Okay, not quite on the road yet, but getting ready! At the moment, we are simultaneously preparing for a tour to northern Colorado and Wyoming with Regional Tour Choir, followed two weeks later by a tour to South Africa with National Tour Choir. And in that two week interval? Why, performances of Spring with the Children’s Chorale and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Colorado Symphony. Why not?!!
Preparing for tour is a very detailed, labor-intensive process. The details fall to production manager Stacey Smith. With the Colorado/Wyoming tour, it’s all about what we take and how it fits and gets packed on the bus, where we sleep, what we eat, and what we do in between workshops and performances. We’re not talking about your family vacation here, but 36 hungry, full-of-energy, middle-schoolers and the occasionally-cranky-and-sometimes-finicky staff! Stacey is constantly on the phone, talking with hotels, restaurants and museums, as well as all of our sponsors, making sure that we hit no surprises as we travel. What? No lunch reservation for 44?? Yikes. She is also in communication with every school and theater, paving the way for all performances to go off without a hitch. Not to mention making sure we know how to get where we’re going and how long it will take. We wouldn’t want to (and don’t!) go anywhere without her.
The bus is our home away from home, so having a place for everything and keeping everything in its place is number one on our list. We travel quite comfortably on the bus, with one of our favorite drivers, Andrew, at the helm. There is a bathroom for emergencies, and space for all of our “stuff,” from text books, resource books, and office supplies to snacks, extra water bottles, first aid supplies, nap pillows and blankies.
For an international tour, the details are a bit different. Passports, everyone? Collected, copied, labeled and ready for DIA check-in. Rosters, medical forms, waivers for travelling with minors, ID necklaces – the lists go on and on. Packing for this tour takes an entirely different set of skills. Everything has to be in a suitcase or trunk and weigh less than 50 lbs. Music, first aid supplies, office supplies, drum, music stand, laptop, pom-poms and baseball hats…and we haven’t gotten to the extra clothes yet! Putting everything on a bus sounds pretty simple compared to this.
Back to the pre-tour “labor-intensiveness.” Wardrobe mistress Lynda Fisher is fitting, and then altering, formalwear and travel clothes for 70 growing children. And we mean growing…sometimes inches in weeks! Seventy pair of black pants, tux jackets and shirts; 70 skirts, vests and blouses; and 70 pair of black dress shoes and ballet flats. Parents are exchanging and purchasing new travel clothes – pants, polos, t-shirts, sweatshirts and white tennis shoes – at an alarming rate. Once everyone has clothes that will fit for the next six weeks (fingers crossed), suitcases and trunks will be filled with extras so that we accommodate any emergencies, like growing another inch, while on tour.
All over town, Tour Choir parents are faithfully checking and re-checking packing lists to make sure that everything is clean, pressed, labeled, and carefully packed, ensuring smooth travels for their young performer. Regional Tour Choir is hard at work preparing their show, while National Tour Choir is adding South African literature to their repertoire. Oh! Don’t forget Spring with the Children’s Chorale and Midsummer Night’s Dream – two detours in the road before we hit the highway and the airways!
The result of all this hard work? Priceless. With no detail left untended, no child left undressed, and no musical stone left unturned, we will wow audiences and sponsors from Fort Morgan, Colo. to Johannesburg, South Africa. Let the adventures begin!
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