Day Four – AFO without the Shackles

Day Four – AFO without the Shackles

This has been the best AFO day ever according to Musical Director David Moore.

The morning was another early start, but most days seem to be. We were on the buses by 8am, our subway days are thankfully over, and drove down to the United Nations building for guided tours. Our guides took us around the various departments of the UN and explained the inner workings of the organisation, its member states and the help it provides in the world. After a short break in the gift shop it was back on the buses for a short drive to the bottom on Broadway.

We made our way to Bowling Green Park for a concert on the grass. The orchestra gathered quite a crowd and a lot of flyers and programmes were handed out. This was the first concert of Tour and the orchestra sounded amazing, even the people of the bus tours going by wanted to know who we were. Lunch was eaten on the grass, another packed lunch from the Hostel. We then had some free time in Battery Park and the surrounding areas for a few hours, seeing sights such as the statue of liberty, from afar, the Staten island ferry, the Charging Bull.

After meeting at the rendezvous point it was another journey on the buses, this time across the river to Brooklyn. We were invited by friends of Tour adults Anna and Calum Morrison to their Bar on the harbour for dinner and music.

As soon as we stepped off the buses we were greeted by Paul the owner and the wonderful view of the harbour. Inside they had plenty of drinks and tables waiting for us. The orchestra started off the evening with a few tunes before having some hotdogs and burgers, this was only the starters. Then a buffet, that looked so good had the orchestra queueing up. The real highlight of the evening however was not the food but the atmosphere, music and community that evolved throughout the evening.

Many of the seniors took to the stage to play our favourite tines, and unlike the slightly disappointing turnout at the previous night’s ceilidh, the room was busy and buzzing. There was lots of amazing music, dancing and smiling and that was just from the band if you believe it. The players really got into the music and were moving about the stage, interacting with each other, not looking at music and just having a blast and that was mirrored by the audience in the bar. It was fantastic to see and a real change from the orchestra we are used to seeing on stage, they really did break free of the shackles.

Almost everybody was up on stage playing at some point during the evening and whether it was seniors or junior players on the stage the quality of music was always extremely high. The orchestra even took a few requests such as The Devil Went Down to Georgia, which went down very well. Just like yesterday in central park it was amazing to see everyone together having a good time.

The night ended in the most perfect way, with fireworks. Which were apparently supposed to be used for the 4th of July celebrations so we were very lucky to see them.

As I said at the beginning this has been the best AFO event possibly ever, it is going to be difficult to beat that for the rest of the tour, but with such a great group of people that we have with us I think we are up for the challenge.


Quote of the day – “I hate sowing blouses” – Robin Mcmeechan

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