Before leaving Spokane on Saturday, National Tour Choir had the chance to stop at Carr’s One of a Kind in the World Museum. It was filled with just about anything you could imagine, from old cars to mannequins to taxidermy, and all of it is part of Mr. Carr’s collections. The cool part is, Mr. Carr lets you sit in the cars and play with just about anything in his museum! Mr. Carr is a World War II veteran who simply enjoys sharing his collections with people. He spoke to the kids and answered their questions.
Saturday was another travel day, where we went from Spokane to Bremerton, Washington. National Tour Choir will be giving a workshop and performing a community concert in Port Ludlow on Sunday. The slideshow includes pictures from the museum and some of the beautiful scenery on our drive through Washington.
So today, back by popular demand, we have Tour Letter #2 from Mrs. DeSantis. It chronicles our second day in Sheridan and our long journey to Spokane, Washington (four states in one day!). If you missed Tour Letter #1, simply scroll down and check out the previous post!
ON THE ROAD WITH TOUR CHOIR #2 (April 23, 2010)
Dear families and friends,
3-2-1-CLICK! With nary a complaint, seat belts get fastened and we are on our way to Washington, via Montana. We are now settled quite nicely into our bus-away-from home. We woke to a chilly, cloudy drizzle, enjoyed a quick breakfast at the Trail’s End Motel, and headed to the YMCA to meet the kids. Thank you’s and good-bye’s were long and heartfelt, with hugs and gifts generously shared. I’m not sure who enjoyed themselves more, the kids or the families. I do know it was the start of what is sure to be a FABULOUS tour.
We started yesterday (Thursday) with the usual routine following a night with host families – homestay stories. Brendan and Thomas had two kids who “stared at us all night…like ghosts.” Andi and Zoe went swimming and played sharks in the hot tub. Molly and Makenzie had to sleep all night with the light and radio on because that’s how their host sister sleeps. John and Brian fed horses Bobby, Autumn and Pantyhose. Sophia and Hillary and their family choreographed a Justin Bieber song. Zac, Vaughn, Nick, and Nikolas had wild turkeys in their yard. Adrian got to sleep in a heated water bed. Michelle found out that people in Sheridan like to eat cinnamon rolls with their chili. Michael told us about the many statues we had seen on Main St. Makayla and Kathryn reported an attempt to help their 4th grade host sister with her math. Everyone had a wonderful evening, and they were looking forward to returning for one more night. As we chatted with the kids, our sponsor, Tami Davis, came in to share the many texts she was receiving from host families about what a delightful evening THEY had enjoyed.
No tour to Sheridan would be complete without a visit to King’s Western Museum. Don King was a master leather craftsman and collector of unique saddles and memorabilia of the Wild West. In addition to the museum, the saddlery is well-known throughout the world for their custom-made saddles, ropes and leather goods. It really is a not-to-be-missed stop in Sheridan. We spent a good amount of time in the museum, with a beautifully carved wooden horse from the early 1900’s, thousands of saddles, both for show and well-used, western art and silver pieces, and big game, including a two-headed cow, a unicorn and the elusive jackalope, found ONLY in Wyoming. The current leather craftsman gave us a demonstration and we watched one of the custom ropes being made. But the best part was roping the steer. Okay it was a stuffed something with little horns, but still… We were awesome. We all took a throw, and I really feel with one or two more practice throws, we could be joining the rodeo circuit. And Alec and Grady stopped that steer in his tracks on their first try!
Sheridan is a lovely little town, population 26,000, with what looks to be a thriving downtown area. They are quite dedicated to their public art, with sculptures on most every corner. After lunch at the WYO Theater, we ventured down Main St. to enjoy the art. John’s buddy from a previous tour, a small, stuffed owl named Steve, is traveling with us. Steve’s journey is being well-documented, and he has now been photographed with just about every sculpture in Sheridan. In a rhino’s ear, a little girl’s mouth, a boy’s book, being attacked by a fox, etc. He must be exhausted. I know I was, just watching each photo shoot in the making.
We had a 1:00 school show, with several hundred kids from area schools in attendance. Four of our workshop buddies from the day before were there, so they joined us on stage for “Monkeys in the House” and “Pasta.” It’s great to do a school show in the same theater as the evening show – rehearsal for Act II nearly done! We figured out Act I in time for a good, long nap before dinner. Close your eyes, close your mouth and hold still. Voila! Sleep happens.
By the time we woke up, the smell of spaghetti and fresh bread was overwhelming…and welcome. We emptied the giant salad bowls and bread baskets, but couldn’t even get to the bottom of the vat of spaghetti – and we really tried! A quick rehearsal with the Sheridan Chorale, and it was time to dress for the concert. With an almost-full house, and the excitement of our first performance, we took the stage. The kids were extraordinary. They sang their way through Act I with the audience alternately laughing and crying. The tour program is similar to Spring with the Children’s Chorale, celebrating children, including the nursery rhyme set, “Witness,” and closing with “Swingin’ with the Saints.” It’s one of my favorite programs in several years. Act II was a winner as well, with the usual “Getting to Know You” and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” and ending with over 130 kids on stage singing “Pasta.” Always a crowd favorite. The Sheridan Chorales opened both acts with a song of their own, a preview of their next week’s concert on the same stage. The applause was loud and long, but couldn’t match my feelings of pride for what this group of performers accomplished. And this is the only the first performance!!
Back to today, Friday. A looooooong travel day. So long that Arrow Bus Lines sent another driver to share the day with Andrew so that we could make it from Sheridan all the way to Spokane. After our drizzly start (see paragraph one), with thank you notes written and posted, the remainder of the day has been stunningly beautiful. Blue sky, snow-capped mountains, and sparkling rivers. We thought it was going to have to be a movie day. You know, it’s cold and rainy outside so let’s just curl up and watch movies all day. That was Mrs. Proffitt’s idea, and her students thought that would be just grand! But no, it cleared up and we went to school! Everyone received a good report on their first full day of studying. There has also been ample time for journaling, sketching and some map work.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Dairy Queen is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this week and offering buy one, get one for 25 cents. We noticed. And we just happened past a DQ in Butte precisely at snack time. With a little cajoling, we snagged the deal of the quarter-century! The two young DQ workers were pretty determined to follow the “only two at 25 cents per party” policy until I politely agreed to bring the kids to the window four at a time and pay separately for each “party” if need be. Once she figured out I wasn’t taking my bus and leaving, she gave in. After that, they were the picture of efficiency, though it still took us almost an hour to blizzard everyone. It was a nice break in the day, with the sun shining, a big, empty dirt lot to “hang” in, and a large Hastings (books, videos, music, and coffee) with a very friendly staff and, most importantly, BATHROOMS with a charming 6’9” young man in charge of the key. Hastings in Butte – another not-to-be-missed spot!
More study time, another movie, another snack, and we’re going to be at the Spokane Golden Corral in no time. Alum and super Grad Katherine DeGreef is waiting patiently for our arrival. She is a freshman at Gonzaga University and has had this date on her calendar since last fall. She’ll join us for dinner and then we will be off to bed at the local Howard Johnson’s. Hopefully far from the local RR tracks.
Signing off to watch Madagascar – which I’ve never seen, but must be funny based on the belly-laughs that are floating over my head from the back of the bus!
Weather beautiful, company perfect, wish you were here!