On Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 December the mayor of Buñol, Rafael Perez Gil, who at 29 years of age is the youngest mayor in Spain, and president Oscar Fernandez Fernandez of CIM La Armonica de Buñol payed a visit to Kerkrade’s mayor, Jos Som. The reason for their visit this time was not so much the participation of La Armonica in the prestigious Concert Division during the 18th WMC next summer, but the establishment of a long lasting and not just musical relationship between the towns of Buñol and Kerkrade.
The two towns have a slightly similar recent history. The City of Sound Kerkrade chose after the closure of the coal mines in the 1970’ies to concentrate on developing its tourist capacity. The town of Buñol for years was dominated by the paper and cement industries. The paper mills have now all been closed, and the number of jobs in the cement industry has decreased from 1,200 to a mere 200. The Spanish region of Valencia in which we find the town of Buñol, is known for its strong tourist sector, and Buñol is now looking to link up to this sector in the next coming years.
Because the musical links between Kerkrade and Buñol go back more than 35 years the visit by Buñol’s mayor is less strange than it would seem. The first meeting of the two mayors was very successful, and the first steps of what appears to become a long and close relationship have been taken. This will not only be underlined by the participation by la Armonica in the WMC concert competition, but even more so by the participation of a specially created youth wind orchestra, consisting of talented young musicians coming from the two famous Buñol bands as well as from the other four Valencian super bandas from Cullera and Lliria. This is a unique new initiative by Oscar Fernandez, who in close cooperation with WMC was able to forge this new historic union between the six Valencian super bandas, who up to that point were each others strongest adversaries. All the more hopeful that it was possible to establish this new cooperation in present day Spain. More and more people are convinced that it is better to work together than against each other, and that new chances for young talents are more imporant than the personal musical gain.