There are just six months to practice before the Cambridge Brass Band goes on tour but preparations are well underway.

They're headed to Le Quesnoy in northern France to play in commemorations marking 100 years since the liberation of the town from German occupation in WWI.

"We get to celebrate something very special between Le Quesnoy and New Zealand," junior band player, Kendra Barnes Taylor said.

"It was when our boys went over to that town and saved them from a lot of Germans, and then our boys came back very proud, and now they're our sister town," she said


The bands' assistant musical director, Rob Hocking says the band will be playing in the official town celebrations on November 4 as well as around the town and schools.

"We'll play some traditional First World War type 'singalong songs'. We will do lots of New Zealand based music songs, 'Pokarekare Ana' we have to play because everyone in the town knows it and sings it," Hocking said.

From juniors to seniors, more than 50 players and supporting entourage are going on the trip.

At eight years old, Sophie Macfarlane is the youngest musician. She's going with her grandfather who taught her to play the tenor horn.

"This bit can move when you do a 'D', which is two bars down and this is one and two," she explained how her instrument works. "And this bit is to get out all the water."

Hocking believes travel expands horizons and for most, it will be the only ever time they'll get to play in centenary celebrations for a towns' liberation.

"I think it's going to be huge!" Hocking said. "Tickets are booked, deposits paid, now we've just got to find the money to fund the rest of the way."

The band's on a mission to raise the $78,000 needed and tuba player, Chris Hendy has been helping by growing and selling heritage tomatoes.


"The advantage of me growing them for the band is there isn't much competition.

"If I was growing normal tomatoes I'd be competing against the supermarket and a person on their own just can't compete with that 'factory farming environment'.

"But here I can grow something with premium value," Hendy said.

While the tomato season has come to a close, the fundraising drive continues with musicians busking on the street and chutney still to be sold.

There's even a Give A little Page to help get the band to France in November.

"It's gonna be a very long flight and a lot of jet-lag, and it's going to be a lot of fun for all of us," Barnes Taylor said.

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