What a day it's been!  When I got up in the morning the first order of business was to see if I could get a decent ticket
to the Saturday night July 5th concert in Maastricht, and I lucked out as my ticket is for Section A2, Row 17 which is
slightly left of center stage.  Next, I had to find a hotel room, and I was astounded to find that there are
not very many rooms available for the weekend of the concerts, but again I got lucky and have a room confirmed
for four nights close to the square, so the concerts will be walking distance from my hotel.
I say concerts, because it's quite likely that there will also be Friday and Sunday concerts for which I hope to get
good tickets when they become available.

                                                 After that was taken care of, I headed downtown where the best hotels are, to see if
                                                 I could see Andre's busses, but none were in sight.  I then drove to Rexall Place
                                                 where I saw three large silver Prevost motor coaches, and of course several semis.
                                                 After the concert we drove right past the motor coaches, and still there were no
                                                  busses.  It's a mystery to me why the busses didn't seem to be used on this leg of
                                                  the tour.

                                                   From past experience, Andre begins his concerts right on time, so I picked up my
                                                   friends, Jerry Ford and Anne Arndt, and Ashley Berry, and just after six we were on
our way, arriving at Rexall Place at about 6:40.  Jerry is a very talented multi-instrumentalist, Rose was a
professional singer in Manilla, and Ashley is an award-winning dancer. There were a lot of vehicles lined up behind
us to get into the parking areas, and I'm certain that several people missed the
first few numbers.
I bought a program which has two distinct sections: "New York Memories" and
"Dreaming About Vienna", with lots of great photos from those two  concerts.

Our seats were in Row 13, just left of center, and I had an aisle seat.   When Andre
and the orchestra marched in, Andre led his group right past me.  I didn't take any
photos then, although in hindsight I could have taken some great ones. I preferred
to applaud their entry. I'm always impressed by how seamless the transition from
recording to live is in the entrance.  It's is impossible to tell when the transition takes
                                                       place.

                                                       Each time the JSO .has appeared in Edmonton the program has been different
                                                       and this time was no exception.  I did notice that viola player Klaartje Polman
                                                       was not on stage.   I can't help but wonder if she is under the weather. Another
                                                       observation:  They have new music stands.

                                                        After a few numbers some people were ushered to their seats.  They were
                                                        admonished by Andre.  "YOU'RE LATE!"  (pause for effect) "We came from
                                                        Europe and WE were on time!"  That got a laugh and a lot of applause.

You've seen the list of songs elsewhere, so I won't duplicate that here. I had never heard Laura Engels in person,
and when she sang "Besame Mucho"  she sang with passion and power.  She was not out of place on that stage at
all, and proved to me that she is a fine vocalist.  












Mirusia, the angel from Down under brought the first standing ovation of the evening.  What a beautiful voice she
has!











Frederick on the zither was a wonderful feature of the concert.  He was quite funny, as he flirted with the viola
players, but make no mistake: he's a marvelous musician.  I'd never heard a zither live before, much less played by
a virtuoso, so his two numbers were indeed a treat.  Teun and Stephanie tried to steal the spotlight from him, by their
antics.















Bela's surprise goulash was still funny, even though I'd seen it on video.

The first segment lasted for an hour, ending with "Amigos Para Siempre" featuring the Golden Sopranos and Platinum
Tenors.  Very powerful, and a terrific number to end the first set.



























After a brief intermission, they were again underway.  Of course the Beautiful Blue Danube was a highlight as it
always is, with Andre teasing the dancers.














Susan Erens as The Empress Sisi was simply beautiful.













The second segment ended with Ravel's Bolero which is simply worth the price of admission alone.  What a show
stopper!














It was followed by the Radetzky March, and, of course, balloons falling from above.
Our seats were right in the balloon avalanche, which is always quite fun.  














Then came the encores with the audience begging and pleading for more.  Andre, as always, was generous with the
encores which  included Libiamo, The Canadian National Anthem and Brahms' Lullaby.











































All too soon it was over, and as we left we could only hope we will have a return visit in 2008.
I'm not taking any chances though.  I've already purchased two tickets for the Toronto concerts, plus a concert in
Maastricht Holland.
          The Concert in Edmonton                                         
By Al Girard.