Mary Ann's Seven Straight Concerts Adventure

Now that I am home, I am reminiscing about my "Week that Was" and a few things that happened along the way. First I want to say that this whole thing began as a lark. I simply got carried away!

#1 Manchester, NH. To start off ... it was rainy and foggy here in Conn. I had to drive this trip (alone) for a few hundred miles. I remember thinking to myself, "Are you crazy, MaryAnn!" Oh well ... I had André and the JSO to keep me company on the CD's, so off I went ...

I had reservations at the hotel that was billed as "across the street" from the Verizon Center. Not true! The hotel was hidden behind several buildings, diagonally across this huge intersection from the venue. Long, long walk ~ especially in the pouring rain. My luck, they had a shuttle bus to take you there, but that had just left for the airport. I was to be there at 4:00PM, so I had to walk. When I was walking ~ what did I see, but this Big Beautiful Blue Bus turning into the driveway of the hotel. Hurrah ... I chose the right hotel. Sheer luck!

I was met by Marthijn, a handsome young man who led me into the venue for the soundcheck. I sat up front to be able to watch everything. I was soon joined by Frans. I had not yet seen André. He was in the back with the sound men.This was actually what the word implies ... a "sound" check, for the soloists and VERY interesting to sit
in on! You don't get to talk with André during this, it is all work time for him.

Then it was off to dinner and Kirsten came to escort me for that. She is a lovely, attractive young lady. Dinner is prepared and served to everyone cafeteria style. Of course, André is first. By the time I finished chatting with Kirsten and members of the JSO, the line was long. Dinner was set up in one room, and they really had a good selection for any appetite, then you go to another room to sit down and eat. Of course by the time we got our food, André had finished his. As he was leaving though, he put his hand on my shoulder and said, Hello and that he would see me later. (I guess it was time for his nap). Then we could go back for dessert. Everything looked so yummy! Strangely ,I looked and declined the dessert course (usually for me, that is the best part of the meal). Who could really eat anything when you are in the midst of this scenario. I was sitting at a table with Kirsten, Frans, Ruud, Lyn and Frank.

It was about 6:15 now. Enough time to get back to the hotel and change clothes. André and the orchestra dress at the venue. I was lucky enough to get a ride back to the hotel as it was still pouring. Then it was change and get back for a 7:30 concert. Again, a walk in the rain. As all the reviews have stated, the concert was perfect.And after all, that is what we all came for ... the beautiful music.

Now for the after-party. They have all kinds of snacks, goodies and drinks. Whatever one wants. There was a bottle of champagne on my table. It was delicious. By then everyone had changed from their stage attire. I remember saying to André that he looked good in jeans. He looked at me quizzically, and I think that I rambled on about him looking like one of us. His reply.."what does that mean". My mind was trying to find the word normal or regular, but it didn't come to me .... I just stumbled over that one. Now that Sue told us about his American flag tie, I feel like an idiot. I am so embarrassed!!!! How could I not have noticed that? Imagine , commenting about his jeans and not his tie. Ohooooooooo ...... Ouch !!!!!

Somewhere in the conversation , I said that he should get used to seeing me, as I would be right in front of him for the next Six concerts and then Maastricht! I can't remember what else we talked about ... I do remember complimenting him on the composition "Yours Forever"

Now to the picture taking. I handed Kirsten my camera to take extra pictures while André's photographer took the professional one. I said to André, that I was not photogenic like him. Couldn't we just take the picture natural and talking. His response ~ Just look into the camera. Well girls ... eat your hearts out now ... I had my arm around his waist ... The man is a lean, trim person ... no "love-handles" there at all. I don't think that he has an ounce of fat on him, except for a new little tummy. Again he repeated ... Look into the camera (which I didn't.) When the picture came thru, I was looking up. Take another picture. Then I heard this voice saying, "I told you to look into the camera!" ...... I guess that he is not used to people not doing what he says. It was all in good humor though.

