ON THE ROAD WITH TOUR CHOIR
Thursday, May 02, 2013
Dear families and friends,
This tour has flown by, just as we have flown around western Colorado. We certainly live in a beautiful place! We left Denver last Monday in spring-like weather…finally. As we traveled west, we made a few stops, starting with visiting our good friends at Red Sandstone Elementary School in Vail. We often stop in Vail on our way to the western slope hoping to get the Vail Valley kids excited about our upcoming June workshop. This year, we have almost 80 kids registered already! They are rarin’ to go, and will join us the second week in June at the Gerald Ford Amphitheater, including a feature spot in the Friday, June 14 residency concert with 2013-14 Tour Choir. We can’t wait and you don’t want to miss it!!
We have had a delightful week with this Regional Tour Choir. They jumped off the bus in Vail and kicked off the tour in style with an exciting, polished performance. Back on the bus, we headed toward Glenwood Springs and began the aforementioned bear-naming process in earnest. I am circling back to this because I want to share some of the submissions. From Brennan: I think the bear should be called Meeker because that’s one of the towns that we are going to on this tour, and Meeker sounds like a cute name to call a teddy bear. From Sarah, Mary, and Rhys: The steam in Steamboat reminds us of water and water is H2OHx2=P (count the alphabet) so we named him Patrick. From Emily R.: Alfonzo, because Alfonzo is a cool name and Teddy is cool. From Harrison: Regie, because it stands for Regional Tour Choir. From Zach M.: Evergreen, because it reminds us of the mountains and our journey through them, and evergreens are everywhere .
We stopped midway through Glenwood Canyon at Hanging Lake to use the bathrooms and enjoy a walk-about. It was beautiful. Sunny, warm, trees blooming (not just budding, but blooming), spring definitely taking over. We took a few photos, played follow-the-leader, and just enjoyed the sun – a nice change from the last few weeks! We studied our way on into Rifle where we ate a delicious dinner at Mulligans, on the golf course just outside of town. On to Meeker and the Blue Spruce Inn for our first sleep of the tour.
We spent Tuesday morning at Meeker Elementary School with a workshop for 80 2nd-5th graders, and then a performance for the entire school. Workshops are always fun, one of the favorite things we do. With Mr. Branam in charge, they learned “Do Re Mi” and “Monkeys in the House” in no time. Shane, Charley, Abe, Josef and their buddies dominated row 1, sprawling all over the floor for the final freeze. Kira, Anna, and Lillian quietly but confidently lad their charges through all of the moves. Hannah, Alli, Shaelee, and Emily H. kept the excitement going in row 4. Cameron H. and Emma are experts at making new friends feel comfortable. Even the shyest among us rises to the occasion, ensuring success for their workshop buddy.
Tuesday night, after our bowling, we had another delicious dinner right in town at the Old Town Pub. As usual, we received many compliments on our behavior, from the Pub employees to other guests. We are always so proud of our young ladies and gentlemen, and you would be as well! A new hotel with new roommates Tuesday night, and a bit of time for TV watching. So many Disney Channel shows I’ve never heard of, and hope to never see again. Harrison, Andy, Cameron H., and Cameron G. can’t get enough of Cartoon Network.
Wednesday morning we were back on the road to Yampa. There has been much discussion about the size of the towns we have been passing through. Yampa, with an approximate population of 450, is the smallest place we have performed. On the way to Yampa, we passed through Oak Creek, population 200. It was noted that some of us go to schools with more kids than the populations of these towns! In Yampa, there were about 175 kids in the audience, which we thought was a lot of kids for a 450 population town. The principal explained that these kids come from four surrounding towns, including Oak Creek. We learned the true meaning of the term “mud season,” which we noticed on signs all over Steamboat Springs, as there is only one paved road in town and with Tuesday night’s snow melting fast, the unpaved roads were a muddy mess.
