When I told my family and friends about the upcoming journey, they were really excited and happy for me, that I had such a great opportunity to come around and learn through living not reading. Then we finally went to the Netherlands with our schoolbigband in April 2018 and it was just such an amazingly creative and inspiring trip. We got to know the Dutch way of living, which apparently is not all about whindmills and shoes made of wood. We also got to see the wonderful nature of the Netherlands through staying at a boating school, where we once got the chance to do a little sailing. But now more about the music part, the main part: We got to know really incredible talented musicians at our age. For example once at a concert, there was a boy a little younger than me playing a solo with the saxophone, the same instrument as I play, which really encouraged me to play more, play better,... Also we had really interesting talks with other musicians and many opportunities to exchange some tips and tricks for a better improvement. After all I am truly thankful for the chance to gain those experiences, the friendly treatment we were given and all the nice people, I got to know.
In den letzten beiden Jahren des Erasmus+ Projektes der Big Bands aus den Niederlanden, Griechenland und Österreich wurde es uns bereits ermöglicht, sowohl nach Korinth und Heerenveen zu reisen. Und obwohl der Grundgedanke doch das Musizieren und der kulturelle Austausch waren, bleiben für uns doch eher die gemeinsamen Abende, unvergessliche Abenteuer und viele neu entstandenen Freundschaften in Erinnerung, die sich beinahe über den ganzen Kontinent erstrecken. So verschieden wir doch sind, war es uns ein leichtes kulturelle und sprachliche Barrieren zu überwinden. Der Zusammenhalt innerhalb der teilnehmenden Gruppen, mit den Lehrern aber auch zwischen den verschiedensten Persönlichkeiten wurde gestärkt, sei es beim gemeinsamen Auftritt vor Kindern, an lauen Abenden an der griechischen Küste oder bei Gesprächen und guter Laune im abgeschiedensten Teil einer holländischen Provinz. Das Erasmus+ Projekt schaffte Erinnerungen und Freundschaften, die wohl für immer ein Teil von uns bleiben werden.Martin & Madlen
My participation in the Erasmus project ‘Bands against Racism’ and the trip to Holland was a great experience. It had a little bit of everything; travelling, meeting new people, sightseeing, shopping…. I was one of the vocalists for my school band and I think that performing on stage along with students from Holland and Austria was the best part of the trip. We worked together, we co-operated well and the result was unbelievable! I think it was the best way to end the school year before my graduation!
Christina Bageri (vocals)
I really enjoyed the trip to Holland and I think it was an overall amazing experience. It was my first time abroad and I loved visiting so many different places! We stayed in a guesthouse in Herenveen and the landscape was wonderful; so different from ours. I will never forget the day when along with our classmates I had a swim in the river nearby! Of course, we met a lot of interesting people, students and teachers from Holland and Austria, and we made friends with whom we intend to keep in touch for the years to come. I also think that I would really like to go back there one day!
Konstantina Kavvada (horn)
Our visit to Holland and our participation in the project was a unique experience. First of all, the fact that we had the chance to travel abroad with our classmates and teachers is something to remember as our relationship grew stronger and more sincere. In Holland we also had the pleasure to meet students and teaching staff of the country and we were really impressed by how different from ours their educational system is. We were amazed by the facilities of their school and by the fact that the students there make their own program so that it can fit their individual needs. We collaborated with students from both Holland and Austria to play live music and send an anti-racist message to the world and this is something we will hold in our heart for a lifetime!
Alex Tzanavaras, Aris Andreou (drums), Irene and Cristina Saramaskou (horn, sax, vocals), Sofia Sapera (sax), Stelios Dritsas, Adreas Papailias (trumpet)
I could never imagine how fascinating the trip to Holland would be when I decided to take part in the ‘Bands against Racism’ project with my school. I play the tuba and I thought, why not? And it proved to be one of the best experiences in my life! I really liked the place where we stayed and our hosts were so hospitable that we were made welcome for the very first moment. I enjoyed everything about the rehearsals and the performances with the bands from Herenveen and from Austria because we put a lot of effort in it and it was really worth it! I made a lot of friends there and I learned a lot about their life and their culture. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to go to Austria next year as this is my last year at the school but if I could, I would be the happiest person on earth!
Vasilis Tzortziopoulos (tuba)
It is difficult to write what I liked more about our trip to Holland and the Erasmus project as everything was perfect for me; the trip, the place, the new friendships, the performances… But now that I have come back, if I had to choose, I would say that being with students and teachers from different countries was the best thing. There was a meeting place near our guesthouse where we would spend all the evenings talking about our lives, our cultures and our dreams for the future. We also exchanged views on music and this in turn helped us in our joined performances. I will never forget these evenings and the valuable friendships I made there!
