Good morning readers and welcome to tour day 6! Here’s a question for you. Have you ever had déjà vu? You know the feeling that you’re experiencing something that you’ve experienced before? That was how today began, and not in a good way. It’s the Yukon – again. I was in the office when Joshua called to tell me that it wouldn’t start, again. You have to be kidding! It’s been less than a week since we had it fixed! The plans I had laid out for my schedule today quickly get thrown out the window and I head over to the house to figure out a plan. The Young Artists are supposed to be in Fairplay at 1:00 to set up for the Barber of Seville performance at South Park Middle School. We have several trains of thought, but only one of them seems to work. We’ll load up alternate vehicles (and by that I mean our own cars) and head off with as much as we can carry. It might sound like a fairly simple task. Trust me, it’s not. Not only do we have the set, props and costumes for an entire show, we also have the frame the set fits on, road bags, sand bags, costume rack, prop table, music, luggage, food and people. Multiply the more personal items x seven and you’ve got a truckload of stuff. Luckily we’re able to get everything loaded; most of the set is in Alex’s car.
While the loading is happening, Joshua and I are on the phone, trying to figure out where to take the Yukon here in Denver. This is exactly what it was doing last week so I want that warranty honored! We find a place that’s just a few miles away. Joshua manages to get it started, so we hope for green lights and try to get it there. We make it but the thing sounds like it’s going to die any minute. Even though we called ahead, they tell us they can’t even look at it until later today. Waiting isn’t an option, so once more, we drop it off, make doubly sure they know what’s going on and leave our contact numbers. Now an hour behind schedule, we have to get on the road. As the caravan makes its way west, I call the school to let them know we’re going to be late. They can’t move the start time any later because of the dismissal time. We’ll have to do the fastest set up on record. Luckily the roads are OK; they got some snow over the past couple of days though. On the drive, I get a glimpse of what life in the Humboldt house is like as Joshua, Cassidy and Morgan act out scenes of domesticity. This basically involves Cassidy and Morgan telling Joshua the rules by which he has to abide, while he, the lone male, asserts his authority. The matter at hand? Joshua is not allowed to eat stinky food in the car. Boiled eggs are the main offender. The windows are rolled down to diminish the eau de egg. Now Joshua is cold. Cassidy tells him to eat the egg quickly and he’ll warm up. Morgan agrees.
I take this opportunity to share with Joshua a lesson that I hope will serve him well for the rest of him life. Women do not have to make sense. Now, I say that as I woman myself. How does it go? I know what I know when I know it – that may not make sense to the opposite sex, but that’s the way it is. (Secretly, the lesson was my way of putting an end to the episode of reality TV playing out in the backseat.) Joshua quietly contemplates this as Cassidy eases the tension by playing JT’s newest release. Now, I like all kinds of music; I consider myself quite eclectic. But, working in a field where you listen to the human voice all the time does something to you. I think it alters you at a genetic level. I have become a music snob. I take one for the team though and listen to the CD. A few tracks were pretty good…. Cassidy then selects another CD, this one is homemade. Oh, boy. It turns out to be a documentary of Maria Callas. It’s really interesting. When she was at the top of her career – Wow. There’s a recording of her singing I Puritani that literally give us goose-bumps – now that’s my kind of music! We’ve come into a valley now; the view is gorgeous. As we’re remarking about said view, Cassidy makes an astounding discovery. Did you know that the mountains, well specifically the mountain tops, are not as high and look closer when you are nearer to them? Well, shockingly, it’s true. Our Cassidy… mistress of observation.
After laughing, we go back to the documentary. It makes the miles pass quickly and soon we’re in Fairplay, or is it South Park, or is it both? I go to check us in at the school and get instructions on where we can unload the set, etc. After a quick glance at the clock, the entire group kicks it into high gear. Readers, we made it, but not by much and it’s only because everyone was helping. Costumes are on with just a minute or two to spare. The students begin to take their seats as Steven finishes warming up on the piano. Today’s performance is being sponsored, in part, by the Breckenridge Music Festival: Music in the Schools program. (If you folks are reading this, thank you again for making it possible for us to perform for the students here!) I go out to welcome everyone and talk to the students a bit about what they’re going to see. With a round of applause, we begin the performance. We’re at about 10,000 feet here; the highest elevation yet. The Young Artists are feeling it, but at this point, with the way the day started, we’re just happy to be here and have the chance to perform an opera for these kids.
Things are going well, until it happens. Cassidy has just begun her aria and we hear a huge, booming noise come from the area of the piano. We all freeze, not sure what we just heard. Was that the piano lid slamming down? Did someone just break a window? Cassidy isn’t singing that high… No, a string just snapped in the piano. What next?! (As a co-worker of mine recently told me that can be a dangerous question to ask) Kudos to Steven, he doesn’t miss a beat; just keeps on playing. Being the pro that she is, Cassidy never lets on either. You can hear the string rattling around, the vibration is so strong you can almost feel it, but we can’t stop the show – it must go on! The faster, fighting scene really takes a toll today. Everyone is out of breath, but no one is complaining. The students are laughing and that’s what we want to hear; what we love to hear. Finale complete, bows are taken and then water is quickly ingested. I go out to begin the Q&A.
We get questions about the set, how we learned the opera, singing in another language and why that paper is under the settee (it was a prop mishap). The best one though was when one of the students asked about the noise during the show – they heard it too. How could they not? Steven reaches into the piano and pulls out the broken string – we’re sorry! No problem – the student who asked tells us that he broke the other one (apparently there were two). Everyone laughs and I say a final thank you and end the Q&A. Steven and I talk to the teachers and some parents who are there while Jared grabs a few pics with Mr. Quacksworth and the students. The duck has been strangely quiet today; I wonder what he’s up to… After that, it’s time to break things down and see if by some miracle, we can get it all into the cars again.
