Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 16: Go to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Today we woke up early (no surprise) and drove about 15 minutes to go to the local prison. After waiting to be cleared thru - note that "cleared thru" is a very lose term. The security was very low - we set up for a concert for the inmates.

I will admit that I was nervous. I've never been to a jail or prison before and all I've ever heard is about abuse and attacks and escape attempts and fights that break out in those places. Yeah. Scary! But after today, I hope to go to the prison back home and perform for the inmates more. I was amazed by how grateful and gracious they were to us. They said no one has ever come to play for them! (At least not in a very, very long time...)

Here's how we were set up. Picture a small courtyard outside. On the "North" wall is a door into the main building, on the "East" and "West" sides are long-ish hallways, and there is nothing but the wall on the south side. The "South" wall extends down the east and west corridors. Each of those hallways is divided up into maybe 5 cells each. We set up the band in the center courtyard area with a small walkway thru the center of the band. As we played our first tune, they walked the inmates into the courtyard, thru the walkway in the center of the band (so they could at least see us at first!) and into the cells on the east and west sides. 

We played a few tunes and then stopped for lunch. Our leaders encouraged us to socialize, which I did! And I was so glad. The inmates were really quite kind and sociable (one even offered me a cigarette! How sweet!) We ate our sandwiches together, more or less. It was just divided up by the bars. We got to know the inmates a little - one lived in Phoenix for 9 months, one was from Romania (!!!!!!) and the one woman there told us she had only been there 15 days and was in because she married an abusive man, and hid their child from him. Apparently it's against the law in Denmark to hide a child from the man of the family. She said one of the men in the cell there with her was in a similar situation - he married a Danish woman, had a child, and then got divorced which then disqualified him from staying in the country (he's not a Dane) but he didn't want to leave his kid. But since he wasn't legal and stayed anyway, they put him in jail. So sad! Those are the only stories we heard. Didn't want to pry, you know :)

One of the inmates told us he was a musician, so Jordan - our drummer - and Alia - our guitarist - took their instruments down the hallway to play with him during our break.

(I wanted to insert a video but it wouldn't work. Sorry!)

Overall the experience was really great.

After that, we had a couple hours to kill, so we came back to the hotel. I slept :) Naps are wonderful. I'm really getting worn out!! This tour has been busy busy busy!!

We went over to our next venue around 3:30 and set up. We played at 5. It was our first (and only) indoor venue. It was a really cool location - an old church, i think, with high, vaulted ceilings and neat windows. The sound was great and the reception was wonderful. Not only did they clap in unison, they gave us an ACTUAL standing-clapping-in-unison double ovation. TAH-DAH!

The concert was great - 2nd maybe to the Kongsberg concert.

Tomorrow we get to see more of Aarhus! I'm thinking of going to the art museum here. I've heard it's wonderful!!

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