Konstantinos Antoniou (vocals)
No words can describe the excitement you feel when you get on the stage with people you just met to play music for an enormous audience! The Erasmus program sure taught us to stand against racism, but it also taught us how to make strong bands with strangers, and share knowledge. This one in a lifetime trip to Holland was extraordinary. The environment, the people, the music, the food, everything was so much better than we expected. We can’t wait to see the friends we made again in Austria!
Anthony Saperas, Sotiris Poussis (trombone)
My participation in the Erasmus program “School Bands Against Racism” was a great experience in my life. It was tiring but exciting. The best moment, in my opinion, was when we had breaks and we were talking with students from Holland and Austria. Also, I liked our last concert outdoors in Heerenveen. In addition, I liked the nature and the community in Holland because they are so different and interesting. Finally, I won’t forget the moments with my friends and some new friends from Austria, which were wonderful.
Galini Vasilopoulou (alto sax)
Last year my school participated in the Erasmus program with the main goal of standing up to racism. We all had such a great time and enjoyed every second of it! All three schools worked with passion and joy together, creating an amazing result. In the process of it, we made new relationships and learned how to work with people, that don’t share the same language and culture. The co-operation was flawless and the experience special and fun! I can’t wait to take part in Austria again, this year!
Vasiliki Nasieli (horn)
During the Erasmus program in the Netherlands we had a great time. We spent our time playing music in amazing places with wonderful people. We really enjoyed ourselves walking around the beautiful city of Heerenveen and Groningen and meeting new people of our age from Austria and the Netherlands. Personally, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life and I’m looking forward to meeting those incredible students again in May.
Leonidas Bairaktaris (trumpet)
My name is Helen and I’m a trumpet player. Last year I participated in the Erasmus Program “Bands Against Racism” and I traveled to Holland. This trip was one of the greatest experiences of all my life. We all had a great time together, I met new people, I had many new experiences, like sailing, and it was wonderful and also very helpful to collaborate with all those musicians from Austria and Holland. I can’t wait to meet them again in Austria.
Helen Fragia (trumpet)
The trip to Herenveen, Holland within the framework of the Erasmus+ project ‘Bands against Racism’ was a memorable experience not only for our students but for us, the teachers of the Music school of Corinth, as well. It was a great success to cross the borders with a group of students for the first time and to travel to another European country with the aim to play music and send our own message against racism and any kind of discrimination. Our hosts provided us with accommodation and catered for all our needs and, therefore, we would like to thank them for their hospitality and the successful organization of all the events i.e. live performances, day-trips, free-time activities such as sailing, canoeing etc. We had a perfect co-operation with the teaching staff and the students from both Holland and Austria and, as a result, our joined performances took place in a lively, friendly atmosphere. We strongly believe that we managed to meet the aims of the project and we are looking forward to our next trip to Austria next May.
The teachers: Irene Κarapata, Aris Pistolas, Pelopidas Mavropoulos
This project was an unique experience, to say the least. I was able to join the dutch Fedde S. Bigband when we traveled to Greece, in 2017. We learned a lot about Greek culture, and got to meet all the other students and teachers participating in the project! While we were in Greece we did a few concerts, and it was a really cool experience to make music with so many people. We also went to Athens, where we visited the Acropolis, which was very interesting. In the spring of 2019 we were hosted by the Austrians in Linz. We saw a lot of the country and learned many things about their history. Here we got to perform at beautiful places (for example we had a concert in Hallstatt)! The Erasmus+ project was a great learning experience, and has left me with many new friends in Austria and Greece.
Loes van den Bunt - Tenor Saxophone
When the Bands Against Racism project started I could never expect that it would turn out like it did, because due to the project I learned the impact of racism at the society. The visit to the concentration camp of Mauthausen is a good example of this. This was a place where horrible things happened that never should have happened and those things leave still their marks in the current society. In my opinion is it unacceptable that racism even exists in 2019. I am glad I could fight against racism while still having fun, because music was also a part of the project and the people from the other country were nice and loved music too. It was great to combine those two things in the bands against racism song of which I think it summed up the project very good, fighting against racism and still having a great time. In the end I hope that we made sure that the people who listened to us at the performances also realise that we should end racism.
Remco Kampstra - Trumpet