Hi, I am Alfred Galea, coming from the village of Mqabba, Malta. I am a member with the King George V Band of Mqabba. I play the Euphonium. Since starting playing back in 1981, my main hobby became band music. In 1995 I had opportunity to play for the first time abroad with the Count Roger Band of Rabat, Malta. In that occasion we played in Italy, exctly in the Marches region. During the trip we met and made friends with a local Italian Band, from the village of Polverigi. I liked the experience very much, and as soon as I returned to Malta, with some help from some friends I met in Polverigi, I began working and making contacts with main aim of organizing a trip abroad for my band. I managed to organize a trip to Italy for my band in 1996. We went to Italy, exaclty in the Marches region, and the trip was so successful that gave birth to the idea of doing a twinning with the Italian Band. This resulted in a total new expeirnce in this field. That of organizing a trip for the Italian Band to Malta in 1997. That was done between the 9 and 15 August 1997. During that period we celebrate the village feast of Santa Maria in Mqabba. THis was a huge success. Both our hosts and our village people liked the idea very much, and many people invited me to repeat organizing similar events. From that time till now there were more international bands who have visited Malta and participated in our village feast. The Jugend Blasorchester Leipzig from Germany (1998), The Fliarmonica Larissa From Greece (2000) and the Kfar Saba Band from ISrael (2001). Between 2002 and 2004, mainly because of the non-beautiful world situation, there were no bands who visited Malta for our village feast. Every year there were bands who showed interest, but every time, due to some reasons, the band dropped out. In September last year, I have been contacted by Sue Blunt, Secretary of the Bedford Town Band, who told me about their interest to come over to Malta and participate during our village feast. From the very first contact something told me that this time there was a special interest shown and the possibility for having another Foreign partcipating band in our village festa was good. In fact the contacts proceeded very well and resulted in a visit to Malta by the Bedfrod Town Band between the 11th and 17th AUgust 2005. THis was the first UK Brass Band ever to participate in our feast. The event was a huge success for both parties (ie Mqabba people and Bedford Band members). The Bedford Town Band performed in concert in Mqabba on the 13th 14th and 15th August, and performed other 2 concerts, one in Marsaskala, Malta (11th) and other in Zebbug/Marsalforn, Gozo (12th). As the past years, now we are trying to repeat another experience with a foreign Band for next year. Hope we can manage to find another band who will be interested to come over and participate during our village feast, next year between the 9th and 15th August 2006. I invite all those interested to know more about our feast, to visit our web site www.santamarija.com You can get an idea of the experience the Bedford Town Band has just passed in Malta, please visit their web site www.bedfordtownband.org.uk There are a couple of interesting articles about the visit. Please feel free to contact me if you need more information. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org By the way, please note that I do not get my earnings from Banding. Like most of you I do all this on voluntary basis. It's just my love for banding that pushes me to do all this. And the only payment I get from this (And it is more than sufficient for me) is the satisfaction of having done something good for the others. I am married to Antoinette and we have a very nice 3 year old daughter Martina. I work with Air Malta for the past 15 years as avionics technician. I have just been given a new job. That of QA Auditor in the Engineering Department. It's something new in my job. Hope to do well !! Alfred Galea. Society of Saint Mary and King George V Band Mqabba, Malta.