ON THE ROAD WITH TOUR CHOIR
Monday, June 7, 2010
Dear families and friends,
Seems like just yesterday we were on the road with 2009-10 Tour Choir in Wyoming…or Washington…or Idaho…or northern Colorado…or somewhere…and here we are again, already, with 2010-11 Tour Choir. So…how was your summer??!!!
We are hard at work in Vail, our 22nd year!! With extraordinary support from the Vail Valley Foundation for rehearsal and performance space at the Ford Amphitheater, and the Antler’s, with accommodations for 90+ Tour Choir members and staff, we are in heaven (almost literally!) here at our summer home in Vail. Everywhere we look, we are surrounded by beautiful landscapes, stunning mountains, Colorado blue skies, and best of all, 73 bright, smiling young faces. The community welcomes us with open arms, from the staff at both the Antler’s and the Ford Amphitheater, who actually seem to enjoy our happy chatter, dancing feet and beautiful singing, to the shuttle bus drivers, who patiently wait as we pile on, then cheerfully express us from Lionshead to the theater, passing up their normal stops and getting us as close as possible. Actually, there is rarely room for anyone else on the bus, so it works for all.
We settled into the Antler’s Sunday evening, between four and eight kids in a condo, with either an adult staff member or two grads. It’s really quite wonderful. On tour, in a hotel, the staff spends all of our time wandering the halls of the hotel, listening at doors, assuming (hoping?) the kids are sleeping, waking, studying, showering, etc. on schedule. Then we all troop down to breakfast, totally overtaking the breakfast room, and often the lobby, consuming food faster than the hotel staff can produce it. In our condos, we are a happy little family. I am in a 4-bedroom condo with seven boys, 2-3 in a bedroom, each with its own bathroom, and a bedroom left over for me. At bedtime I tuck them in and can easily check on them as I clean up the condo, set out breakfast, leave a message on the tour hotline(!) and get ready for bed myself. By 9:30ish, all is quiet on the Antler’s front. Sunday night we were a bit disturbed by other guests who didn’t feel the need for a 9pm bedtime, having just finished a weekend of TEVA Mountain Games and partying hard, but we survived that, as well as the 5am construction crews!
Breakfast is easily accomplished in individual condos — cereal, bagels and cream cheese, bananas, yogurt and OJ – and we head in shifts to the shuttle bus around 8:15am. After a pleasant 10-minute ride through the village, we’re warming up at the amphitheater by 9am.
Last week, we worked with choreographer Bob Wells to get our finale production number “You Can’t Stop the Beat” going. We are now all doing the “pony” like we’re old 60’s hippies! Susie and Brad Bolton are with us now and the girls are looking charming in “Ching-a-Ring,” while the boys are whooping up a good-old-country line dance for “Grandma’s Featherbed.” Next week (yikes!), all returning Tour Choir members will share the stage with the National Repertory Orchestra for their opening season concert in Breckenridge, so we’re working on a set of Aaron Copland’s Old American Folksongs for that, which will also come in handy for touring next spring. In case you haven’t heard, National Tour Choir will tour to South Africa next April, and we always like to take a program of American music with us when we tour internationally. Copland, John Denver, Stephen Flaherty (American Musical Theater), selections from Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, a rousing Spiritual, “Take Me to the Water,” and, much to the kids’ surprise and delight, Owl City’s “Fireflies.” Whew…we have our work cut out for us!
We walked back to Lionshead through Vail Village last night, then had dinner in our condos, inviting our neighbors (our CCC neighbors, that is, not our TEVA Mountain Game neighbors!) to join us, with 10-15 kids eating together in the largest condos. We had tortellini, marinara sauce, rolls, salad, and popsicles for dessert. I don’t know about the other condos, but the tortellini was a hit, with seconds, thirds, fourths and even FIFTHS for some of my boys and our guests, the girls from 301. Swimming for the boys; card games, hair styling, giggling and screeching for the girls; and lights out at 9pm. Aaaaahhh.
Okay, seriously, I must get back to rehearsal now. Though with the amazing staff on board here, literally everyone who works for the CCC — conductors, pianists, music assistants, production staff, a school partnership teacher (who happens to be Mrs. Branam), choreographers and grads – I could almost go out for tea! Mix in 73 of the most incredible kids in the world, and I am indeed a lucky woman!