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#1530820 - 10/08/10 09:22 AM OT: Learning German?  
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As many of you know, we are putting together a group tour of European Piano Makers, Music Museums, Composers Homes, Castles, etc.

We will be touring Steingraeber, Bluthner, Hamburg Steinway, and Bosendorfer.
Tour Details Here

Our tour will be focused on Germany and Austria.
While we will have an english speaking guide I suspect most Germans & Austrians speak ... German :-)

As a visitor to their countries I'd like to be able to speak the language, at least enough to carry on a simple conversation. You know, important stuff like ... bathroom, piano, hotel, restaurant, beer.

I thought of Rosetta Stone, but the courses are expensive.

Any suggestions for a reasonably priced course for learning German?



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#1530824 - 10/08/10 09:28 AM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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'Sprechen sie Englische' will cover you in 99.999% cases :-)

#1530843 - 10/08/10 09:55 AM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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Do you mean to the point that you can carry on a conversation? Community colleges and adult education organizations often offer reasonably priced courses.

If you just want "survival German" then I would think one of those Berlitz phrase books should get you through.

I learned most of the German I know from a girl friend in college who was German, but the bulk of it would not be useful for most tourists wink.

#1530851 - 10/08/10 10:01 AM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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Dave Horne Offline
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It you're really serious about learning another language I would suggest you hire someone privately to spend a few hours with you everyday to help you with typical conversations.

When I first moved to the Netherlands I attended a two week, very expensive course which immersed me six hours or so per day. It cost a small fortune.

If I had to do it all over again I would have hired someone to teach me for a few hours every day.

Unfortunately if you are not exposed to the language in question on a daily basis it's going to be difficult to become proficient. The Dutch speak English so well because they have so many English speaking programs on their TV. They hear it every day. Unless you spend many hours watching German television every day it's going to be an expensive language course no matter how you cut it.

Hire someone privately to teach you. My two Euro cents.



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#1530868 - 10/08/10 10:18 AM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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I expect that most Germans and Austrians speak English, so there should not be a problem On the other hand, learning another language is always a worthy exercise!


#1530871 - 10/08/10 10:24 AM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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Thanks everyone, keep the suggestions coming.

I'm just looking for enough to get by on a very basic level.
First, it would be fun, second I'd like to be able to show some respect to our hosts.

We will only be there for 12 days, most of which will be spent with our group and our english speaking tour guide.

I realize Europeans often speak more than one language, due in part I'd imagine to the fact you can visit 6 countries in an area about the size of New England (a fraction of the United States in the northeast).



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-------------------------
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#1530880 - 10/08/10 10:38 AM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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... one more thing, tipping over here is not like in the US. You don't automatically calculate 15 percent and go from there.

Folks are paid very well here and we typically round up. If the dinner comes to €38 we'll leave a €2 tip.

I have not encountered tips being included in the bill in Germany or Holland but have paid a 'table setting charge' in Italy. I guess they thought we wouldn't tip and added that extra charge to the bill. In that instance I left nothing.



website | mp3\wav files | Yamaha AvantGrand N3 | Roland RD 2000 | Sennheiser HD 598 headphones
#1530887 - 10/08/10 10:50 AM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Dave Horne]  
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Originally Posted by Dave Horne
... one more thing, tipping over here is not like in the US. You don't automatically calculate 15 percent and go from there.

Folks are paid very well here and we typically round up. If the dinner comes to €38 we'll leave a €2 tip.

I have not encountered tips being included in the bill in Germany or Holland but have paid a 'table setting charge' in Italy. I guess they thought we wouldn't tip and added that extra charge to the bill. In that instance I left nothing.


Thanks Dave.

I find it fascinating that you live in the Netherlands and rattled off 3 other countries as if they were within a few hundred km of you. Oh wait, they are :-)

I'm so looking forward to my first visit to Europe, I've a feeling it won't be my last.



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-------------------------
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#1530922 - 10/08/10 11:35 AM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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The Netherlands
Europe is awesome, but you could spend a lifetime exploring every single country, they truly are so different.
Most young germans are actually quite capable of speaking english. They do however voice-over a lot of the programs and movies, which in the Netherlands never happens (only for children movies), we always use subtitles.


Currently working on: Perfecting the Op 2/1, studying the 27/2 last movement. Chopin Nocturne 32/2 and Posth. C#m, 'Raindrop' prelude and Etude 10/9
Repetoire: Beethoven op 2/1, 10/1(1st, 2nd), 13, 14/1, 27/1(1st, 2nd), 27/2, 28(1st, 2nd), 31/2(1st, 3rd), 49/1, 49/2, 78(1st), 79, 90, 101(1st)
#1530937 - 10/08/10 11:51 AM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Victor25]  
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Originally Posted by Victor25
Europe is awesome, but you could spend a lifetime exploring every single country, they truly are so different.


