RLPO – Czech Tour 2015 Day Five – The Return Journey

The weather on this trip has been absolutely fabulous. Once again, there was not a cloud in sight outside my hotel window. Well, it is time to go home after a really enjoyable tour. It is always good to get home but I think the RLPO is entitled to feel a modicum of sadness on leaving this great country with a populace that really likes classical music, almost like nowhere else on earth.unnamed-15

We got up early for breakfast as we had to leave the Imperial Hotel in Ostrava at 8.30am. The coaches arrived to take us to the station for the three and a half hour journey back to Prague, from where we would be catching our plane back to Manchester in the UK. Our coaches in Manchester would then deliver us back home to Liverpool in the early evening. Such has been the success of the tour that discussions are already underway for another tour of the Czech Republic.

Bring it on I say!


Chris Morley (horn) and Simon Cowen (trombone) are keen brass bandsmen. Chris (on the left), although French Horn in the RLPO, plays tenor horn in Greenalls Brass Band, whilst Simon conducts Besses o’th Barn Band, the oldest brass band in the world. Here they are, pictured proudly wearing their respective band shirts. There is a keen but friendly rivalry in the banding world!unnamed-13

This grand piano in Ostrava train station looks like it has taken a good hiding over the years. Either that or Paul Lewis arrived to catch an earlier train and gave it the Brahms D minor treatment!!!unnamed-12

We had to wait for about twenty minutes for our train on the sunny, warm platform.


This gentleman has got the right idea. His walking stick not only has a bicycle bell to clear slower pedestrians out of his way but also a holder for his can of beer! unnamed-6

Collette Astley-Jones plays French Horn as an amateur but works in for the RLPO administration  organising artistic planning, various ensembles as well as the orchestra. Orchestras need administrators to ensure the smooth running of events when on tour.11406534_924259517596541_3722572894360406927_o-1

These boys haven’t changed from their band shirts throughout the whole tour! Now they have swapped shirts with each other, although I suppose that amounts to the same sort of thing. They each play for the others band, to be fair…


Hilary Browning, cello, Alex Holladay, cello & Gareth Twigg, contra-bassoon. Some amusement is always necessary on these long journeys…


French Horn player, Pete Richards, uses the time to get some work done.


Principal Trombone Simon Cowen resting his eyes…

No one ever said that touring was an easy life. The hard toil is starting to take it’s toll on some players!


Danny Hammerton, double bass, catches forty winks on the train…


Due to our train being delayed for about an hour yesterday, the train company provided us with free food, BEER(!) and ice cream by way of very generous compensation.


The RLPO is known throughout the business as an orchestra which likes to enjoy itself socially. Look at all these smiling faces!


First Violin, David Whitehead has been in the RLPO for well over thirty years.

This is the brass section end of the train!unnamed-2

We eventually arrived at Prague station to change over to the coaches to take us to the airport. The station, although modern below the surface has this lovely ornate upper level.


The following photo has nothing to do with the tour at all, except that a friend of mine in New York saw it in a bike shop, during the RLPO tour and posted it on Facebook. It will amuse all those trumpeters out there…unnamed-12

We arrived at Vaclav Havel Airport and had some time to kill in the departure lounge. Celia Hebbron looks as if a quick power nap may be the order of the day whilst Gethyn Jones (cello) enjoys a last beer before the flight.unnamed-3

That’s right, John Hebbron (first violin); you get the beers in!unnamed-4Dania Alzapiedi (Associate Principal 2nd violin) and Collette Astley-Jones (Artistic Planning etc) having a good time on the flight home.unnamed-2

I imagine that many members of the RLPO had what is known as ‘tour pocket’ on their return home!unnamed-17

This has been a really successful and enjoyable tour. Even though I say it myself, the concerts were sensational and so were the food and sights. I hope you have enjoyed my ‘running commentary’ as all the events unfolded and I also hope these posts have given you a taste and flavour of our Czech Tour 2015. Next up for the RLPO are recoeding sessions for Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony and a performance of The Dream of Gerontius by Elgar. Our next tour to foreign climes will be our trip to Romania in September to play concerts at the world famous Enescu Festival in Bucharest.

The RLPO personnel list for the tour. As you can see, there are one or two last minute alterations...

The RLPO personnel list for the tour. As you can see, there are one or two last minute alterations…

See you all there…


Well, it’s a living!

CLICK HERE – Yesterday – DAY 4 – The RLPO Perform at the Janacel International Music Festival in OSTRAVA

Click here for the previous time we visited Prague – check it out!

I have just been sent this photo of the RLPO lorry. It was spotted and photographed on the way home by a holidaymaker in Belgium!

I have just been sent this photo of the RLPO lorry. It was spotted and photographed on the way home by a holidaymaker in Belgium!

About brendanball

Professional Trumpeter: Soloist, Orchestra Player, Chamber Music, Contemporary Music & Education.
This entry was posted in The Tour Blogs & Brendan's Solo Blogs. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to RLPO – Czech Tour 2015 Day Five – The Return Journey

  1. Pingback: RLPO – Czech Republic 2015 Day Four – Ostrava International Music Festival | Brendan Ball's Blog

  2. Thank you for your posts from the tour, Brendan! Glad to hear that it all went well 🙂

  3. frenchhorn2015 says:

    Great read and excellent pics, as always!
    Clearly a Band that works hard and plays hard!
    As you say…Champion!

  4. Bryan Walker says:

    Great read and excellent pics, as always.
    Clearly a Band that works hard and plays hard!

    As you’d say…Champion!

  5. John Elliott says:

    Thoroughly enjoyable blog, Brendan. Prague is one of my favourite cities, and it now looks as though I will have to give Ostrava a bash! Wish I’d been there with you.

  6. brendanball says:

    Thank you all for the kind comments. The tour was a real pleasure…

  7. Many thanks Brendan, Once again really enjoyed following you all!. Looking forward to Gerontius on Saturday!

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