Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Andre Rieu Redux

As I mentioned in my entry of about a year ago here, I'm a fan of Strauss waltzes. No, I don't dance. Not only do I not have time to learn, but I don't know where I'd go to dance if I did learn to waltz.

However, I love to listen to Strauss waltzes. One of the best orchestras that perform Strauss music is that of Andre Rieu. He has a terrific orchestra whose members are not only world class musicians, but clearly enjoy their work. It comes over as a light, lively performances of Strauss and other music that keeps the audience smiling, cheering and clapping in time with the orchestra.

Yesterday evening, Debbie and I went to the Honda Ponda in Anaheim (the Honda Center, formerly called the Arrowhead Pond) to see the Andre Rieu Orchestra for the second time. Debbie is studying the violin and is a fan of both Strauss and Andre Rieu.

We began the evening with dinner at the Phoenix Club, not far away, for a dinner of Bratwurst, sourkraut and potatoes. The Phoenix Club is a German-American cultural center with restaurant, banquet, conference and dance facilities, which fairly sends one off into a sense of the old world.

Then, after the short drive to the arena, we took our seats and awaited the concert.

As last year, the orchestra entered from the back of the arena floor to a fanfare of "March of the Gladiators." Since we were again seated on an aisle, the orchestra, led by Rieu, filed right by us to a stairway up onto the stage, to welcoming applause. 'Twas a fine spectacle and fun to get a close-up view of each band member as he/she passed.

Throughout the concert, which lasted fully three hours, the orchestra played several Strauss waltzes, including the Emperor's Waltz and the obligatory Blue Danube, a few pieces from opera (about which I know precious little--but on the verge of deciding to learn) and several Christmas songs.

During "White Christmas," faux snow began to fall. The snow gradually increased to "comic" proportions--Debbie and I, in the eighth row, were soon covered with the stuff, as were those close by. "White Christmas" was followed by "Jingle Bells," after which came the intermission. During the intermission, we were able to get up and brush ourselves off. Even so, we carried some of the "snow" home with us in our hair and clothes.

We, and by appearances, everyone else there present had a wonderful time watching an orchestra play beautiful music--an orchestra whose members were clearly excellent in their ability and in complete enjoyment of their chosen profession. The show was full of uplifting music and good humor.

Should Andre Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra return next year, we'll be there!

The silver lining that has no cloud.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

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