30 September 2006

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Saturday, 30th September 2006

ON OUR WAY HOME!

The bus left Halle at 06h00 this morning on the first leg back home. Contrary to the trip over, there was almost complete silence as 54 exhausted children and adults collapsed into their seats! We arrived safely at Frankfurt International Airport and, as far as the webmaster knows, all are now safely onboard the flight to Dubai.

We ended the concert tour with yet another outstanding performance in Halle on Thursday night. What made the evening even more special, is the fact that the Halle choir joined us in the performance of Ständchen.

The promised trip to the mine was very interesting. It is an old manganese, copper and fluoride mine that has been in existence for over 300 years. We all donned our hard hats and yellow overcoats for a trip down below, where we could see exactly how mining was done through the ages. The most impressive was probably the water-wheel driven mechanism for transporting ore out of the mine. The water wheel has a massive 10m diameter and is still in perfect working order!

From there we moved on to a youth campsite, where we were served a delicious lunch before venturing into the woods for a lovely walk. Our clever guides went ahead, dropping candy along the way. It was better than the proverbial carrot - the kids literally ran the whole way in order to find the next sweet. Why didn't we think of that?

Upon our return to Halle we were welcomed at a garden party on the grounds of the music school, complete with stokbrood, pork sausage rolls, steak rolls, salads and candy floss! A good game of soccer helped us get rid of our spare energy.

The biggest surprise of the evening was when the tour parents called all into the practice hall. They had written a tour song from them to Lionel and the kids and to their consternation had half the choir in tears by the end of it! The words (to Abba's Thank You for the Music) follow:

We're nothing special, it's you who're the stars of the tour.
In fact, without you, we wouldn't be here at all.
We'd like to tell you that we're very proud
Of angels like you, with halos that's skew,
And we've had lots of laughs,
And with that we'd just like to say....

So we say "Thank you for the music,
The songs you're singing;
Thanks for all the joy you're bringing;
Who can live without you, we ask in all honesty;
What would life be without a song or a dance, what are we?"
So we say "Thank  you for the music,
For bringing it to us."

The evening was concluded by everybody (hosts and guests) forming a circle and singing Siyahamba and Al lê die berge nog so blou.

While everyone is sure to want to get home now, it is surely not without a little sadness. We made wonderful friends, sang in beautiful venues and saw many other wonderful things.

Thank you moms and dads, we really do appreciate it!

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