Basel Christmas Tattoo 2013

We have several photos from the Tattoo in our Gallery, which can be viewed using the following link:

Monday, 6th January 2014

Basel Christmas Tattoo 2013 Show (Swiss Television Broadcast)

If you would like to see the full 2-hour long Basel Christmas Tattoo 2013 show that was broadcast on Swiss Television recently, please select the following link:

Sunday, 22nd December 2013

A full house (9,500) and another standing ovation for the first, but I'm sure not the last, Basel / Zurich Christmas Tattoo. The audience stood and clapped throughout the 'Amazing Grace' number. James Work said that it was really touching, and made the whole trip worthwhile, to have that feeling that he couldn't put into words but made him feel so good.

It was a quick turnaround to get all of the pipe band gear and uniforms into the lorry, to let the drivers start their journey back to the UK. We won't see them again now until we return to School in the New Year.

We are all so tired and looking forward to arriving back home for the food that we’ve missed (NO MORE PASTA!) and our comfy beds to sleep, sleep and sleep some more!

The end of a tiring, hardworking tour and our Queen Victoria School Pipe Band, yet again, made us proud!

The LAST early start (0645hrs) to get the coach back to Basel for our flight HOME!

Apologies for not getting these Blogs to you each day but they have Wi-Fi problems over here as well!

I hope that we have given you a flavour of what it was like on the very first Basel Christmas Tattoo.


That's all folks!

Saturday, 21st December 2013

Our first lie-in, 8am - YIPPEE!!!

We did our first double show today and got standing ovations for both. That's how good the show is, and so are we!

No boredom during our downtime, though, as our pipers got together with The National Youth Pipe Band and played Suite 1915.  This was one of the items that we played at our own recent Christmas Concert.  Our students were slightly apprehensive, but it sounded fantastic!  It turns out that Matthew Asbridge has an audition in January with the NYPB; good luck to him!

Pasta for lunch, and the evening meal, again!  "Can't wait to get back to school dinners," was a quote from Navino!

All of our the pupils stayed focused throughout both shows, which was a credit to them after a long day.  They were rewarded with an invitation, together with the other pipe bands, to the after show Cast Party.  It had a real party atmosphere and ended with Mr Bowes being a good sport by encouraging us to join the Conga around the foyer, with at least fifty other performers! The night finished with a hilarious sing-song battle with the RAF Pipe Band, on the bus returning to the hotel. 

QVS 1 RAF 0.  Well done Rhys and Daniel for their choice of 'songs'!

Last performance tomorrow and nearly home folks, and I am sure that you are keen to see them - and I know that they are ready for a rest - but, most of all, some food that they are used to! A hint, parents, for you to have their favourite meal ready when they get back, but please, NO MORE PASTA!

Thursday, 19th December

"The most exciting and enjoyable time to date," said the students who went ice-skating with Ms Edwards today! It must have been the worst weather that we had had so far; rain, rain and more rain, but that didn't stop the ice-skaters from having such fun on the outdoor rink. They also met up with quite a few of the other performers from the Tattoo. It was good to see them all interacting and enjoying each other's company. It also gave them the chance to let off some steam and use up some energy.

You might have realised by now that the Tattoo tour is not as exotic as one might think. Most of the time we are waiting for transport-transfers to the venue and hotel; meals; and for our turn inbetween acts, etc. All of this waiting has been particularly difficult for our students and they have become bored easily. No not even a mobile phone or an iPad keeps them entertained for that long!

However, when they perform, they are professional and get a tremendous reception from the audience. At our last performance in Basel today, they got a standing ovation!

We move the WHOLE show – including scenery, lighting, props AND all the performers – to Zurich tomorrow. Yes, another early start!

So, it's an early bed for all of us tonight and, by early, I mean MIDNIGHT!

Although we haven't put many pictures in our Blog, I believe that you can see us on 'You Tube' and we will endeavour to put all of the photographs that we have of this tour onto the School's website, at a later date.

