ON THE ROAD WITH TOUR CHOIR
Dear families and friends,
We’re back on the road again, this time with our favorite Regional Tour Choir buddies! Ms. Smith, Tour Manager extraordinaire, Mrs. Proffitt, Tutor of the Year, and I, after 12 days on the road with National Tour Choir and then a wonderful week in our own beds, are excited to be hitting the road with the other half of Tour Choir. Joining us for this leg of touring are Ms. Burke, who we could NOT leave in charge after last week’s debacle, Mrs. Wright, pianist, on her FIRST TOUR EVER, alum Katherine, home from college and helping us out this week, grad Tamsen, on HER first tour ever (as a grad, anyway!) and our trusty bus driver, Andrew. Whew…that was a long sentence, and the first of many to come as I journal you through this tour with us. Actually, I guess I should say “blog” you through this tour with us. These letters have been coming to Chorale families and friends for many, many years, long before my time as Artistic Director. I am now attempting to move us into modern technology…okay, I admit it, I am being dragged down the road by my younger colleagues…by writing a blog. So, you may receive this letter by old-fashioned post, email, or on our blog, complete with photos, at www.choraleconnection.wordpress.com.
We were loading the bus by 7:00am this morning with all of the important things: formalwear, extra travel clothes, music, music stands, props, med bag, host family and workshop gifts, maps, journals, pillows and blankets for naps, water bottles, book bags, travel mugs for coffee and tea for the staff, and snacks…and snacks…and MORE snacks. Thanks moms, dads and grandmas!! If we happen to get stranded somewhere, we can live for days with the food we have on the bus.
After many hugs and kisses, we were on the bus and settling in. 3-2-1 CLICK go the seat belts, a dance that was perfected throughout the day, with the desired unison achieved when we clicked for the third time in Fort Lupton. We zipped through the bus rules, everything from where to put windbreakers (back of the seat in front of you) to what you do when Mrs. DeSantis is talking (LISTEN!). School books go into the overhead bins. Well, almost. Ky wins the prize for bringing the most books for four days of homework.
It was a quick trip to Fort Lupton, our first stop. Just enough time to put on belts and talk about our first workshop. We were met in Fort Lupton by a very excited principal. They have been waiting for this day since before spring break when they finished CSAP testing. We were their treat! We discovered that they had promised all of the third, fourth and fifth graders that they could sing and dance with us. And the “workformance” was born! Part workshop, part performance. First we taught the third and fourth graders “Monkeys in the House,” then “Do Re Mi” with the fifth graders. We sang some of our favorite stories in between, “Hey Diddle Diddle,” “Humpty Dumpty,” and “Jabberwocky,” along with a few others. I always love to hear the comments following a workshop. When Lizzie introduced herself to her buddy, “He GROWLED at me!” I watched with pride as these brave young ladies and gentlemen forged ahead, sharing their talents and having fun with their new friends. Matti methodically worked her buddies through “Do Re Mi.” Stephen patiently stuck with his buddies until they FINALLY decided it was okay to do “Monkeys in the House.” Lyric hung in with her two boys, and they eventually joined in the fun.
After lunch at Twombly Elementary, we drove to the other side of town, in about ten minutes, to Butler Elementary. Fort Lupton, population 6800, prides itself on its “small town” feel. When we arrived at Butler, we had some time in the music room to start our journals and look at our maps. The first journal entry is “Small Town or Big City.” We started with a list of descriptive words under each category, which will hopefully turn into a very creative journal entry.
One more workshop and one more school performance, with snacks in between, of course, and our work for the day was done! We clicked back on the bus and headed to Greeley and the Comfort Inn. We had about an hour until dinner, so we got comfortable in our rooms and the school bell rang. Homework for all! The staff wandered the hallways, checking in with each room to see if they needed any help. Before they could do their homework, Panteli, Evan, Kenny and Devin had to stand on their heads to explore the safe in their room. Boys also turn on every light, and their suitcases, which have been strategically placed right in the middle of the room, inexplicably explode, with white socks in every corner within minutes of our arrival. Girls pull out all of their toiletries and share smelly things.
We had dinner at the Golden Corral. We LOVE Golden Corral! You can eat whatever you want, as much as you want, and if nobody’s looking… you can eat all white food with maybe some Jello for color! Unfortunately, somebody’s always looking. Water or milk to drink; dessert, YES! Revann had a gummy bear sundae consisting of a bowl of gummy bears covered with chocolate sauce. Rachel and Andrea filled their ice cream bowls so full they ran all over the ice cream counter. But they want everyone to know they dutifully cleaned it up. Michael went back to the buffet so often that he didn’t have time for dessert.
Back at the hotel, the girls quickly changed into their swimsuits and hit the pool, while the boys hit the books one last time for the day. Tradition holds that we perform our staged numbers in the swimming pool and the girls dived in with gusto. “Do Re Mi” starts with all of them under water, with “re” popping up perfectly in rhythm and everyone else following right on cue. “Hey Diddle Diddle” looked like a perfect synchronized swimming routine. Esther Williams look out! They sang a beautiful hot tub rendition of “On top of the World,” drawing in other guests from the lobby to listen. As noted in one of last week’s National Tour Choir letters, girls bob and chat pleasantly in the pool. When the boys arrived 45 minutes later, everything changed. Boys scream, splash and try to drown one another. They knocked off an energetic “Humpty Dumpty,” adding water slaps for dramatic effect. “I Bought Me a Cat” was perfect, with the ducks actually able to swim. David’s cow was able to fall asleep under water. Every time Tyler had to go stage right, which happened to be the deep end at 4’, Miles came to his rescue, holding him up so his head could stay above water. And Patrick and Aaron win the prize for the longest hand stands, in spite of 15 other boys trying to knock them over.
It is now 10:30pm, and way past my bedtime, on tour or at home! The kids were tucked in at 9:00 and all is quiet on the Comfort Inn front. We’ll be up early tomorrow for another adventure-filled day.
Good night, sleep tight, thanks for all of your love and support, and we-miss-you- but- are-having-a-grand-time!!
Debbie DeSantis and company