I remember when I saw André in Maastricht last summer, up close, on the steps of the Vrijthof, I didn't think that he looked as tall as 6 ft. Now seeing my pictures, he definitely is. I am 5'5 1/2 and he is a lot taller than I am as you can see in the picture!

Then there were a lot of conversations with lots of other JSO members. The evening was winding down, and I decided to make a graceful exit, so that they did not have to sweep me out. At this point André was sitting with Carla and Thomas (3 tenors). I walked over to say good night to him and Kirsten was standing there. I asked her what day today was, she answered Tuesday, so I tapped André on the arm and said Good nite and see you Thursday ... His reply ... "And Friday & Saturday & Sunday & Monday & Tuesday ...(pause) and then Maastricht!" I burst out laughing. What a sense of humor and what a memory the man has. He remembered it all!

Now thinking about that nite ... the only thing missing was a Dutch Kiss 1-2-3-! If that happened, I might not have washed my face for a very long time. After the concert Cathy and Annette went to the hotel bar and then I joined them after the party. A short while later André came in ... he walked right by our table and said Hello to us, then continued to the opposite end of the bar. You have to know ... He stayed ... we stayed !!!!! After some time he got up to leave and again walked right by our table and said Good Night.

As I previously wrote, I followed the busses all the way back to Conn, till I knew where I was and that I would not get lost. I said good-bye to them at a rest area..
The next few concerts #2-3-4- have all been reported on. I also gave my reports.

#5 Newark ~ Again, this time thanks to Chris and Siggy, my seat was right in front of André. He kept saying the name of the city with the accent on "wark" instead of "New". It sounded like New York. At the beginning several people tried correcting him. Later he said the city name again ... this time he just happened to look down at me ... I looked at him and said the correct pronunciation ... He kept looking, started to turn and then mumbled "Oh shut up!". This was adorable. He knew by now that I would not be offended. He was having fun.

#6 Reading ,Pa. I arrived at my hotel fairly early and checked in. There was some sort of a convention booked in there. They gave me a suite in "Siberia"! I hated it, I was all alone in a strange land. I ran right back to the desk to get it changed. No luck.!!! There was not an empty room in the house. As a matter of fact, some people had to leave the hotel and be transferred to another place. (with no charge at all). I now had time to do a dry run to the Sovereign Center. I got lost both going and trying to get back, for over an hour and a half. When I finally found my way back, I checked to see what room Laurie and Eileen were in. The gal at the desk said that Laurie had cancelled her reservation. I insisted that she didn't. Turns out that they were right ... the reservation was under Eileen's name. I never checked that. Now I was totally alone and started to panic, about how I would ever get back in the dark after the concert. Went to my room, changed and headed out for the Meet & Greet. Suddenly when walking thru the Lobby, I could see thru the windows ... what was sitting there but that Big Beautiful Blue Bus. Did I ever breath a sigh of relief. Now I was not alone. Again I picked the right hotel !!!!! Now I felt secure, knowing that I could follow the buses back after the concert . By the way after following them, I know that I would have been lost on my own.

While at the Meet & Greet, a bedraggled Laurie and Eileen arrived. That is Laurie's story. I hope she writes about it. It is funny now, but I am sure the girls didn't think so when it was happening.
I met Dorothy Laigle and her daughter for the first time. It was great to see Joe and Rose Ann Fabrizio and Joan Pinto and her husband again. By the way Dan (the banner man) and Alice Lycan were at all the concerts except for Conn. It is so nice meeting and seeing old and new fans!!

Now I am home ... hopelessly depressed. I do have a ton of wonderful memories and a dining room table full of balloons (two from each concert). I did take lots of pictures. Wish I knew how to send them, instead of developing them. The printer could even print them for me, but it is this stupid operator that doesn't know how to send them. BUT I did find out this past week that I do know how to drive as I drove up and down the east coast to Seven Concerts!

Well ... All Good Things Come to an End ... Sooooooooooo Till July and then it's on to Maastricht!!

Our Waltz King Has The Most Beautiful Music!!

The Two Photos are by ©Mary Ann