On Wednesday 2nd July, 18 members of our Band flew to Italy to participate in the Circoscrizioni in Folclore, an eight day festival of folk music performances in and around the city of Treviso, 30km north of Venice. Billeted in the local school in the suburb of Canizzano to the south west of the city, and fed at a local farm or Pastoria, we were the guests of Pastoria del Burgo Furo, a local folk group of around 30 people who perform traditional Italian folk dances and songs.
Also participating in the festival were the traditional dance group Radost from Belarus, Ballet Folklorico del Ateneo Fuente de la Universidad Autonoma de Coahuila from Mexico, the A.U.C. Folklore Ensemble from Egypt and also Ruzzaniti Pavani, another traditional Italian folk group from Padova.
MONIGO – JULY 3RD
After our arrival on Wednesday evening we relaxed the next day with a visit to the Oasi Naturale in Cervara before an evening performance at Monigo, a hamlet near Canizzano. With only the Mexicans and ourselves playing it was a brief but well received show with a short presentation to each group from a local dignitary.
MUSILE DI PIAVE – JULY 4TH
Our first big performance was on a specially constructed stage in the town square at Musile di Piave. We were the first of the four groups on, followed by the Egyptians, Mexicans and finally the Belarusians, and played to a very appreciative audience of around 400 people. Once we were finished we had ample time to enjoy the other performances and, of course, sample the local beers and wines! At the end of the evening we were all called back onto the stage for a presentation to each of the groups from the local councillor.
SPETTACOLO, TREVISO – JULY 5TH
Saturday was the busiest day with the main festival concert taking place in the Piazza dei Signori at 9pm. First thing in the morning we marched through the various areas of the Citizen’s Market, held just inside the west gate of the city. By the time we’d finished the temperature was heading for the mid 30s so after some well-deserved refreshments it was back to the Pastoria for lunch and a wee siesta.
5pm saw us back in the old quarter of the city to lead a parade through the streets to the main Piazza. Upon reaching the already-busy square we filed onto the stage for a quick set of tunes to whet the crowd’s appetite!
Then we headed off into the back streets, our trusty guides leading us to the Osteria ‘Alla Grotto’, a typical Italian-style Inn, where we were warmly welcomed, fed and watered. After a good rest and some cheerful conversation with the owners, we played a few tunes outside the establishment to express our thanks. By now time was cracking on, so we quickly headed back to the main square where we learned we were on second after our hosts, the Pastoria del Burgo Furo,who put on an excellent show of traditional Italian folk dances and songs.
Whilst the other groups appeared on stage and then began their show, we started at the rear of the Piazza, and played down through the colonnade and up onto the stage. With the Piazza packed with a huge crowd of 4000-5000 spectators and the beautiful backdrop of the old city on a warm summer’s night, the band played a varied mix of traditional, contemporary and European tunes, including, of course, Amazing Grace, which went down to rapturous applause.
After coming off stage we set up camp in Signore & Signori, one of the many bars around the square, to enjoy the rest of the performances and show support for the other groups. Finally, at midnight we were all invited back on stage for a presentation from the mayor of Treviso after which we made our way back to the bar. Many of us thought the night was over, but the good-natured bar owner struck a deal with us, a few tunes for a few beers!
So, with the band squeezing many of the punters out into the square we rattled through a few sets to work up a thirst and gratefully accepted our rewards!! The square was now emptying so our guides ushered us onto the buses and whisked us off to the Pastoria for yet more food and wine. Twas a very merry bunch that sang their way back to base and in the distortion of it all, it was only once we reached the Pastoria that we realised one of our party was missing! Oops! Sorry Gail!
SPETTACOLO, CANIZZANO – JULY 6TH
Breakfast on Sunday morning was a sombre affair with not everyone managing the 8am start. By 10am however, we were all set to go, as we took part in the annual Sunday service held especially for all the groups attending the festival and the citizens of Canizzano. A representative from each group spoke a few words of thanks and then each group played briefly. Afterwards we were led to an open-air marquee adjacent to the church where each group performed a 20 minute show for the mayor and other prominent local dignitaries before an exchange of gifts.
After a well-needed lunch, and a brief siesta, we headed to the small town of Paese to perform in the grounds of a beautiful villa bequeathed to the people of the town and used as a kind of social club. Bathed in glorious sunshine, all the groups performed to a large audience with ample opportunity to enjoy several well deserved beers!
In the evening we heading out to S. Antonino, one of the surrounding towns, for another performance. No stage this time but a very appreciative crowd none the less. After a quick 30 minute set it was straight on to the tour bus and we were whizzed back to the marquee in Canizzano at breakneck speed for a second performance. Logistica complicata! Tired but ever keen we entertained the assembled audience for 30 minutes before retiring to base. Some of the more energetic continued to party into the small hours but for the majority it was lights out
THE BOAT TRIP TO VENICE – JULY 7TH
Our excellent hosts had organised a trip to Venice for all the groups. A short coach journey took us to a point on the river east of Treviso where we embarked. The two hour trip to Venice passed at a very relaxed pace with an hour’s stop at the small island of Burano, famous for its brightly painted houses and courtyards. Once back on board we had a quick lunch and set course across the lagoon for the heart of Venice. As we approached we struck up the pipes and docked by St Mark’s Square. Imagine the surprised looks on the faces of the tourists, many of whom turned out to be Scottish, as the strains of the pipes were heard floating across the water!
After a few hours sight seeing in the scorching heat we all boarded the boat armed with souvenirs and headed back across the lagoon for home. Now it was the turn of the Egyptians who entertained everyone on the top deck with some excellent dances and traditional songs, whilst the Belarusians loosened up on the prow with some renditions of lesser known Baltic hits!
To round the day off we were treated to a party at the Pastoria during which everyone relaxed and the drum corps gave an impromptu rendition of Silent Night
VILLORBA & PREGANZIOL – JULY 8TH & 9TH
On both these occasions we played in the evening. At Villorba we played to around 300 people and then relaxed in a local bar before returning to the stage for a presentation. Suitably warmed up, a wee impromptu performance outside the bar finished the night off nicely to the appreciation of the crowd!
At Preganziol the occasion was to mark the opening of a new public amphitheatre and we were the first Band, once the ribbon had been cut, to play on the stage. Once we were finished we had time to relax and again dutifully sampled the local beer. At the end of the evening we were all called back onto the stage for a final presentation from the local councillor and thus ended our final performance. A quick trip back to base and then the final night party ensued with many people not seeing the inside of their dorms that night! Willows were stripped and Sergeants dashed as the night wore on and everyone joined in before a fond farewell early the next morning.
THE LAST SUPPER – JULY 10TH
We also had the opportunity to meet a local traditional Italian Pipe Group, Le Baghe della Zosagna, who supported us continually throughout our stay and invited us to play at a traditional country restaurant owned by one of the band members. Located just outside Preganziol this was a beautiful traditional country-style restaurant.
First we performed a few sets for our hosts and the assembled clientele and then the Italian Pipe Band played some traditional tunes. After a group photo we were treated to an excellent four course meal during which we were entertained by various musicians including our friend Francesco on the accordion! It was a great way to end an excellent visit and to round it off the Band played one last time before we left.
Many thanks to Gianni, Mario and the people of the Pastoria del Burgo Furo for a wonderful experience. In particular, thanks to our chaperones Rossella and Andrea, Luciano for all his help, the coach drivers Paulo and Nino, wee Toni, Monica, Beatrice, Francesco, Dennis and Antonella.
We look forward to seeing you all again soon and to returning to Treviso in the near future. Grazie e Ciao!