Sunday, March 13, 2011
Explosion of Music and Imagination: Fasnacht
A few pictures, rather hastily chosen, can't begin to portray the creativity and sound of Fasnacht. The costumes are amazing. There is a wonderful band on every corner, most restaurants, and on many band stands - all playing their hardest and attracting crowds. It's amazing. On Friday and Saturday evenings, the bands play and the people in costume rove amongst the food and drink vendors. It's an exciting impact on the senses.
During the parade, Thomas had secured us VIP seating in one of the bleachers errected in the middle of the street, and we had seats on the front row. Wave after wave of bands came up the main street toward us, all in costumes, each more surprising than the one before. Much of the music in the parade is drum and bugle corps arrangements, American New Orleans jazz, and rock and roll beats. It's all loud, fun and display real musical ability. Anyone, with permission, may join in the parade with an imginative costume, pushcart, or bicycle powered "float." Everyone was throwing conffetti, candy, and even small bottles of vodka.
Bern is a surprisingly "small town" big city. Lots of people know each other and greet with hugs and kisses. Of the 54 local bands in the parade, many musicians have played with one another over the years. Each year, the themes and costumes change. There are children and babies (being pushed in strollers) in the bands, as well as people of a certain age. What they all have in common is good will, enthusiasm, talent, and imagination. It's a street party, a fourth of July celebration, a proud community display, and a chance too greet old friends and family. I have never seen anything like it.
I wish you had all been here to experience it.
After the Parade, Beatrice, Helen's mother, took us to dinner at a lovely restaurant overlooking Bern and the River Are. We ate while the lights came on below us. We then returned to the city to see Helen and Thomas's band play once more in a restaurant called the Belle Epoque. We then left her on the platform in the train station for her return to Interlocken.
Bill and I leave tomorrow morning very early on the train to Geneva. Then, we have a flight on EasyJet to Gatwick. We should be in our cottage in Tonbridge by the middle of the afternoon, if all our connections work as well as last time. I'll put this up now, and edit later.