I forgot to mention Tuesday night’s snow. Everything was stunningly beautiful Wednesday morning. It started out still a bit snowy and foggy, but the roads were clear and dry so we had no problems. By the time we left Yampa, the sun was out, the sky blue, and everything was glistening. Well, everything except the mud! We headed back to Steamboat Springs in time for lunch at Strawberry Park Elementary and then a rockin’ performance. Nearly 500 in the audience and they could not have been more excited. They sang with abandon and twisted with enthusiasm. It was very fun. It is great to watch TC go out into the audience and get people to stand up and twist with them. Just like workshops, it is easier for some than others. Lukas and William win the prize here. They could get an entire town on their feet twisting!!
As always, we consider it our honor and obligation to contribute to the local economy. Wednesday afternoon we had time to wander through downtown Steamboat Springs. It was a challenge to find shops open during mud season, but there were a few and we made it worth their while…sort of…we have only $20 each. It’s pretty amazing how many little magnets, key rings, bracelets, hats, etc., can be had for $20.
Another delicious dinner (Big House Burgers) and, finally, the Old Town Hot Springs Pool. Yaaaaaay! A fun time was had by all. Back at the hotel after our relaxing dip we showered and got to bed, a bit later than our usual 8:30 lights out, but easily by 9:00. Most of us anyway. I should have known something was afoot when the ever-sneaky Ms. Smith sent Mrs. Proffitt and me on little errands all over the hotel, ending in JayKi’s room where we had to “wait for them because they needed to talk to us.” We returned to a room full of crepe paper (quite artistically draped, I must say), and saran wrap. On everything. My suitcase was wrapped shut. Mrs. Proffitt’s toiletries were wrapped. The pillows. The telephone. The toilet. The sink. I think they tried to wrap the beds. And…MY TEA MUG. Wrapped so tightly I still can’t get it off. It didn’t take much thought to figure out the culprits: the graduating class of 2013 – Sami, Sarah, Shaelee, Taylor, Heavyn, and Jessie. And speaking of Jessie, it turns out she is responsible for Harry! All part of the plan to leave their mark. They did it quite well, I think. Even while cleaning up our room, we had to admit that it was all very clever, with a surprise everywhere we turned. Including this morning when the alarm went off at 5am, and the shower sprayed all over the bathroom when I turned it on!
We checked out of the hotel, with smiles and many compliments from the General Manager and his wife, an older Chinese couple who keep an immaculately clean and very orderly establishment. We were reminded of tours to China where we enjoyed the many signs translated into English, but not quite accurately. As I was leaving, the GM handed me an envelope that contained a letter. I found it so heartfelt and charming that I want to share it with you, exactly as he wrote it:
Applause of a successful education to the children in your Colorado Children’s Chorale.
I am a 65 year old General Manager at La Quinta Inn, in my experience life in America, this is my first time to see so many children gathered at a place that have been good educated, quiet, polite and moral. This is a very good sample for moral culture and good education for all our young children in our country. The Cameroons and the teachers for these children is the best lens to reflect to all other children parents. I hope the Colorado Children’s Chorale would be a forward step education for other children and the parents for all children in our middle and high schools in our country.
We are thinking that “Cameroons” is meant to be “chaperones.” If you are ever in Steamboat Springs looking for a place to stay, check out the La Quinta Inn, Hwy. 40 just below the ski area. And tell them you are proud to know those “good educated, quiet, polite and moral” children in the Colorado Children’s Chorale.
Two performances today, the first one in HAYDEN, at HAYDEN Valley Elementary School. The show was fantastic, but most importantly, we were in HAYDEN!!! And we celebrated our own Hayden! Our final show was back in Steamboat Springs at Soda Creek Elementary. We closed out the tour in style, with the best performance of the week.
The bus ride home is always bittersweet. Eager to get home, but sad to see the tour end. We worked to finish all of the homework, and most were successful. We also worked hard to eat all of the snacks. We were 100% successful at that! Journal entries in progress; journals signed by all members of this delightful 2012-13 Regional Tour Choir; the tour is complete.
We are rolling into Denver to waiting parents. It is back to school and reality tomorrow. Even in these short four days, we have grown (some literally!) and matured in so many ways. This tour staff could not be more proud of these young performers.