Benoit Viellefon & His Orchestra have played a successful tour in the Swiss Alps on the first week of February 2012. Their music warmed the hearts and ski boots of the locals, tourists, farmers, skiers and climbers alike during the coldest week recorded in more that 30 years.
After a remarquable performance at the Kurhaus Lounge in Lenzerheide next to the Austrian border the Orchestra found themselves Stranded. The BMW series 7 of the Tour Manager D. Aemisseger, in which they had placed all their hopes to get home safely did not start. Despite having -32 degree celcius at 2pm in the sun, the engine and the diesel were frozen solid. Struck by the Siberian cold spell, the British musicians thought they should envisage using Russian vehicles in the future. Furthermore that it would be better to experience the cold winter in style rather than be frustrated. Boldly, they decided to climb to the top of the mountain while the daylight would last, to perform one last time. The only French amongst them did not win the vote.
They were welcomed on the heights of the mountains by strong winds and abysmal temperature, so they posed proudly for an heroic picture, sung a very quick tune in harmony and rushed back to the valley. Meanwhile, Swiss Tour manager D. Aemissegger operating for the Ghetto Agency did not panic nor lose time, and having used all his influence on the local bureaucracy, he managed to get the BMW running.
The orchestra made it back to the UK, their homeland, a country thrown in chaos by the incredible temperature of -1 degree Celsius. They could certainly not sustain such a heat wave with a difference of 31 degrees and took off most of their clothes to the horror of the London aiport custom officers who did not believe the musicians when they assured they were not resident in Newcastle.
Looking back, the tour was a success, the 5mn at the top were memorable, and the journey home was glorious, so the Ghetto Agency offered another string of concerts in the Swiss Alps for the winter 2012-2013…
Marcel Laposte, Reporter (Journal Le Ragot)