So, it's goodnight from us, on our last night in Basel. ZZZzzzzzz!

Our last performance in Basel

Tuesday, 17th December  

We did it! 

A dress rehearsal and then the first real performance, all happened today!

We arrived at the arena all ready, with the band in full dress uniform, to discover they were still working on getting the lighting, sound and decor finished. More hanging around! This is just the way it is before the actual performances begin and this is more tiring than doing the actual performances, for both the band and staff! However, it was all worthwhile as the setting looks SPECTACULAR!

Unfortunately, because if this, the 'Stacey, Clark and Bowes' trio were left to entertain the troops for nearly three hours! Meanwhile, Ms Edwards went on an important mission to buy snacks to keep the troops moral going during this long wait. Eventually, the pipes and drums were on and we saw for the first time the formation that they are doing in one of their sets, and it's a Christmas tree!

After the rehearsal, it was the first performance of the 'Basel Christmas Tattoo', and it was to a sell-out crowd. Our pupils were stunned at the amount of people who were watching and also the amazing reception that they gave them. They are so happy and upbeat about it all, now that the first show has been done.

Tonight is the Cast Party and the 5th & 6th Years are going along to meet some of the other entertainers and musicians performing. Since the pipes and drums have practiced so much together, one tends to forget that there are also other great performers in the Tattoo.

Ms Edwards is like 'Cinderella' tonight, surrounded with more sewing and darning while she is on duty with the younger pupils, who are not going to the 'Cast Party'.

It's been a long, long day for everyone, and a very satisfying one, but it's not finished for the seniors, who are out partying now. Where do they get all that energy from!

Goodnight from the QVS Basel crew and please enjoy this 'Christmas Tree' snippet (QuickTime Video)

Monday, 16th December

Breakfast - rehearsal - lunch - rehearsal - dinner - rehearsal!

The Basel Tattoo Massed Bands and Drums are coming together well and are sounding great. In between our rehearsals we got a small flavour of what this Christmas Tattoo would be like when we watched some of the other acts' rehearsals at the St Jakobshalla Tattoo Arena.

The very pretty girls in the 'Estonian Precision Roller Skating Team Rullest' are a favourite with the boys! However, the girls are just as happy when the 'Top Secret Drum Corp' act appears so there is something that makes everyone happy!

Although we finished quite early tonight (2115 hrs) the uniforms and kit had to be checked, ironed, cleaned and made ready for the Dress Rehearsal and first show tomorrow. Ms Edwards had to get her sewing kit out for the first time but just couldn't magic a cobblers kit to mend Ben's sole-flapping shoe!

Now it is an early night for everyone as we have a very early start at 0600 hrs tomorrow.


A busy QVS Pipe Band

Sunday, 15th December

Basel calling, from the Pipe Band!

After getting up at 3.45am on Friday 13th - oh no, not FRIDAY 13th! However, we had a great flight. When we arrived the weather here in Basel was sunny but freezing cold - minus 3!!!

We are staying in The Hilton Hotel which is very very nice, thank you. Some students, and of course super fit Mr Stacey, have already tried out the spa facilities and swimming pool. We are near a tram station, which is very handy as we have to travel to various locations, although they are only five to ten minutes away. The students all really like travelling on the trams and visitors to Basel get a free tram travel pass! It's a fantastic system with trams arriving every few minutes, which is just as we'll with these freezing temperatures.

We all went to the Christmas Market(s) last night and most of us have now experienced the Basel sausage!!! It is really quite spectacular here with all the beautiful Christmas decorations and lights everywhere. A totally different Basel from the summertime Tattoo's.

It was the first, of many, rehearsals tonight and the Massed Pipes and Drums sound terrific already.

I'm in the Hilton foyer doing the final Roll Call before sending our talented students off to bed.

Night night from a frosty freezing Basel.


The Pipe Band