No doubt.

I love architecture, history, antiques, music, food, and interesting people.
I'm afraid I'll be on overload in Europe, and may just want to stay :-)

All I need is a high-speed Internet connection and I could run Piano World from anywhere.


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-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
Invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!


#1530948 - 10/08/10 12:00 PM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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my wife & i did a cycling trip along the danube this summer; munich to vienna. the pimsleur approach is by far the best and least expensive (audio course); intro course only $10:

http://www.pimsleurapproach.com/

Last edited by Entheo; 10/08/10 12:13 PM.
#1530953 - 10/08/10 12:12 PM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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When I learnt German I use the Michel Thomas course, which is available by CD or on-line.

I have some MP3 German lessons which I am happy to email to you Frank (but not dozens of people) if you PM me a private email address.

Also some common phrases etc that will be useful.

My wife is German and we have a house near Cologne, so that helps in the learning process. As an English primary language speaker I found German rather difficult, largely because the sentence structures are radically different.

Whilst many Germans do speak English, the degree of multilingual fluency is nowhere near as widespread as it is in the Netherlands. My first wife was Dutch and in my experience a great many Dutch speak multiple languages - certainly it is common to be fluent or near fluent in Dutch, German, English and French. This is much less true of most Germans unless they have made a specific effort to learn other languages.

Certainly guys like Udo Steingreaber speak fluent English and you will encounter no problems on the Steinway factory tour either (apart from being frozen that far north!).

Adrian





Re-learning after a long break from playing. New piano for 2017. 7ft semi concert grand.
#1530959 - 10/08/10 12:20 PM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: AJB]  
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Thanks Adrian.

I've met Udo Steingraeber a couple of times, and Dr. Bluthner a number of times. You are correct, they both speak excellent English.

As for it being "cold" in Hamburg, I only recently moved to Florida (southern U.S.), having spent most of my life in the New England area (northeast U.S.).

In my youth I worked on commercial fishing, lobstering, and tug boats where we sometimes had to chip ice off the rails and masts. I'm pretty tolerant of the cold :-)



- Frank B.
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My Keyboards:
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-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
Invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!


#1531020 - 10/08/10 01:56 PM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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As for learning German: Fe'get it!
I took German for 4 years at shcool in Norway, and even at the age from 13 to 17 when your memory is soooo much better than at 62, I had great difficulties learning this language, so full of rules and "kasus" and difficult grammar. But finally, 4 weeks before the final exam, the dime fell down, and I got the hang of it. Two weeks after the exam, I went on my first trip to Germany and got a chance to use what I had learned, and after a week, I was almost fluent.
But have no fear, all the Germans and Austrians know English to some extent, and you will have no problems navigating without knowing German. And if you should get stuck when Lufthansa loses your luggage, you may emulate Marlene Dietrich and tell them that "Ich hab' noch einen Koffer in Berlin".


Some men are music lovers. Others make love without it.
#1531047 - 10/08/10 02:46 PM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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Doesn't make sense to learn German, since everyone speaks English in even the most remote corners of the world. I wouldn't recommend something like Rosetta Stone. These commercial courses are just not practical. They have sentence constructions like: "Which one of the three people is holding the plate?", stuff that you would never say in real life. The best way to learn a foreign language is to befriend a native speaker who will teach you the language like you would learn it in the home in that country.

#1531088 - 10/08/10 03:34 PM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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First, I think it would be presumptious to think "everyone" speaks English, second ... as stated earlier...

I just want to learn some basics because
A. It would be fun
B. It shows some respect for the host country.

Now based on your suggestion Gyro, I'll just have to stay in Europe until I learn the language, not a bad idea:-)


- Frank B.
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My Keyboards:
Estonia L-190 w/ ProRecord, Yamaha P-80, Estey 1895 Pump Organ, Harpsichord (kit), Clavichord (kit), Bilhorn Telescope Organ c 1880
-------------------------
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
Invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!


#1531097 - 10/08/10 03:38 PM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Gyro]  
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Originally Posted by Gyro
Doesn't make sense to learn German, since everyone speaks English in even the most remote corners of the world. I wouldn't recommend something like Rosetta Stone. These commercial courses are just not practical. They have sentence constructions like: "Which one of the three people is holding the plate?", stuff that you would never say in real life. The best way to learn a foreign language is to befriend a native speaker who will teach you the language like you would learn it in the home in that country.


Haha, you don't travel much do you?

