ON THE ROAD WITH TOUR CHOIR #3
Saturday, February 7, 2015
Dear families and friends,
Success in Slovenia!!! I received the following email early this morning:
“Dear Mrs. DeSantis,
Your kids were simply amazing singing Slovene national anthem today. So is our Tina Maze in 1st place J. Thank you from Slovenia.
Kind regards, Rinalda Klemencic”
Yesterday, in between school shows, we had an hour or so to spare, so we did some of our official “Emerging Country” presentations. For any of you who haven’t been faithfully following us via my letters…why not?!…we have been creating new countries, complete with history of the founding, flag, fun facts and, of course, anthem. Each hotel room (there are ten) was responsible for a new country. I already introduced the PRSS (People’s Republic of the Stars and Stripes) and Burkelandia. Here are more details about those, plus all of the others:
Primary inhabitants: Kyle, Carter, Blake M.
Location: off the coast of Mexico
Language: Spanish (though their anthem was definitely in English!)
Climate: hot and humid
Anthem: “All Nations Beautiful and Wide”
Primary inhabitants: Sarah, Tallulah, Alexandra, Rachel H.
Location: on a cloud
Official animal: Unicorn
Fun fact: you can have a star named after you
Anthem: based on “Twinkle, Twinkle, little star”
Primary inhabitants: Tanner, Austin, Cooper
Capital city: Leonardo
Industries: Disney World, barrel making, cathedral making, tanning
Anthem: “Freedom Forever”
Peppermint Pillow Land –
Primary Inhabitants: Ava, Allyson, Karina
Official flower: Peppermint daisy
Official animal: Peppermint badger
Favorite things: peppermints, pillows, braids, children
Anthem: “Peppermint Pillow Land”
People’s Republic of the Stars and Stripes –
Primary inhabitants: Dwayne, Jack, Kris, Andrew
Location: Replaced Greenland
History: Waaaaay too involved for me to even begin to explain!
Flag: Very detailed, very symbolic
Anthem: “We Stand Together Through the Night”
Primary inhabitants: Maren, Hannah, Genevieve
Flag: Comprised of many dots, representing the number of syllables in the anthem
Capital city: Integra
Anthem: sung in “click” language…
Primary inhabitants: Iain, Michael, Blake E., Trevor
Location: off the coast of New Zealand
Anthem: “We are the Vailiens”
Primary inhabitants: Margot, Rachel R., Caitlin, Katy
Distinguishing feature: Hidden from space rovers
Primary inhabitants: Brett, Emma, Ajaya, Makenna
Location: a lost island, invisible from satellites
Capital city: Mollusk
Favorite foods: corned beef, strawberries
Official animal: leprechaun
Anthem: “In Mollusk Fair City, Where Girls are so Pretty”
Primary inhabitants: Noah, Conrad, Chris
Major imports: vegetables, seeds
Anthem: “Oh, Flagstrom”
I couldn’t begin to make this stuff up…I simply report.
Speaking of reporters, this morning, we were visited by a reporter and camera man from a Swiss TV station. They wanted to know more about us, and also film us rehearsing the Swiss national anthem. They met us at the hotel, and filmed a warm-up and some musical rehearsal of our usual repertoire. We then sang the Swiss anthem, which I’m not sure either of them really knew, and they helped us with the pronunciation of a few difficult words. Katy, Margot, Dwayne, Austin and Blake E. answered some questions about their favorite and/or most challenging anthems, and I talked about the process of learning in fifteen different languages. They have promised to send us a link to the final product, which we will, of course share with all of you. We said good-bye to our new Swiss friends with many wishes for a Swiss gold medal.
And…drum roll, please…the winner of today’s Men’s Downhill is Patrick Kueng from SWITZERLAND!!!! We are pretty sure this is due to all of our good luck wishes, and we are definitely ready for that Swiss anthem tonight!
We have been getting in some great study time, averaging three hours a day of concentrated work. Many are finished, others close, and others still plugging doggedly away at every possible opportunity. As I type, however, they are working diligently at perfecting their bowling skills. Techniques are varied, with enthusiasm making up for any lack of skill. Brett is leading her team, in spite of the walking cast on her broken foot. As of this writing, Hannah, Genevieve, Andrew, and Cooper have all thrown strikes. Dwayne and Ms. Smith have two, and Super Grad Aaron has three, which I’m told makes him a turkey. Oh, wait, I mean he HAS a turkey. Tallulah got her first spare EVER!!! And Hannah and Conrad both just PICKED UP A SPLIT!!! With her strike and split skills, Hannah had the top score, at 114, for the first games.
