Image(from a report received from Danica who is on Youth Exchange in Bolivia)

Pink Panther”, “Mas Que Nada”, “Four”, “In The Mood”, “Tamarindo Seco”, “Moonlight Serenade”, “Mambo No. 5” – just some of the hits we played at Thursday, April 18th's "concierto" (concert).

Era un gran evento, muy elegante, en la Manzana Uno – completo con fuegos artificiales! It was a big elegant event held in the "Manzana Uno" (the plaza behind/beside "La Catedral" (The Cathedral)) - complete with a flying mime and fireworks!

I arrived with Adri (my 18-year-old sister and friend), not knowing what we would find, but expecting a group of musicians parked in a corner of the plaza with half a drum kit and a shared microphone for solos and introductions. Not even close! We were both surprised when we were stopped at the entrance by "un guardia" (a security guard) who would only allow entrance to those with a pass - or performers. Unfortunately, I didn't have "un instrumento en mano" (an instrument in hand) - because I am using/borrowing Sr. Boris' alto, and he keeps it at Kolping (where we rehearse), and brought it with him and his baritone sax "al concierto" (to the concert). Fortunately, the guard believed the tall, blonde gringa and her "hermana Boliviana" (Bolivian sister) when we explained that I was there to play in the Big Band. I was surprised again at what we saw just around the corner: tables and chairs dressed up with white table cloths, chair dresses, and coloured ribbons; a big stage with decorated chairs and lots of lights; one third of the plaza blocked off with rails and guards; and people running around setting up lights, mics, and cables. I found Sr. Boris and "el saxo" (the saxophone), got set up and warmed up, and waited for the show to start.

"A las siete y cuarto, comenzó el evento - el IX Festival Internacional de Teatro."
The event - the Ninth International Theatre Festival - began at seven fifteen.

We (the Big Band) played a one half-hour set, sat through a lot of speeches, watched some videos and dances on balcony behind us, and were entertained by clowns and mimes on stilts, as well as a ton of other fascinating characters milling about in the crowd. By the time our second set rolled around, all the seats in the audience were full, a large crowd had gathered on the outside of the fence, and one of the mimes had clipped herself onto the cables stretching across the plaza above "la gente" (the people/crowd). She had balloons in her hand and floated gracefully through the air as if she was walking or dancing. A recording of "Tamarindo Seco" (a local favourite) blasted from the speakers and "fuegos artificiales" (fireworks) boomed above until the mime finished her act and slowly let the balloons fly free - and in the same moment, the other actors in the audience released the rest of the balloons (that had been tied to the chairs with looooooong ribbons) into the clear night sky. It was beautiful. :)

Then it was our turn again. We started the set with "Tamarindo Seco" and all the actors on their feet. It was so much fun to perform again, after so many months "sin tocando" (without playing), but it was especially awesome to play with everyone dancing right up front like that. I had to force myself to focus on the music when we played "Pink Panther" and "Chameleon" because all the actors were just so "into it" - prowling around like cats, flailing their arms, and shaking their whole bodies during an EPIC and crazy-long drum solo! It was AWESOME! I tried to explain to my family afterwards how much fun it was and how that has always been Mr. Bueckert's dream - jazz band ripping it up, audience dancing away, etc. I thoroughly enjoyed it all. :D

When we finished the set, "la gente" (the people) remaining started chanting, "OTRA MÁS! OTRA MÁS!" (“ONE MORE! ONE MORE!”) but Ricardo (one of the directors) said, "No. Vengan al otro concierto el proximo miercoles!" (“No. Come to our next concert on Wednesday!”) And with that, we started to pack up.

I hopped down from the stage to greet my excited fan club - mi Papi Fredy, mi Mami Denise, Adri, and Ale. They were all so proud of me and took a zillion "fotos" (photos) and videos throughout the whole show (Mi Papi and Adri even snuck up to the balcony to take pictures of me from behind!) - until both cameras died!

After I packed up "el saxo" and left it with Sr. Boris, I left the "Manzana Uno" with my family and free hands! There is one binder and one book of music for each "section" (Alto 1, Alto 2, Tenor 1, Tenor 2, etc.), so we aren't allowed to take them home, and I didn't have a saxophone to carry home or keep track of! It felt so strange to leave a concert like that! But it felt sooooo great to be leaving a concert where I had just performed. I have music in my life again, and life is good!! :)