2019 Greater Colorado Tour – Day 1

The 2018-19 Opera Colorado Artists in Residence. Photo: Opera Colorado/Jamie Kraus

Day 1: March 5, 2019
Denver to Lamar

Hello readers—I’m back! The season has certainly flown and it’s time for Opera Colorado’s Greater Colorado Tour to begin for 2019. For those of you that are new—hang tight for just a minute. For those of you that are joining us again, welcome back. We’re doing things a bit differently this year and we’ll be tackling tour in smaller bites. Instead of going out for 7-14 days at a time, we’re going to be doing trips of 2-4 days and then be back in Denver for a bit before heading out again. This will make it possible for us to bring opera to outlying communities and continue providing programs closer to our home base. We’re excited about what this new approach will allow us to do.

Now—back to our newcomers. This is our tour blog. I am Cherity Koepke, the Director of the Opera Colorado Artist in Residence Program. I’ll be your cruise director and blogger as you follow the adventures of our intrepid group: myself and the Opera Colorado Artists in Residence. Allow me to introduce you to the rest of our crew:

Rebekah Howell, soprano
Kira Dills-Desurra, mezzo soprano
Aaren Rivard, tenor
Nick Kreider, baritone
Edward Laurenson, baritone
Eric McConnell, bass baritone
Tyler Tucker, coach accompanist

The 2018-19 Opera Colorado Artists in Residence. Photo: Opera Colorado/Jamie Kraus

We’re a party of eight for this trip. A party of eight… with three vehicles. We have to take so much gear with us, between our personal baggage (the rolling kind, not emotional) and the sets, props, and costumes, we need every inch of the space we have.

This jaunt will take us to Lamar, Beulah Valley, and Pueblo; all our performance sites are first time locations for Opera Colorado for this trip. We’ll be performing our touring productions of Hansel and Gretel and Romeo & Juliet for students, most of whom have never seen an opera before. We can’t wait!

The cast of Opera Colorado’s touring production of “Hansel and Gretel.” Photo: Opera Colorado/Kelly Maxwell

I’ll keep today’s blog short since things really start hopping tomorrow. Most of our time today was spent on the road. We did make one stop along the way for gas and so everyone could buy snacks. Really… is a road trip a real road trip without snacks? Several members of the group were very excited and happily surprised that even a tiny town in eastern Colorado had their munchies of choice.

I’ve got Rebekah, Kira, and Edward in my vehicle. Tyler is driving the next car and Nick is piloting the Denali, otherwise known as The Yeti (it’s white in color and a beast to drive). Aaren and Eric are passengers in the other vehicles. I know that the Denali was the site of a musical theater soundtrack binge and I know that we covered every topic imaginable in my car—from movies to odd names for companies transporting things by semi-truck, to Kira’s need to hold her Pooh. (It’s a Winnie the Pooh, people, and he’s precious—moving on). I have no idea what Tyler’s car did. They weren’t very forthcoming on the subject.

Soprano Rebekah Howell (Gretel) and mezzo-soprano Kira Dills-DeSurra (Hansel). Photo: Opera Colorado/Kelly Maxwell

We arrive in Lamar right on schedule and head to our hotel. Well—we thought it was our hotel. Apparently, it was not. We weren’t there long, but it was long enough. Long enough for Kira to break her water bottle after dropping it on the tile floor (we all watched it shatter, choosing to be emotionally supportive instead of taking any real action), for Rebekah to eat a cookie offered to their guests, and for me to utterly confuse the man working at the desk. It was an honest mistake, it probably won’t leave a stain, and it was a good cookie.

We offer apologies, make a hasty exit and head to our actual hotel. We get checked in, Aaren and Nick pick a place for dinner, and we sit down to our first meal as a group on tour. Kira is excited about everything that’s happened, everything that is currently happening, and everything that is going to happen. Nick is concerned that Eric is making advances toward him (Eric is just gregarious). Tyler is happy with his appetizer choice. Aaren and Rebekah happily share sesame balls and Edward is a fabulous singer. (He wanted to me tell you all that.)

At the end of dinner, we get fortune cookies and spend the next several minutes convincing Eric that his is not a harbinger of doom.  As we pay our checks, I try to console Nick who tells me not to look at his face. He’s convinced that his stubble, a remnant of After Life, looks terrible. It doesn’t—it’s just not him. We head back to the hotel; I fill everyone in on our schedule for the following morning and then Tyler heads back out for his drink run. The man needs his Diet Dr. Pepper and withdrawal is not something you want to risk early in the morning, so he’s doing some advance prep. Everyone heads to their rooms to get some rest before our very busy day tomorrow—a double bill performance of Hansel and Gretel and then a two-hour drive to Pueblo.

So readers—welcome to tour. We think you’ll enjoy the trip!

See you tomorrow,

Cherity

Cherity Koepke is Opera Colorado’s Director of Education & Community Programs and the Director of the Artist in Residence Program. To learn more about some of Opera Colorado’s many education and community opportunities, click here. To learn more about this year’s Artists in Residence, click here.

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