Friends reunite during Advocate Band's tour

July 30, 2004|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

HERFORST, Germany - It didn't take long for Dudley Spoonamore of Danville and Jeremy Hall of Science Hill, trombone players with the Advocate Brass Band, to find their host family after they arrived in Herforst July 15.

The men were part of the Advocate Band's second European Tour that ended in the small German village.

Luther and Erica Mieyers, sons Stephan, 18, and Sebastian, 10, and daughter Sabrina, 16, had opened their home to the two during the band's first European Tour in 2000, so it was a joyful reunion to see one another again.

"I was a little apprehensive about staying with a family," said Spoonamore about the 2000 tour. "But they opened up their home like we were family. I've been looking forward to this during the entire trip."

The band had given concerts in Greece, Austria and Italy before ending the tour in Herforst.

"This is the highlight of the trip," said Hall.


The men spent two days and three nights with the Mieyerses in 2000.

"They cleared out one of the children's bedrooms and let us stay with them," said Spoonamore. "We had great meals."

"We could feel a real sense of community here," said Spoonamore.

2004 concert was different

The 2004 concert was different from the 2000 Herforst Music Festival that was held in a tent crowded with more than 3,000 people during pouring rain.

Since the last trip, the Herforst band had designed and built a new facility and remodeled an old elementary school by adding a kitchen and second floor.

The facility is used for concerts and community gatherings.

The Herforst community hosted a traditional German dinner for their American guests prior to the concert before a full house with many spectators standing for the performance.

The front of the new facility contains United States and German flags and an emblem of the town on a wall in front the center.

Master of ceremonies Walter Fectes welcomed the Advocate band and its sponsor Mary Schurz to Herforst for the second time.

He said hearing the Advocate Brass Band will help the Herforst band.

"We're very happy you had time to come to Herforst," said Fectes.

"We expect you more than children expect Santa Claus during Christmas. We look forward to your continued friendship and want to make it deeper."

Advocate Brass Band Conductor George Foreman returned the praise. "Herforst is one of the most special places on earth for us. If it's in God's will, we'll be here to play for you again sometime."

Fectes, who did not expect the band would have time to visit Herforst during the European tour, said he was "very, very happy" the band came and looks forward to seeing the bandsmen again.

"We have after-work parties. You did such a good job, we want to have an after-work party tonight, and we hope you have time to celebrate here in Herforst."

Four or five standing ovations

After four or five standing ovations by the more than 300 people crowded into the facility, and the final piece, "Stars and Stripes Forever," the crowd yelled "keep going."

But the band had to leave. It was 11 p.m., and the tour group had to make the 21/2 hour drive back to Frankfurt and be at the airport at 4:30 a.m. the next day for the trip home.

But before the group left, the host families and their American friends agreed they would meet again.

Most of the band stayed in Herforst during the 2000 tour and friendships have lasted.

This year, Spoonamore brought gifts to his host family. He presented them Great American Brass Band Festival T-shirts and pins along with the Advocate Brass Band's latest CD, "Hands Across the Sea."

Spoonamore remembered that Luther Mieyers is a specialist in ornamental iron and makes decorated metal works.

"The work I've seen is outstanding," said Spoonamore. "He's instilled his work ethics in his oldest son, who is following in his dad's footsteps."

Spoonamore, charter member of the Advocate Brass Band, has been a pre-engineering/technical education instructor for five years at Boyle County High School, where he played in the high school band until he graduated.

He returned to Boyle County and has been teaching for 21 years.

His wife, Mary, is a fifth-grade teacher at Perryville Elementary School. They have a son, Lee, 13, an eighth-grader at Boyle Middle School, and Kellie, 10, a fifth-grader at Perryville Elementary.

Spoonamore said his son will become a member of the Advocate band this fall, and his daughter is a member of Danville Children's Choir and plays the piano.

Hall, a research assistant at the University of Kentucky and an Advocate band member for several years, is working on his Ph.D degree at UK. He is a Centre College graduate.

Seeing the tears of the people in Herforst made the trip worthwhile, said Foreman, the Advocate band conductor.

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