising us food and drink, being a roadie and just being an awesome friend! He is on a GAP year too this year, and is about to start his placement in Iserlohn which is where we are off to next time we go to Germany, so it’s really exciting we are able to spend more time with him! Thank you Johannes!

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SATURDAY: Today was our final day in Menden. We kick started the day together with a bible study together, recognising that we were offering our day to God and it was great to do that because we were able to share some of the stuff with the team which was more personal and grow closer together. After lunch, we did our final preparations towards the end of week gig with some rehearsing, setting up the final bits and bobs, and then getting ready. It was about 5:30 when we were having tea, and there were already a lot of young people gathering to get in. By the time it came to our gig starting, there was a full church with young people from the church, schools we had been in and others who had been brought along with their friends. The atmosphere was incredible. They were really up for getting involved and the atmosphere of the crowd really rubbed off onto us on stage. I was so hot after jumping up and down for so long!!!!!!

It was sad to say goodbye after the gig, we had made some great friends that week. Our first proper concert as a band couldn’t have gone better! Our first tour of the year was brilliant and it is so exciting to think we are only just beginning!

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