Monday, March 18, 2013

2013 Greater Colorado Tour – Day 5

Good morning readers and happy tour day 5. Nothing out of the ordinary to report this morning; this had better not be another one of those shoe dropping instances… We’re all up and getting ready to check out. We’ve have about an hour and a half to eat before we need to head over to the school for our performance today. Luggage loaded, bodies pile into cars yet again and we head to the main street area where most of Crested Butte’s restaurants are located. We can be a finicky lot, so we settle on one that serves breakfast and lunch. While we wait for our food, Joshua regales us with stories from his childhood and his love of French delicacies. He learned early on to combine the two. Gifted with a BB gun, little Joshua secured the main ingredient necessary to make frog’s legs. He tried many times; many, many times. With his attempts proving inedible, Joshua set aside his trusty sidearm and left the cooking to the professionals.

With our journey into Joshua’s past complete, I take the next bit of time to set the repertoire for our upcoming radio gig. Yes, you read that right, we’re going to be on the radio on Monday with Chris Mohr. We’ll be appearing live at 7:00PM on KGNU Radio, 88.5 FM, 1390 AM, or online at It’s going to be a great program – tune in! I finish setting the repertoire just as our food arrives. We’ve got everything from eggs and bacon to sandwiches. Cassidy has decided to go light and have a salad. I think it will fill her up, especially since she’s eating everyone’s French fries. Steven takes time to teach us all the finer points of hot sauce; the man’s a connoisseur. Calories ingested, it’s time for us to leave and head over to the Crested Butte Community School and set up for our performance of The Barber of Seville. We’re greeted in the parking lot by our contact and directed to the cafetorium. This is a recent trend in school architecture; part cafeteria, part auditorium. Hey, we’ll take whatever performance space we can get. We move into set-up mode as Steven gets the piano moved into place. While we’re working, we get an unexpected treat. A high school student at the school sits down at the piano and plays for us. He’s quite talented; playing everything from a Journey ballad to the theme from Pirates of the Caribbean. Thanks for the impromptu concert!

It’s show time. The students enter and take their places – it’s a full house. Our contact starts things off, thanking the various sponsors and funding sources for helping to bring Opera Colorado to their school. I go out to welcome the students and offer our thanks too; we’re delighted to be here. I teach the students about the word, “bravo” and the performance begins. Right away I know they’re loving the show. They’re laughing at all the right places and they respond to Joshua’s aria with lots of cheering and applause. There are few things I love more than hearing little voices shot “bravo!” During the performance, a little girl sitting beside Steven turns to her teacher and says, “This is the best play I have ever seen.” Too cute – teaching students the difference between a play and an opera is all part of what we do.

The performance ends with a Q&A as usual. My favorite today? It was a question for Cassidy. A little girl asked if she was a princess. I think Cassidy actually melted a little bit when she heard that one. Jared and I take some pictures with Mr. Quacksworth and the students; that duck is such a camera hog, but, the students absolutely love him. Photos taken, we begin the never-ending task of breaking the set down and loading out. We’re a man down today; Alex has done something to his back so he’s been instructed to take it easy. Cassidy and Alex do a final check and we’re done. Successful tour performance #5 – check. We load into the vehicles and begin the trek back to Denver. Thanks Crested Butte. We’ve had a great time performing for the students!

Cassidy is driving the Yukon and I’m at the wheel in the rental.  Our car is quiet, everyone is tired. I need something to keep me alert while I’m driving, so I attempt to spark a conversation. I ask about the famous quote, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” Can of worms – opened. Little did I know that I had two debate champions in the car with me. Joshua and Alex. Joshua fervently explains how sound is not sound, but percussive waves, noise is not noise but the ear’s response to said waves; yada, yada, yada. Now, I’ve been known to be just a little stubborn and I can’t resist egging Joshua on. Alex, unable to remain neutral any longer chimes in. His response is one word – physics. The debate continues. Steven acts as moderator. We measure the success of our comments based on how hard they make Morgan laugh. It’s a draw. Joshua goes back to reading his book, in French, though I suspect that he’s formulating his next verbal challenge.

