My André Experience in New York City

Less than two weeks ago, I had no clue that I would be at the Hammerstein Ballroom watching a fantastic performance by Andre and the JSO on April 23.
I vaguely remember entering a contest that was in one of Andre’s Newsletters a few weeks ago. Then as I sat at work just a week before the concert reading my email (don’t tell my boss!), I received another Andre newsletter, or so I thought. It was a notification that said I had won two tickets to see him perform at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan with instructions to email customer service to let them know if I would use them. I think my heart stopped for a second! Now my daughter lives in Manhattan, so I knew I had a place to stay. But plane tickets bought 5 days before departure are usually way too expensive for my budget. My luck held. Seats from SFO to JFK were on sale so I spoke to
my supervisor to see if I could get time off. She knows how much I like Andre’s music since I have it playing in my office all day, every day and said “Go for it!!” I am so glad I did.

My instructions were to pick up my tickets the night of the concert between 6:30 and 7:30 pm. I had nightmares of getting there and discovering it was a hoax or cruel joke, but it was real. There were many prize-winners and as I lined up to give them my name and pick up the tickets, I recognized Frans behind one of the tables. My husband couldn’t get off work, so my daughter accompanied me. She likes Andre’s music too and was my photographer, tour guide and travel agent! We were directed to our seats…3rd level box on the right but close to the stage so we looked down on the orchestra. I spotted Kathy Mondello below me so we went down the 3 flights of stairs to say hello and met Mary Ann, Dimitri and Vasilia and Dan the Bannerman and his wife. I later saw Ursula come in and Laurie too, but my legs just couldn’t take those stairs again so I waved from above.

This was only my 3rd concert, but the best I’ve seen so far. André and the orchestra were all having so much fun on stage. André seemed to be in an exceptionally good mood, maybe happy to see an almost full house. The music was the same as the Canadian concerts, but with the American encores. I was so
glad they played the Adieu song…I had learned the words in German some time ago and sang happily along. The highlight for me was Wolgalied. He played it beautifully and I was in a trance throughout the entire song…I couldn’t move. Thankfully, my daughter was taking pictures and videos so I could just enjoy the concert.

The audience was enthusiastic, and later in the concert there were lots of cheers and whistles. Since we were on the right side of the theater, the big screen blocked our view of part of the orchestra. I know Pierre played the trumpet, but he was in the part of the orchestra we couldn’t see. I did see him on the big screen though and he was having as much fun as the rest of them. I really enjoyed seeing Andre play with the orchestra during the clog dance. I didn’t realize how many members of the orchestra are women. There were only a few guys left to play while the girls danced.

All too soon it was over, but André walked over to our side of the stage and blew a kiss up to our box. I stood and applauded and saw Andre give a slight nod and smile. Don’t know if it was for me, but I’m claiming it! A wonderful end to a perfect evening. ~Kay