Day 17.2: A Rotterdam Embrace

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 – Day 17 Part 2 – Mormon Tabernacle Choir European Tour ~

After my fun morning “Lover’s Cruise” on the peaceful canals of Amsterdam, I returned to the hotel in time to grab my day-bag and load the bus for Rotterdam. We were on our way to our final performance of the tour. There was so much anticipation for this concert! But, also a bitter-sweetness that this is our final formal performance.

Although this is our 6th Concert, we are still working hard on the music, because this is the first and only time we will be closing with “God Be With You” in Dutch. The Dutch language is not easy – and it is not like German! We spent our hour bus ride “cramming” one last time. We want this song to be a good surprise – not something that the audience will cringe about!

Practicing our Dutch together on the way to Rotterdam

My “Dutch” pronunciation “Cliff Notes” [with apologies to all Netherlanders]
To our delight, we saw windmills along the roadside and off in the distance! Of course, most of my photos turned out blurry as we whizzed by. But, here are a few fun ones [two shared my my friend Marilyn, and one is actually mine!]

De Doelen Hall is home of the Rotterdam Philharmonic and this country’s second orchestra of International standing. Igor Gruppman – who has ties to our Orchestra at Temple Square – is concertmaster here. The Hall was built the year I was born [in the 60’s], and it seats 2,200 people. Our concert is sold out tonight. This hall is known for it’s wonderful acoustics, and it is absolutely beautiful. I could tell as soon as we walked into the hall that it was going to be a joy to sing here!

The de Doelen is a very large building that includes conference rooms and long hallways. I enjoyed looking at some of the original artwork of musicians they had hanging in a foyer.


We held our sound check and rehearsal in the hall, and spent a little extra time running through our Dutch song. I was still really struggling with memorization on a couple of lines, despite my work on it, which caused me distress.

Toward the end of our rehearsal, Brother Wilberg put down his baton and thanked us for all of our hard work on this tour, and then he reminded us that as much as we might not like to think about it, we have a major concert to perform in Salt Lake City next week, just a few days after we return home from this tour. And, he reminded us that next Tuesday night – 3 days after return – we will be rehearsing again in the Conference Center. Yep, this is how we roll in the Tab – our responsibilities never end, our pace never lets up!!

Rotterdam. Osborn 001-L
A marquee inside De Doelen Hall counting down to our concert

The area representatives of Rotterdam presented a special gift to each of us of custom chocolates with our logo printed on them! How sweet is that?

Special custom chocolates presented to us in Rotterdam

We were served a nice buffet dinner, and soon it was time to dress in our new purple ensembles and line up for the concert.

I went to the room storing our bell cases to retrieve my 2 bells, and I had a wave of nostalgia wash over me that this would be the last time I would be ringing my bells on this tour. Oh, how I have loved the bells!

The Bells of Temple Square that we used on our European Tour – backstage at De Doelen

There are not words to describe the wonderful and powerful spirit during this concert – and the incredible unity that we felt as a Choir and Orchestra. The hall was so perfectly made for our size and timbre. The staging was reminiscent of the Conference Center back home, with the orchestra on the lower stage below us, and the Choir standing many feet above, and the beautiful organ as our backdrop lit up in glowing blue lights.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra in De Doelen Hall, Rotterdam July 13, 2016
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra in De Doelen Hall, Rotterdam July 13, 2016

The feeling from the audience tonight was electric. There was so much energy in the room, and it felt as if the veil of heaven had been parted a bit. At one point during the concert, I felt the spirit of my sweet mother-in-law Elaine. She was here, enjoying the moment and smiling down on us! Mr. Mo told me afterward that he had felt his mother’s presence right at about the same moment that I had. She may have visited at other times during this tour, but we have both felt her presence the strongest during our “bookend” concerts – beginning in Berlin and ending tonight in Rotterdam. Thanks, Mama Elaine for being here with us.

Sweet Elaine – our angel

Just before we began our final farewell song, as Lloyd Newell was speaking, I was offering a silent prayer that somehow I would remember all of the words, because it was so important that this be done well for our sweet Netherlanders attending. As I began to sing, a spirit of Love and Peace washed over me, and it was like a light was turned on in my brain and I could “see” my little pronunciation card in my mind, and I could remember each word! That was my tender mercy and miracle of the evening. I was so filled with love and gratitude for the words, for the people, for this concert, for this entire tour! What a miracle and blessing to be a part of all of this!

Here is a video of our final farewell, in Dutch, being sung to Rotterdam – during our final concert of the “2016 Central European Tour” of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.

I loved the man who yelled out “Come Back Next Year!” 

We really would love to. In truth, it will probably be another 20 years before the Choir returns to the Netherlands. There are just so many other people and places where we are needed. But, tonight we belonged to Rotterdam. We wrapped Rotterdam up in our warmest musical embrace, and they reciprocated all of that love and embraced us back. And together, we were healed, and made whole and holier.

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Me and Mr. Mo with the de Doelen Concert Poster


Today we also said farewell to our large piece of luggage. All 600+ pieces were loaded into a truck to be taken to a shipping container that arrives back in Salt Lake City sometime at the end of July. We are now officially living out of our carry-on sized bags for the remainder of tour – which is just 3 more whirlwind days.

Tomorrow, PARIS! – MoSop

This is part of a 3-week series sharing my experience during the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s European Tour from June 28-July 16, 2016. Due to security concerns, tour participants were not allowed to share anything on social media until we returned.

Check back each day for a new installment! Read the whole series here


  1. I don’t want the tour to end. I have enjoyed this series so much. In a way, this has been my vacation, getting to see places I’ve never been and hear interesting things about them. Thank you so much for this blog.

    Love you, Lynne


    1. Thanks for “coming on tour” with me, Lynne! It’s been fun to share it with you, and I am glad that you have enjoyed it so much. I didn’t want it to end either, but now that I’ve basically been “twice” – 6 weeks of tour has me worn out. I think we need to wrap it up, and don’t worry, I’m sure there will be new adventures in the future. Love you back – H


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