We stop for fuel, both for the vehicles and for us. It’s a long drive back today and none of us really wants to stop for dinner, so we load up on snacks. If you’ve never been around opera singers on a sugar high, it’s something you should put on your bucket list. Just remember to take a Tylenol first… We hit the road again and have yet another rousing discussion in our car. We’ve moved from the recognition of falling trees to solving the age old question of “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Thankfully, for sanity’s sake, we’re all on the same page this time. Joshua and Alex then move on to the topic of renewable energy. How did they get there? We’re driving through lots of cattle ranches. Cattle eat lots of food which, after all of its nutrients have been tapped, is discarded by the body. Oh, guys. Please – eat more sugar or something!

Gradually, the car goes quiet. I hear the occasional French whisper from behind me as Joshua continues to read his book. Alex’s back has finally relaxed and he’s napping. Morgan, well, she’s asleep looking quite comfy nestled in her jacket. Steven and I see a deer just hanging out off the side of the road. He looks up as we pass, seeming to say, thanks for singing, come back soon. It was either that or he was pondering the optimum time to cross the road. I’m not sure; I don’t have Joshua’s interpretive powers. We get into Monarch pass and the view is, quite simply, breathtaking. It’s one I will never get tired of seeing. Snow covered mountains against the bright blue sky. How lucky are we that we get to perform in a place like this? We’re getting close to South Park now and Steven bets me that Cassidy is going to want to stop soon. Sure enough, literally 3-seconds later, Jared calls my cell phone and relays Cassidy’s request.

We make our final pit stop for the journey and change drivers. Cassidy is now a passenger and Joshua is driving the Yukon with Jared as his navigator. Even though they are separated by a car, they keep in touch by texting. It’s during their digital conversation that Cassidy learns a valuable lesson. She cannot text, eat and laugh at the same time. Well, really… who can? After Cassidy stops choking, we continue on. A lot of snow has melted in this area over the past few days and thankfully, though it is windy, no snow is blowing over the road like it was earlier in the week. Conversation in the car turns to memories of growing up and our families. We talk about graduation songs and being in children’s choirs. Cassidy shares that she sang “Proud to be an American” at the rodeo once; Morgan sang it during her pageant days. We get a glimpse of Alex’s tender side as he makes purring sounds and pets Cassidy. I think the pain killers are working… Cassidy shares her first job experience working at a well-known children’s party place. She had to dress up as the mouse once and the experience was so horrific that she had an asthma attack, even though she doesn’t have asthma.

Steven takes a turn at a higher than advised speed and Cassidy says “whee…!” She then explains that anytime you’re driving and do something behind the wheel that feels slightly dangerous, you say “whee” and it makes things OK. Morgan says it works too, she’s been doing it ever since Cassidy told her about it. Wanting to change the subject, I talk a bit about my recent trip to Ireland and Cassidy shares information about her parent’s vacation in Australia. She says they went to “ur-luu-luu-ooo…” Ah yes, we know it well. Where are they??? Cassidy repeats, “ur-luu-luu-ooo…,” sounding like the kids singing at the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas. She says, “You know, that big rock in the middle of nowhere?” I ask if she means Ayres Rock. Yes! That’s it, but apparently there’s another name for it. Alex, clearly picking his moment, says “whee…” from the back. Yep, definitely the pain killers.

With that, we’re back in Denver. We head to the house and everyone debarks. There’s lots of groaning and stretching, but Alex says his back feels better so that’s good. Everyone is glad to be back and we’re thankful that we had amazing weather. Luggage is unpacked and we bid each other goodnight. We’ve reached the halfway mark of tour; five days down and five more to go. I will be taking a break from blogging until next Tuesday, when tour kicks up again. Next, we’re headed to Fairplay, Buena Vista, Loveland and finally Greeley.

Thanks for coming with us this week and thanks for your support. We’re hoping our mission to share opera with Colorado’s communities will translate into some new opera lovers. Don’t forget your job readers… “Like,” “Comment,” Tweet,” and “Share.” As our campaign slogan says, we need you to be a voice for Opera Colorado. I hope you will.

Well, that’s all for now readers.

Until Tuesday – goodnight.


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