Writing about the events the past two and a half weeks will be difficult because there are no words that can really describe what I have experienced. When we started planning for this about 18 months ago, we could never ever imagine that the Leroy Anderson concert would be such a smash hit! We sold out to the last seat and it was a fabulous music fest! A total of 700 musicians, dancers and singers of all ages came together and put on a performance never seen in Kristianstad before. It was a sparkling, fun, amazing and wonderful concert that will be remembered for a long time. So many good things came out of this - the music students got in touch with the orchestras in town, everybody co-operated in building the three stages, the young generation learned about the great music of Leroy Anderson, his family members were here to see it and learn more about their origin and much more. When the concert was over, and I sat alone in the car and breathed normally again, I wrote in my notebook: We did it!
Since my mother had an accident and spent most of these weeks in hospital, there were some changes in the program. To make a long story short, most of the Andersons and Bergstroms stayed in a house opposite my mother's. The first one to arrive was Leroy's son Rolf who came on the Tuesday. The next day he and I went by train to Copenhagen and viewed most of the sights worth seeing; the Little Mermaid, Nyhavn and the walking street Ströget. On the way back we stopped by in Lund to pick up Mark A, Rolf's cousin. He had arrived from Berlin that day. We all went to Kristianstad and after a few hours Leroy's daughter Jane and her son Anders arrived from Copenhagen. Thursday started at the Holy Trinity Church, where the chairman of the Centennial Committee, Tommy, gave a much appreciated guided tour of the huge building. We also got to see the organ there. Lunch at Grand Hotel and then the rest of the day we were at the school of music. The Andersons got to take part in a class and the press conference was also held there. Several of us were interviewed for the local radio. Thursday evening Leroy's great nephew Mark B and his wife Cindy arrived in their brand new Volvo convertible they had purchased in Göteborg (and will get shipped to the US later). My sister and her family also arrived, and stayed with me in our mother's house. Friday everybody except me went sightseeing with my father. They got to see a very old castle, Glimmingehus, and a huge rock formation called Ales stenar, among other things. I was at the sports arena to try to put up the exhibit. It wasn't the easiest thing. First, the others had blocked the area with floor boards. Then the owner of the cafeteria there told me I was blocking the place where he would have the coffee. I couldn't do anything until Saturday morning, but it went alright because I had everything prepared. The only mishap was when the screen fell over and destroyed some posters and a picture frame. I got help from the set designer with decorating the entrance hall (and she did a great job). The dress rehearsal started at five on the Friday, and I stood on the floor watching most of it. The Andersons got there later and was as impressed as I. When the 250 people in the choir sang Sleigh Ride, it was overwhelming. It was very powerful.
The concert day (Saturday) we had a V.I.P. meeting at Grand Hotel for a late lunch, and then the concert started at four. Everything went according to plan (only ten minutes delay of the start, but that was because it took time to get all the members of the audience in place). A representative from the US Embassy opened the concert and Rolf gave a short speech also. Lions Club gave a travel grant for a trip in the footsteps of Leroy Anderson to Patrik, the main arranger of this concert. He really deserved it, he has been working very hard for this. The music was varied and covered almost all of Leroy Anderson's most popular works. In my personal opinion, the highlights included Fiddle Faddle on marimbas, Waltzing Cat with two dancers dressed as a cat and a dog, Typewriter with a real typewriter, Sandpaper Ballet with dancers, Syncopated Clock with a very young and able percussionist, and the final piece Sleigh Ride with the gigantic choir (standing ovations twice)!