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Jan 12, 2008

Eileen's Story of Her Weekend In Toronto

Eileen's Toronto Story

Actually my story begins in May 2005, at the concert in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre, where I was fortunate enough to meet Andre at one of his last Meet and Greets there. Ardell, my daughter-in-law took my picture with him and also with many other orchestra members. Ever since then I have carried those pictures with me, along with all the others I have had taken with JSO members, to every concert I have been to, hoping for the opportunity to get signatures.

Almost a year prior to the concerts in Toronto I had purchased my tickets, and of course I couldn't help but think about what the weather could be in Western New York State and Southern Ontario at that time of year! Although it is only a two and one half hour drive for me, it can very treacherous if we are having a lake effect snow storm. But Ardell was going to drive and she did not seem in the least concerned and said "Don't worry, we will get there!" Bless her heart! She has driven me to every concert in Toronto, but most have been in the spring. All year I said to myself "If we can just get there, I don't care when we get home".

Friday December 14th finally arrived, and although there was a storm predicted for the week-end, the weather was fine and we had a very uneventful trip to Toronto. I breathed a sigh of relief when we arrived, and with much excitement, got checked into our room at the Renaissance. A very memorable week-end had begun! I immediately saw familiar faces of orchestra members, and fan friends I had met before; Sonja and her Mom, Maggie, Chris and Ziggy, Sue, Joan, Ellen Mak, Ellen Weber, Beate, but how disappointed I was to learn that Laurie would not be there because of the ice storms in New Jersey. I also met new friends Ineke and Ruud, John and Bobbie, Ruth and Jim, Cathy, Alice, Jeanine Ann and for the first time I also met little Cassandra. I will always treasure the time I spent with these people throughout the week-end. I had so much fun with them!
Entering the arena for the first time that night was breathtaking!! What had been accomplished there was almost unbelievable! The concerts were beautiful, and the music was beautiful, but I won't go into detail about that, as other fans have already done a very good job of that. The orchestra members were all over the place, before and after the concerts, with many opportunities to talk to them and have pictures taken. I was hoping for the opportunity to have Andre sign my picture. I actually had 3 encounters with Andre, well maybe not encounters, but sightings! The first was Saturday afternoon as I was sitting at the restaurant bar with Ardell and Joan having hot chocolate. I had decided to go back up to my room, but as I started to leave who should I come face to face with, but Andre with his bodyguards close behind him entering the restaurant. As he passed by, he smiled and I smiled back, but I kept right on going, I knew this was not the time to ask for an autograph! A few steps later, I did an about face and went back and joined Sonja, Chris and Sue who were having a bite to eat in the restaurant. From where we were sitting we could see that Andre was having a meeting in the far part of the restaurant, with his bodyguards keeping a close eye on every one there. Pierre also came in and joined them. The second sighting was after the concert that night when he came into the bar briefly at 2:30 A.M. But I could not have gotten past his bodyguards again.

I had been able to get all my pictures of JSO members signed, some at other concerts and many I got signed here in Toronto, except one - Andre's. Although I had that picture with me at all times in my bag, and had seen him twice, it just didn't happen. Then Mother Nature stepped in and we were all snowed in at the hotel for another day and night. We spent a lot of time in the lobby that day, and luckily I was there when Andre and the JSO were getting ready to leave. What a surprise when he turned to us and said "So, who would like an autograph!" Here's my chance, I thought! I whipped that picture out of my bag, and felt brave enough to ask him if he would sign that for me instead of the New York cards he was signing for everyone. He said "Oh sure" and here is my prize from a week-end I shall never forget!

Eileen

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Eileen for sharing your experience of the Toronto Weekend.
Your prize just goes to reinforce, in my mind, that if we just, 'hang-in', with our dreams the best will eventuate without seemingly any effort on our part.
After all --- Andre offered to sign!!!!
Wonderful for you!
Cheers
Bernadette

Anonymous said...

Wonderful story Eileen. It was so great to meet you. I am so glad you got your precious photo signed. I am really happy for you.
Love,
Jeanine Ann

Anonymous said...

How I enjoyed your story, Eileen. Fans, I have seen Eileen's bag with many JSO pictures (at least I think that is the one she was referring to.) I am so happy for you, Eileen. Little did we know that 2005 would be the last of the Meet & Greets. I have pictures with Andre, but none of them signed. Instead I squandered his signatures in Trenton and Detroit, having him sign CDs for my kids and I could just as well have taken pictures of "us" to the M & G's with me.

Laurie

Anonymous said...

Hello Eileen,
You go girl!! I'm happy for your mission accomplished. I wondered if I would ever be able to take a picture with André. But hey, I told myself that anyone who has seen an André concert is privileged, anything more is a bonus! What a wonderful memory we have. Hope we'll meet again!
Alice

Sue said...

Eileen,

I just love reading your story and have read it more than once now!
What wonderful memories it brings back! And I remember the shine in your eyes and the smile on your face when you showed me the picture that André finally signed for you!

It was a weekend of memory making. I don't think any of us will ever forget it, and yours was one of the best ... thank you for sharing it with everyone.

Love, Sue :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Eileen,
I sure enjoyed reading your story! I'm very happy for you that you finally got your prized autograph! Hopefully we'll meet at a concert one of these days!
Chris T.

Ineke Holland said...

Hi Eileen!
I loved reading your story.
What a wonderful weekend we had in Toronto!!I am so happy that I met you and Ardell.
Love,
Ineke.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all for your kind comments. It was certainly a wonderful week-end!
Eileen

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