ShAnnie performs at the US Embassy in Bern, Switzerland 2013
We were met at the gate of the Ambassadorâ€™s House, where we would be staying for five days leading up to the Fourth of July event! Letâ€™s start from the beginningâ€¦ James, a friend from the Embassy, whom we had met during our first trip to Europe, called. He asked us if we would be available and interested in performing at the corporate sponsored Fourth of July Event at the United States Embassy in Bern, Switzerland. This is the same event that has brought people like Quincy Jones in previous years, so we had to make sure that the call was definitely for â€œShAnnieâ€. Well, it turns out that it wasâ€¦ and it was a no brainer for us. So, through happy tears, we shouted â€œYES!â€ Months of planning went by and the time came for our trip to Switzerland. (You can read a short story about the trip in the NEWS link on this page) So, there we were at the gate of the Ambassadorâ€™s House. We couldnâ€™t believe that this was where we would be staying for several days. Upon entering the gated garden, we and our bags were understandably searched. I must say that it was good to know that Shan got a clean background checkâ€¦ HA! Through the garden and up to the house we walked with smiles plastered on our faces, and goosebumps growing on our arms. First, James introduced us to the staff of the house. Theyâ€™re the hard working and lovely people that care for the home and the Ambassador during his/her tenure at the Embassy. During our stay, the staff would be diligently preparing for the big July Fourth event. There was a lot going on during the day, but in the evenings, the house was all ShAnnieâ€™s! What a house it was too, with four stories and a dungeon. There was a spiral staircase taking us from the main floor to the second floor with several bedrooms and our very own kitchen. There was a hidden staircase that lead to all of the other floors. After our grand tour, we decided to grab a few things at a local store and stay in the beautiful house for the evening. We opened a bottle of red wine that we were given by one of our friends and toasted to all the opportunities we have been blessed with through the years and to the sweet sunset over the Bern skyline. The days seemed to pass so quickly and now the event was upon us. We were up and dressed early. Although we were a little nervous, we were absolutely ready to perform a concert and take part in an event that we will never forget. Thursday the fourth, was even busier than the days before. There were people all over the garden setting up tables, bars, props and even a faÃ§ade that read â€œRed Grizzly Saloonâ€. It was amazing to see the garden transformed into a Swiss-Texas Luckenbach! We started our day with interviews by several publications and even the Swiss Country Radio station. While our interviews were taking place, the security was tightening. There were bomb-sniffing dogs and guards screening the entire garden. They were making sure it was a safe environment for the big event. It was now 3:15 and people were lining up to enter the gate. Once inside the gate, they would have to pass through metal detectors for added security. The whole thing went so smoothly though and all 900 or so people were in and ready to party by 3:45. At 4pm the event began. We were introduced by Alan, security and employee at the Embassy and a fellow Texan. We played the first 30 minutes before the chargÃ© d'affaires, Susan Elbow was introduced. Susan has been the acting ambassador while the US searches to appoint a new one. Susan Elbow gave the most beautiful speech, talking about the bond between Switzerland and Texas. She spoke about the United States and how proud she was and we should all be to be Americans. She talked about how the Embassy came to decide on ShAnnie as representatives of music and our beloved Texas. I wanted to cry with overwhelming joy for being right there, at that moment, on that stage with Shan. More speeches from diplomats of Switzerland and the United States were shared among the people. It was such an incredible feeling to be there. Once all of the speeches were completed, an opera singer began to bellow the National Anthem, which queued four young soldiers to commence with the â€œcolorsâ€. That is when I lost it! I placed my hand over my heart... I could feel it pounding and then time began to freeze. I thought of all the things we had been able to do up until that very instant and was so grateful. Every place we had been to, every person we had met, every song we wrote, every song we sang, every single moment sharing to bring us right there. I could feel the pressure from the tears swelling in my eyes. I felt so proud to be a part of something so special. I tried not to cry, but several of my tears escaped, and while carefully wiping my eyes I glanced at Shan. He stood tall and handsome with his hat in his hand. Released from what seemed like his frozen moment, Shan looked back at me and thatâ€™s when we were reintroduced by Susan Elbow to perform the remainder of the show. â€œLadies and Gentleman, with great pleasureâ€¦ from Fredericksburg, Texasâ€¦ ShAnnie!!!â€ .................................. Every time we perform we are ecstatic. We have been honored to play for as little as three people to as many as too many to count and every show has been special to us. We came together at a time when we didnâ€™t even know we needed each other. Through the years we have grown as a couple thanks to our communication and want to understand and love one another, and boy do we love one another. But we have grown as a singing duo because of the people we have metâ€¦ You. And boy do we love you too. Thank you for your belief in us and your continued encouragement. For more images of the Embassy and the Ambassador's House please visit the photos link on our website.