My flight leaves this afternoon at 1:40, so I’m in the office for a few hours this morning. A coworker will drive me to the airport, which is just a couple miles away. Tonight I’ll see Alicia in Medellín. Yay!
Tomorrow evening is her farewell concert at the university where she used to teach. It’s also the farewell for the symphonic band director, who is also retiring.
Alicia has three television appearances today to promote the concert. The posters were only put up on Monday. It’s kind of short notice. Preparations have been a comedy of errors and delays. When Alicia worked at the university, she was the logistics expert for her department and organized all the big events. Now that she’s gone, no one has stepped into the gap. Things just don’t get done, or they get thrown together at the last minute.
We had studio portraits taken of Alicia a month ago, and e-mailed them to the university band directors and the head of Alicia’s department. It turned out that the band director’s e-mail address was wrong, the corrected one he gave us was wrong, and we finally had to route stuff through his wife’s address! Even at that, the first draft of the concert poster was produced using an older photo of Alicia that neither of us liked, so late last week I e-mailed the studio portraits to the graphics department at the university—over and over again, because I was again given a series of incorrect addresses. I think it was Thursday evening when they finally sent me another draft of the poster to proof, and then they rushed it off to the printer on Friday.
Similar problems have besieged the production of her CD, which was supposed to be launched at this concert but isn’t ready. I still haven’t seen a draft of the cover art or the liner notes. I have no idea when it will come out. It was supposed to be the education department’s Christmas gift.
For that matter, the concert may not happen at all. I’ve written before about the typical turmoil at the university: the students rarely miss an opportunity to protest against the government or the university administration. I can’t remember how many times Alicia had to rush out of her office because there were papa-bombas (“potato” bombs) going off and the riot police were coming in. When my dad taught there, they rarely completed more than one semester a year because of all the interruptions. Right now the students are on strike, so the campus has been calm, thank God. Tomorrow morning, though, of all days, a student assembly is scheduled. If it results in violence, the concert could be called off, since it’s to take place in the university theater.
There was also supposed to be an outdoor Christmas concert December 6. That one was canceled for security reasons. I wish they had moved it off campus instead of canceling it; the botanical gardens are just up the street and would make a great venue. Alicia is checking on whether they can throw together another performance at the Teatro Pablo Tobón Uribe, Medellín’s concert hall. If anyone can pull it off, she can.
You guys have a great Thanksgiving. I’m grateful for you.