Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Free Day" and Concert in Alexandria

Before I begin to tell you about our "free day" (no visits to important, historic sites, just a rehearsal and concert), it would only be fair to tell you that the Alumni/Friends group "broke the rules" last night and had a get-together in the "North Dakota Suite" at the hotel.....those lucky ladies from Fargo got the "big suite" at the hotel and invited us all in to see it.   The 17 of us laughed so hard and for so long that the students in neighboring rooms started calling the front desk to complain.   Imagine.  (Ok, just kidding, but we did have fun - and the students had fun "making fun" of us this morning!)   By the way, I promised to say that if the Fargo paper wants to do a story, "Ellen answered the door and Verlene poured."   (That must still be important news up north!  HA!

As I said, it was a "free day" of sorts - with just a chance to unwind a bit, relax, and, in the case of the students, sleep late and only have a 90 minute "set up and rehearse" period in the early afternoon.  Our concert was slated for 7:00 p.m. at the Concert Hall of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, adjacent to the Library.   As you can see from the photos below, it is a beautiful hall with wonderful acoustic.

Dr. Ammann poses for me (I wanted you to see the view from the student perspective.  He was just there, smiling. )

Alexandria Concert Hall

The Augustana Band in concert.

The Consul of the American Embassy in Alexandria, Bridgette L. Walker
with Dr. Ammann and Brad Heegel (me)  following the concert.

Sherif and his new American friends!
One of the highlights of the afternoon was the fact that three of the "new friends" of the Augie Band from Cairo came all the way to see the group again.  One, Sherif Mohi, a fourth year Econ/Pol Sci major, even wrote an essay for us about his feelings about the group.   Parts of it are here:

"They are Americans.  Please go and welcome them, Sherif."
"Wow.  Americans.  But you know, I had a tough final exam yesterday, and preparing for the next exam on Sunday, without sleeping............just 7 hours out of 48..
"Ok, so I understand, and I am telling you very late, but they are about to arrive, thank you Sherif and Allah with you."
"MMMMM, Anyway, I planned for attending the show, and from now up til 6:00 p.m. all what I need is eating and sleeping for a little.   So, why don't I go to welcome, interact, make friends?
"I have taken my decision, and it was a great one.  And really great chance to know and make friends with people like you guys."

"Did you know that running here and over there, talking many times on my cell phone, I succeeded in bringing more than 250 students to your show? And ten minutes later, more than 500 got to hear you.  I did my best in this short time to my newly American dear friends, but I really apologized for not making the show full of enjoying people for your whole perfect show.  All because of our terrible exams!"

Well, Sherif, we can only say "THANK YOU" and let you know that you have truly made an impression on your new friends in The Augustana Band.

As for the concert this evening, we had a light turnout - not surprising as our advertising was very low key following the events of two weeks ago in Alexandria.   Still, it was a memorable evening and an opportunity to play in a marvelous facility.

See you tomorrow!