A joyous time recalled
Giffey embarked on concert tour
By DONNA SCHWARZ
50 years ago, Garrison’s well-known Kyle Giffey, owner of Giffey’s Yard & Garden Center and Kyle’s Katering, took part in an adventure that he would remember for a lifetime.
Giffey, who was a sophomore at Dickinson State College at the time, was selected to be a member of the 60-voice choir as a bass and a member of an 80-piece concert band that made up the 1970 International Music Camp Tour. More than 500 students submitted audition tapes in the fall of 1969. Only 140 students made the cut. The 1970’s tour was the fifth international tour to-date at that time.
Dr. Merton Utgaard, the camp music director, wrote in the acceptance letter to Giffey, “This is indeed an honor for you and a tribute to the excellent music training you have received. In view of this keen competition you can be extremely proud of your accomplishments.”
The tour consisted of a series of 22 concerts that were preformed in England, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Canada and the United States. A 29-day event.
After a four days of rehearsal, the tour kicked off it’s opening number in Bottineau, where Giffey’s family and friends were able to attend.
“We were well received,” said Giffey. The group performed one more concert in Grand Forks, there they received a standing ovation, and then they were off to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
In Winnipeg Giffey said that he was able to preform before a group of 1,200 people at the Winnipeg Centennial Center. He remembered walking through the concert hall with a group of fellow tour members alone.
It was off to London the next morning.
“We ate and then tried to sleep, which was most difficult with all the excitement,” Giffey said about the experience.
Once in London, the group stayed in the London Tourist Club.
“What a place! We couldn’t eat the food there. The bathrooms were declared unsanitary by the nurse. The whole place smelled musty and damp. The lobby was really hurting and dirty. Also in the basement, by the cafe part, there was what used to be a ‘cave-bar’. It was covered in about three to four inches of water and garbage, what a mess,” said Giffey.