Tuesday, February 7, 2017

It was a BIG day

Yesterday's events were the reason we came to the Netherlands. It began at 11. After breakfast we called a taxi which took us to the Groningen Museum where the Symposium took place. Monday is the traditional day for museum closures so that meant the museum was free for an academic symposium centered around Robert's research.

The program was sponsored by the Prince Claus  Conservatoire.  The title of the conference was "De cérébrale organisation van audio motor-transformaties in musiek." 
Since the program was in Dutch Robert had arranged a guided tour of the current museum exhibit on Rodin in English.
That was interesting and informative and filled our time until lunch.  After lunch we joined the symposium. 

Alex had commissioned a composition in Robert's honor and the string ensemble performed before the afternoon lectures.

The three afternoon presentations involved many musical examples, and one speaker used an English PowerPoint, so we were able to follow enough of the content to make it interesting. 

The next event was the defense of Robert's dissertation at 4. He and Alex walked us to a coffee shop where we had enough time for coffee and a chocolate cake before Kate and her friend Aline met us.

They had their bikes, but they walked with us to the University building where the ceremony would take place. 

It was in an ancient hall on the second floor. Friends, family and colleagues streamed up the stairs and packed the room.

As family we were seated on the front row. 

At 4:15 the doors opened and a master of ceremonies led the examining professors who wore robes and academic berets.

They filed in and took their places at tables on each side of the central podium. Robert, Alex and a third sponsor, dressed in tails, filed in. Alex and the colleague sat on the front row and Robert took his place in the hot seat at the center.
For about an hour he took questions from the examining faculty about his dissertation. He answered with confidence and enthusiasm as he discussed his original ideas and research. 
The head professor kept things moving, and after the agreed number of questions he called a halt. Everyone filed out. Then a few minutes later they filed back in.
This time Robert was granted the degree and given a vey large diploma. Everyone clapped and congratulated him and the academic part was complete. 

We headed for the restaurant. Grace and I walked with Vincent, Rebekah, Carlos and Charles. The wind had picked up and there was a cold mist as we headed toward the restaurant.  Grace and I stopped at our hotel to change and walked over to the restaurant after about a half hour. 

There we joined other invited guests, family, colleagues and friends for a buffet dinner followed by a few speeches and another performance of the composition.

The family was gathered and everyone was very happy to celebrate together.

It's no wonder that Grace and I fell asleep almost as soon as our heads hit the pillow. 

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