#1531116 - 10/08/10 04:04 PM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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Hmmm, I have been to Italy as well as Costa Rica, and English worked just fine.
But all that aside: There is nothing as rewarding as learning a foreign language, it opens up doors to books, plays, conversations and other things that will enrich your life. And once you have mastered German, no Lieder will ever sound good in English, no matter how accessible. But a language like German is very hard to learn on your own, due to the impossible grammar and pronunciation. Is there a possibility for a tutor somewhere? Free of charge, of course. In any case, feel free to private me for any grammatical question, I will be more than happy to help. (and render you totally frustrated.)


Some men are music lovers. Others make love without it.
#1531124 - 10/08/10 04:18 PM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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For a while I subscribed to "Schau ins Land" that sent monthly CD's along with a text booklet that explained the vocabulary and colloquialisms in greater context. More supplemental attention was given to help the foreigner understand the background behind these events to help bridge the gap between the foreigner and the native. The CD's were similar to a radio broadcast with in depth coverage of important and timely topics. Learning a foreign language is really about understanding politics, culture, local current events of the country and even a different perspective on American news.

Unfortunately Champs-Elysees Audio Magazines that produced "Schau ins Land" has suspended its operations because of economic conditions.

#1531139 - 10/08/10 04:43 PM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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I liked the Pimsleur course that I used from my library. It didn't teach any grammar rules, but it did give me a good ear for what the language sounded like, and gave me a lot of practice trying to get my words to sound like the speakers on the cd. I thought the phrases and words it taught were useful. I'm now going through a German textbook (what 1st-year university students use) which is a good complement to the Pimsleur course. The course is expensive to buy, so check your library.

As for everyone speaking English, I would feel guilty assuming that, and expecting everyone else I'm visiting to have the burden of trying to speak in another language.

Last edited by Arghhh; 10/08/10 04:44 PM.
#1531147 - 10/08/10 05:04 PM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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I have a rather conservative friend in the US (who also plays piano). He is a member of an organization that wants to have English as the official language of the US.

He was in Germany a few years ago and was upset that all the train information was in German. Imagine that? You're in Germany and the train information is in German of all languages!

After having lived in Europe for over 16 years I have much more empathy for those folks who don't speak the native language so well.

I remember once, after hearing a Korean saleswoman saying two dollar for the price of something (in the US), thinking to myself, learn the %^&*()__$ language. Now my thoughts would be more generous.



website | mp3\wav files | Yamaha AvantGrand N3 | Roland RD 2000 | Sennheiser HD 598 headphones
#1531454 - 10/09/10 04:02 AM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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Victor25 Offline
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The Netherlands
Actually thats 2 different issue's. My simple view is - Learn the language of the country you live in. On the other hand, some American who is telling that signs in Germany should be in English, has ALOT of history reading up to do!


Currently working on: Perfecting the Op 2/1, studying the 27/2 last movement. Chopin Nocturne 32/2 and Posth. C#m, 'Raindrop' prelude and Etude 10/9
Repetoire: Beethoven op 2/1, 10/1(1st, 2nd), 13, 14/1, 27/1(1st, 2nd), 27/2, 28(1st, 2nd), 31/2(1st, 3rd), 49/1, 49/2, 78(1st), 79, 90, 101(1st)
#1531468 - 10/09/10 04:52 AM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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Dave Horne Offline
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Vught, The Netherlands
I have to give the Dutch credit. Schipol has all signs in English and Dutch. It was also one of the first airports where you didn't have you insert a coin (local currency) to rent a cart to push your luggage. I remember flying into NYC and not having US currency to use the carts.

This is getting further off topic but the Dutch just revamped their public transportation system. You don't need to buy a ticket or a strip card to use the train, bus or tram. You load money into a card and simply wave the card at a sensor before you enter and after you leave. I used that for the first time a few weeks ago while attending a concert in Amsterdam. It was excellent and so easy.

It's always the transportation system that is intimidating and now the Dutch has made it simpler for everyone to use.



website | mp3\wav files | Yamaha AvantGrand N3 | Roland RD 2000 | Sennheiser HD 598 headphones
#1531476 - 10/09/10 05:03 AM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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Victor25 Offline
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Which concert Dave?


Currently working on: Perfecting the Op 2/1, studying the 27/2 last movement. Chopin Nocturne 32/2 and Posth. C#m, 'Raindrop' prelude and Etude 10/9
Repetoire: Beethoven op 2/1, 10/1(1st, 2nd), 13, 14/1, 27/1(1st, 2nd), 27/2, 28(1st, 2nd), 31/2(1st, 3rd), 49/1, 49/2, 78(1st), 79, 90, 101(1st)
#1531494 - 10/09/10 06:55 AM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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Dave Horne Offline
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Vught, The Netherlands
From 19 Sep (copied and pasted)

Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest
* Bernard Haitink, dirigent
* Till Fellner, piano

* Beethoven - Derde pianoconcert in c, op. 37
* Bruckner - Zevende symfonie in E



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#1531503 - 10/09/10 07:25 AM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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One of the best way to learn German is from another American visiting there. To the great disappointment of many, Germany is more visited by Americans than would be anticipated. Don't expect to run into each and every school pal, but the occasional ex-girlfriend may just sit across the corner bench in a bemuetliche Gasthof.

