On Friday night there was a free concert in the theatre that’s in the basement of the building where the Library is housed. I’d discovered back when we first got here to Bandol, while Kathy and Ron were here, that there’s a Music School here in town, and I’ve kept my eyes and ears open for some performances or activities related to that fact. Well, here was the first.

This concert was billed as a spring concert, and it was to be by the faculty of the School of Music. I’d asked around town, and learned that it would be free – can’t beat that!! Roy and I were concerned about getting seats, so we showed up about 45 minutes early – as it turned out, WAY too early, but at least we got to wait inside, in the vestibule (it gets chilly at night!), and watch all the performers arrive and greet each other.

We were finally allowed into the theatre 10 to 15 minutes before the concert was supposed to begin at 9:00. We got perfect seats! It’s a really nice theatre, seating perhaps 750 or so people, according to Roy’s estimation. Comfy chairs, too!

The hall filled up, and the performers finally came on stage a few minutes after nine. About 8 winds and brass of various sorts, a pianist, percussion, and bass guitar. One gentleman acted as the Master of Ceremonies, announcing the pieces before they played – probably the head of the school. It was informal, in a lovely, “let’s all enjoy doing this together” kind of a way, that also managed to avoid seeming disorganized. It was pretty clear that everyone in the audience knew at least one of the performers (well, except for us…).

The first piece was the theme from Rocky, and next was a movement from Mozart’s symphony #40, arranged for band. It was pretty darned good! And then the large group left, and the night proceeded with various permutations and combinations of performers playing a couple of pieces. Four hand piano, violin, cornet, classical guitar and piano, classical guitar and flute, xylophone, something martial and patriotic with percussion and brass, an esemble, including bongos, playing Dizzy Gilespie’s “Night in Tunisia,” etc. Before each performance the MC (who also played, let’s see, trumpet, various percussion instruments, and even conducted at the end!) would introduce the performers and their pieces. It was a phenominal concert!

The highlight of the night, for me, was at the end, when a young lady came out and sang a couple of Édith Piaf songs – she brought down the house!! She was totally awesome! The evening ended with her singing one last song, with English lyrics, which I didn’t know, but upon further investigation I’ve discovered that it’s called “It’s raining men!” Again, she brought the house down! Phenominal!!!

This concert lasted an hour and 45 minutes – it was free, really fun and good, and very well-attended. Understand that Bandol is a small, one-horse town (had you ever heard of it before we came here?). What a wonderful thing that they are able to have and support an event like this for all to enjoy. We were lucky to find out about it and to have the chance to attend!

Sunday afternoon is the concert (also free) of the local community orchestra! Count us in!!!

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