April 29, 2016

Dear families and friends,

We woke up Thursday morning to the most serious snow we’ve seen.  We were back in Fairplay, now having driven over Hoosier Pass three times and, with this snow, not looking forward to one more pass over the pass.  By the time I got down to breakfast, bus-driver-extraordinaire-David had already checked with CDOT and his bus-driver-extraordinaire network to find out the road conditions from Fairplay to Edwards.  With the assurance that all passes were open and passable, we set out.  By the time we crossed the summit and started down into Breckenridge, the road was dry and the sky was blue.  And it remained that way the entire way to Steamboat – over Vail Pass and all the way north on Hwy. 131.  Springtime in Colorado.  Gotta love it!

Our first stop of the day was Vail Christian School in Edwards.  Remember my description of the crazy school show in Fairplay?  Well, imagine the opposite and you have Vail Christian School.  60 or so of the quietest, most well-behaved children you can imagine, in a large carpeted, draped, sound-absorbing hall.  The polar opposite of Fairplay.  We were not to be deterred, however, and soon had them rockin’ in their seats. Well, sort of.  But we had fun, and they enjoyed the show.

On our way out of Summit County, we had lunch at our favorite-from-last-year, Gourmet China in Eagle.  It is right across the street from the hotel where we spent two weeks during the Ski Championships.  They were glad to see us, and we were happy to enjoy the mountains of sweet and sour, sesame, and lemon chicken that we came to love last year.

Two hours later, we pulled into the Old Town Hot Springs Pool in Steamboat Springs, piled out of the bus, and slipped into the warm, soothing mineral water.  By that time, there were ominous clouds building over the mountain and fast approaching.  With our row one in mind, we found the shallowest spot for the traditional pool rendition of “Do Re Mi.”  It always takes a couple of shots for everyone to realize, yes, you go all the way under water for “do,” then pop back up right on cue for “re.”  Into the locker room and back out in record time, with hunger pangs attacking, we walked out to the bus in a raging snow storm, complete with some of the most amazing thunder and lightning ever seen.

The Old Town Pub was our dinner stop – burgers, chicken parm, or mac and cheese – and it was yummy.  There’s nothing like a hot springs pool and full tummy, followed by a shower and waiting bed at the La Quinta, to bring on the yawns.  Lights out could not come soon enough.

Strawberry Park Elementary in Steamboat is one of our favorite stops.  It is a beautiful school, with a friendly, welcoming staff and 500+ excited kids.  The show was perfect. Tour Choir was at their best; the audience was appropriately quiet and then excitedly singing along, at all the right times.  The pizza lunch was just what we needed, with plenty of time for the cool, new playground that called to us as we drove in.  One more school show down the road in Yampa, and we headed back south, homeward bound.  The weather got progressively worse as we headed down I-70 and, after playing outside in our hoodies in Steamboat Springs, we stepped off the bus into freezing sleet in Denver!

This has been a remarkable four days.  Over 500 mountain miles; eight mountain pass passes; rain, snow, sleet, fog, blue sky and sunshine; thunder and lightning; seven warm-ups and staging rehearsals; two workshops; five school shows; hundreds of math problems and pages read; and thousands of cookies, crackers and fruit snacks consumed.  Most importantly, 36 extraordinary young ladies and gentlemen who grew immeasurably, both on stage and off.  We didn’t leave one hotel or restaurant where someone didn’t comment on their incredible manners and behavior.  They were truly remarkable and we are proud of each and every one of them.

Our eighth grade graduates this year are Madeleine, Bridget, Mellany, and Morgan, with early voice changes for Iain, Caleb, and Jaxon.  We don’t have to say goodbye, however, as we hope they will continue in Transitions and perhaps join our Graduate Assistant crew.  And, of course, they will always remain an important part of the Chorale family.  We don’t really let go of anyone…ever!!

With much gratitude and pride,

Debbie DeSantis



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