Here’s another question for you readers. Have you ever had one of those days where everything just seems to go wrong? It’s like karma didn’t like what you made it for dinner last night and today is payback. For me, that day is today. It’s a comedy of errors. As I’m helping load out, I smack myself in the face with the ladder and then manage to fall down the stairs (I’m OK – the blogs will continue). It was a graceful fall, at least by my estimation. Load out continues and with quite a bit of effort, we do manage to get it all back into the vehicles. In the process, the ladies and I did learn a valuable lesson ourselves. Like women do not have to make sense – Men view packing a car as a test of virility. There they were, all 4 of them, working on packing one vehicle. Yes fellas, your skills are impressive, now let’s get moving.
The car I’m in has been mostly reserved for bodies and we’re trading Joshua for Jared. I can’t handle being a family counselor anymore… Jared is enjoying the Maria Callas CD too, in fact at one point he sang along and called himself Maria. I think Morgan’s still got him on the high notes, but it’s a toss-up for dramatic flair. We head down the road to our next stop, Buena Vista. Well, Nathrop actually. We’re being housed and treated to dinner and breakfast by the Central Colorado Performing Arts Council AND they’re sponsoring our performance tomorrow at Avery Parsons Elementary School in Buena Vista. It’s incredible how passionate people are about exposing kids to the arts – first the Breckenridge Music in the Schools program and now CCPAC. Opera Colorado shares that passion and we are so glad that we’re able to partner with you!
We arrive at our housing location and holy moly – there are natural hot springs here. I get us checked in as the Young Artists try not to literally jump in excitement. We dash over and drop our luggage in our rooms (cabins actually). The ladies have been housed in one cabin and the gents in the other. As Cassidy and Morgan and I are looking around, we see that there are deer just outside (which is good because we’d probably freak if they were inside). We take a minute to appreciate nature, and a little quiet, before we call over to the guys. It’s time to load up again, this time bodies only, and head to dinner. On the drive, we see a whole heard of deer off the side of the road. It’s my turn to play “Hey cow” (only it’s “Hey deer” in this instance) so I seize the opportunity. Most of them turned to look. My seatbelt has locked in place and I can’t move anymore, but I am now in the lead so, all in all, it was a successful venture. Through all the hubbub, Joshua remains uninvolved, choosing instead to sing though the score of La Bohème. He does quite a nice Mimi. Alex and Jared then treat us to a rousing song featuring the herb Cilantro. Morgan has heard it on the subway in New York before so it’s already sweeping the nation.
It’s been a long day with more than its share of drama; emotions are running pretty close to the surface. Joshua and Jared are the first to crack; they break into a fight in the back seat and poor Morgan is caught in the middle. It’s a tickle fight. I’m not sure who won, but I snapped a picture just to prove that it happened. At the restaurant, we’re greeted at the door by two members of our sponsoring group. The place is packed! We enjoy a wonderful meal and great conversation. The Young Artists talk about themselves and what the past 5 months have been like and I talk about Opera Colorado and where we’re heading. People here have read about the reorganization and I get quite a few questions which is good, that’s part of the reason I’m here. This is a good time for me to bring our “Stories that Sing” campaign into the blog. If you haven’t heard about it, you can learn more here. We’re working hard to move Opera Colorado forward in a stable, sustainable way. This tour is a great example of how the arts can reach out to people. We want to continue doing that for years to come, but we need your help. Take a minute; read about what we’re doing. We hope you’ll join the campaign and show your support. We’re so grateful to all of you who have already made a donation and/or bought tickets and we say an advance thank you to those of you who will in the days ahead.
At the end of dinner, we get yet another surprise (this time a good one). One of our sponsors from CCPAC has prepared two baskets of fresh fruit for us to take back to the cabins. We’re really getting the red carpet treatment, not something we take for granted I assure you! Jared is so excited; he reverts back to a two-year old, refusing to share. No, no, no Jared. Steven carries the basket. We say thank you, many times and head back to our lodging. It’s dark now, so playing “Hey cow” would be an exercise in futility, so the Young Artists amuse themselves with show tunes, sitcom character impersonations and family stories (the family of the Humboldt house has returned to a state of bliss). The lure of the hot springs is too much to resist and I catch blurs as the Young Artists and Steven race to don swimsuits and grab towels as soon as we arrive. I tuck myself away in the cabin and get some work done.
A bit later the ladies are back and looking like they enjoyed their soak. I finally begin working on today’s blog as Cassidy watches, trying to get a sneak peek. Not so fast. Like the readers, she’s going to have to wait until it’s posted. Morgan and Cassidy curl up on the couch to read by the fire. Our phone rings and its Alex calling to check on the plans for breakfast. He has a spa appointment in the morning and he’s trying to decide between food and massage. Not an easy choice for our Alex. Morgan tells me that she’s sure the guys are going to try to scare us tonight. Joshua told them a story at the hot springs… now they’re on edge. She goes upstairs and I hear a bang. I jump and whack my elbow on the table. (Why do they call it the funny bone? It really isn’t amusing, but at least its par for the course today.) Thinking it’s the guys, we all tense up. No, it was Morgan closing her glasses case. I feel like I’m at camp again…
It’s getting late and we have an early morning tomorrow. I think we’re all hoping that it’s drama free (although it does make for good blog material). At breakfast, I’ll have the chance to talk to some of our sponsors again, so that’s already good news. After that, it’s another Barber of Seville before heading back to Denver. So readers, that’s all for tonight.