Sheesh! The news is coming in faster than I can type. Aaron just got his FOURTH strike, making him a turducky…or something… And, now going for strike #5…wait for it…insert REALLY LOUD GROAN here…he leaves one pin standing L.
In news from the hotel room front: Rachel does the best braids; Katy got up to go to the bathroom, half asleep, and got in the wrong bed when she came back – which means three girls slept in the same bed for the rest of the night; one room heard snatches of an argument coming from the room next door, partly in another language, that ended with, “I’ll go, but I’m NOT skiing,” leading Margot to ponder, “I wonder if we just heard a foreign break-up.” Conrad evidently yelled in his sleep, “No, not the cheese!” then fell out of bed. Tallulah and Trevor groan, click, sing and talk…all night; and Caitlin reportedly talks and sings to herself in the shower. Blake E., Cooper and Kris keep losing their black gloves. At any given moment, two have gloves and the other has none – but the one with none is different every single time. Ms. Smith thinks they’ve got some sort of complicated shell game going on. We have moved on from creating new empires to choreographing anthems. The competition for the gold is looking pretty fierce.
Sadly, Ms. Burke has to leave us today. She is returning to Denver to tend to the many other jobs she has, as well as seeing Concert Choir through their performances of Tosca with the Colorado Symphony next week. We will miss Ms. Burke’s thoroughness and quick wit, but are excited to welcome Mrs. Stylianou for the remainder of the tour!
Sunday, February 8
We nailed the Swiss national anthem last night!! I woke this morning to the following email:
“Hi! I wanted to thank you very much for the beautifully performed Swiss National Anthem last night at the ceremony in Vail…Every word and note was crisp and clear, and no accent. I was very moved. Keep up the great work. The ceremony was broadcast on the homepage of Swiss Television, and people are commenting just about the great performance of the Swiss National Anthem.
Martin from Switzerland”
BRAVO, REGIONAL TOUR CHOIR!!!!!!! I also returned a phone call to a Slovene TV station. We will be meeting them tomorrow! And I am oh-so-grateful, though just a bit embarrassed, that the rest of the world is fluent in English.
After the ceremony last night, we went to former Trustee Steve Strachan’s beautiful home for a celebratory dinner with Mr. Strachan’s neighbors and other Chorale friends. Andrew, bus driver extraordinaire, successfully navigated the twisty road a short way up the mountain between Vail Village and West Vail. It was beautiful. Millions of brilliant stars above, and the twinkling lights of the valley below. We had a delicious dinner of salad, parmesan chicken, penne pasta, and lots of veggies, cheese, crackers and, of course, yummy desserts. There were games to play and many Chorale friends to visit with, and these young ladies and gentleman were at their ambassadorial best. They answered questions, listened politely, and sang a song of thanks. They continue to amaze at every turn.
This morning was a slow, leisurely Sunday. The hotel is quite full this weekend, and the breakfast room was busy all morning. We woke the kids at 7:45, told them to take their time showering and getting ready, and finally wandered down to breakfast an hour later. Definitely a lazy morning for us! After breakfast, Mr. Branam showed us some of the brilliant videos he has been making this week, along with the wonderful photos Ms. Smith has been taking. They get posted on FaceBook and our blog, but the kids rarely see them. They loved it, and we love Ms. Smith and Mr. Branam!
Today is Ms.Snyder’s birthday. This is her first tour ever, and as I said earlier, she is an amazing staff member, both on and off the piano bench. We will be celebrating with cupcakes after dinner this evening, and the kids have been treating her to birthday messages and hugs all day.
Eagle is an interesting little town, with a small, old downtown area and Eagle Creek, a brand-shiny-new suburb. We headed to the ‘burb this morning and Brush Creek Park. The playground was perfect – the wooden-castle variety with every climbing, swinging, balancing obstacle imaginable. The weather continues to be stunning. We were outside in shirt sleeves. The locals were wearing shorts. We went from the playground to lunch, then back to the Avon Rec Center for more swimming. Hey…it’s Sunday Funday! Well, not quite. We are now back at the hotel for some homework time before dinner.
We are anxiously awaiting today’s race (Men’s Alpine Combined) results. The Alpine Combined involves two separate races, so we won’t see results until a bit later than usual. Aaron has done his research, and tells us the top contenders are USA, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, and Croatia. We are quite comfortable with the first three, and spent some time this morning brushing up Norway and Croatia. We are ready, though initial results indicate it might be Austria. Again.
Usually about this time in the tour, I include a health report. I am happy to report that there is nothing to report.
Life is good here on tour!
P.S. Austria it is!