Insider tip: after the second beer none of these concerns don't seem to matter much...

Viel Spass!

Norbert thumb



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#1531537 - 10/09/10 09:12 AM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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Frank,

Here's a few options for learning German:

Pimsleur audio course (often available from your library - as someone above mentioned).

Michel Thomas audio course http://www.michelthomas.com/ (again, also available from libraries - his german course is better than some of his other courses due to his accent. Pimsleur uses native speakers.) Very similar structure to Pimsleur except you have to pause the tape / cd to make your response. Pimsleur gives you time for the response.

FSI Language courses - available from http://fsi-language-courses.org/Content.php . These were developed by the US Government, so they are public domain. These take a lot of effort to use and they are also a bit dated.

There are also plenty of free websites for learning german:

BBC:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/german/

Deutsche Welle:
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/0,,2547,00.html

http://www.german-grammar.de/grammar/content/english_german_table_of_content.htm

You would learn more with private instruction, but you can pick up quite a bit just from free resources.

Rich


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#1531544 - 10/09/10 09:26 AM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 6,133
Piano World Offline
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Joined: May 2001
Posts: 6,133
Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Thanks for the resources Rich.

And thank you to everyone who responeded.

I'm so looking forward to this trip.
I hope more of our members decide to join the tour, it's going to be a great time.

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, here is a quick list of the itinerary:

Some Highlights from Your Itinerary (not in date order and not complete):


Hamburg Steinway Tour (Hamburg, Germany)

Steingräber u. Söhne Tour (Bayreuth, Germany)

Blüthner Tour (Leipzig, Germany)

Bösendorfer Tour (Vienna, Austria)

Meet & Greet and Concert with Robin Meloy Goldsby (Author of The Piano Girl
)(Cologne, Germany)

Visit the Beethoven Museum in Bonn
PM City tour of Leipzig with Thomas Church
Mendelosohn Museum
Music Instruments Museum
Dinner at famous Auerbach-Keller

Germanisches National Museum, historic music instruments (Nuremberg, Germany)

Visit Wagner & Liszt Museum (Rothenburg, Germany)

Visit Deutsches Museum (one of worlds largest musical instrument collections)

Visit National Museum (possibly with behind scenes visit)

Visit Mozart Haus, the birthplace of Mozart

Castle Schonbrunn Visit

Musical Vienna Tour (a city tour connected with composers and music)
We've also scheduled free time to explore on your own



Plus ...
~ Panoramic Scenic Drives with Photo Stops
~ Walking Tours
~ Breakfast & Dinners Included
~ Lovely Hotels
~ Free Time to Explore on Your Own


Full Details Including Dates and Pricing HERE



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#1531561 - 10/09/10 09:58 AM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: DragonPianoPlayer]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,407
keystring Offline
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keystring  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,407
Canada
Rich, a fantastic set of resources.

The BBC link seemed the most promising. Lessons are in different contexts, and there is a variety of speakers with clear enunciation. The American site's pronunciation is fuzzy, as though they used native but untrained speakers. "Guten Tag, Frau Kunzel" comes out as "Gu'ntach, Frau Kunze". I wouldn't worry about German grammar and syntax. If you learn some common phrases like those on the BBC web-site you'll absorb some of those things. It's a bit like learning music by rote imitation and discovering that you've picked up other things.

When you listen to whole phrases, you also pick up the rhythm of the language. This is what makes foreigners hard to understand, when they put the emphASis on the wrong syLAble. If you listen to the flow of the language and imitated it, you pick up something else that helps you understand and be understood.

Most Germans speak English, but anyone loves it when you make an effort to speak their language. I was hired once by a businessman who wanted to be able to introduce his product in German, before continuing in English. 90% of his learning he did on his own. I could help him with pronunciation and understanding the nature of the language.

You might want to get a bit of a piano-related vocabulary. The easiest is to find bilingual texts saying the same thing. Linguee resource - (piano hammer example) is a really cool resource.

#1531778 - 10/09/10 03:02 PM Re: OT: Learning German? [Re: Piano World]  
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Norbert Offline
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Joined: Jul 2001
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Surrey, B.C.
Frank:

Is your itinery in this order?

You zig-zagging quite a bit between North and South...

Norbert


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642 www.eliteheritagepianos.ca Edmonton, Alta dealers for Estonia,
Brodmann 780-405-8908
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