Yesterday we left mid-afternoon from Aosta for two bus rides and a plane flight to get to Siegen, Germany. Casey here tries to offload what remained of the huge selection of every kind of baked good in Aosta, provided during the post-concert cultural exchange with members of the chorus from the day before that. We also got samples of the various kinds of grappa produced locally which we had tasted….some of… 
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Our first time in the Apollo Theater in Siegen was two years ago, and very memorable. It’s a brilliantly repurposed cinema which has a very lively atmosphere. Last time the whole thing had been pretty ecstatic, and this year was its equal. The audience put out enough energy to get us through Budapest, a week from now, and it was generally a love fest. 

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Eric was again asked to do a meet-the-audience session beforehand and dazzled everyone with his German, in the presence of his in-laws and their guests. 

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Those of us who had been there last time looked forward to seeing Lila the theater dog again 

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She skedaddled before warmup – having learned last time that she didn’t like countertenors and having had to be removed…She had performed one of her assigned functions though – that of greeting artists. Another is to accompany school groups on tours of the theater. People here are amused by our devotion to Lila. They may not know that in our land of the free, her presence in the theater would be verboten in 50 states, in case she made somebody sneeze and they sued or some such. 

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 While Eric was introducing one of our three encores ( which were Straight Street, Satin Doll and All night – all arrangements by Joe Jennings, somebody yelled out “ERIC FOR PRESIDENT” which was gave us all a big laugh and more bonding with this wonderful audience. At our curtain call we were presented with fruit and chocolates to give us energy for our onward journey, they said. Day off tomorrow in Siegen, then to Hildesheim, a new destination. 

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