There are times when I am writing these blogs that I think back over the day and just smile. There are times when some of the moments that happen are so poignant that there’s really no way to put them into words. There are some views that we see that are so beautiful that I, as a wordsmith, can’t do them justice. There are times when none of that happens and your day begins at 3:00AM when the carbon monoxide detector goes off in your room. You look for it for over an hour, first thinking it was the smoke detector – nope. Then thinking it was one of the two alarm clocks in the room. You try one – no. You try the other which has an exposed wire that you don’t see and you get a lovely little shock – no again. Then you finally find it plugged into the wall behind the bed, chirping its little heart out because the batteries are low. Good morning readers!
After my early morning adventure, I’m not the most chipper camper in the cabin, but I’m up and functioning. People are making their breakfast in stages and little by little we get ready to start the day. [I didn’t know it at the time, but this “happens in stages” thing will turn out to be a theme]
We don’t have a long drive today; only about 1 hr. 15 min. to Gypsum. We’re performing for the Elementary School students but the show is actually happening at the High School, so we’ll be in an auditorium. It’s a first-time visit for a last-time show. After today’s performance, we’re done with Hansel and Gretel for the season. The group’s drive is stunning and lots of pictures are taken and not just by Ben this time.
Set up goes smoothly – no broken glass today. That could just be because there’s no glass left to break, at least as far as props go. I see a post that Will puts on Facebook talking about the countdown that now begins. He’s right. Today – the final Hansel and Gretel. Tomorrow, the final Arias & Ensembles and the final In-School Workshop. Thursday – the final Carmen. Can it really be eight months since the Young Artists started? In some ways it feels like it’s just been a few weeks. In other ways it feels like it’s been years.
The performance goes well and the kids are quiet but very engaged. Questions take a bit to get going, but once they do, they have some good ones. Charles is running the Q&A and he takes a question that we’ve never gotten before, “Why did you do the set changes on stage?” You see folks, each season, the Young Artists aren’t only the cast of the show, they’re the crew too. That means for every performance we’ve done this season for one of the touring operas, they have loaded all of the sets, costumes and props into the space, set it all up, done the performance and then taken everything down, loaded it all out and packed it into the Yeti (our Denali). We do it all. I was able to stage Hansel and Gretel so that the scene changes happen in character and as part of the show, so it works. The Assistant Principal of the High School thanks us and tells us that he really wants us back. That’s great to hear as our contact is retiring at the end of this school year, so we’ll need someone who wants to continue the relationship we’ve only just started to build. At Opera Colorado – we’re in the business of building relationships. We want to get to know the teachers we work with and have an impact on our students that goes beyond a one-time only visit. I’m really hoping that this is what we started in Gypsum today.
Once the Q&A is done, it’s time to load out. Not everything will be making the return trip. We can finally throw the old, incredibly nasty candy away. This stuff has been stepped on, crushed, put back together, used again, thrown up into the air and just basically destroyed. Fair thee well candy – thanks for being so sweet to work with. (Hey – everyone likes a good pun now and then) Load out complete, it’s time to head back to the cabin.
Back in Frisco, some people rest while others go for a walk down to the marina. Again some photos are taken to capture the scene. Alaina gets a particularly good shot of Emily on her phone. I mean Alaina takes the picture on her phone, not that the picture is of Emily on her phone. 3:00AM people – I was up at 3AM. Anyway… it’s a lovely shot. Once we’re all back together – we decide to make dinner. We’re grilling tonight. We have chicken, burgers, mushrooms, eggplant, corn, pineapple and homemade guacamole. Oh, we also have homemade brownies with ice cream for dessert. Because there are only so many of us that can fit in the kitchen the grill can only hold so much at once, dinner happens in stages. Ben puts on some jazz music in the background and the next hour or so is a choreographed circus of us trying to navigate a small and quirky space with sharp instruments. Fortunately, no artist was injured in the making of this dinner. However, Emily is up to about the sixth time of stubbing her toes.
After dinner we take a break before brownies and ice cream. Danielle and Emily do the unenviable task of doing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen. Hmmm… it doesn’t seem that the rule of “ye who cooked does not clean” holds up entirely tonight. I may have to do something about that… The cleaning and dishes happens in stages too. There’s so much of it to do, they have to map the kitchen into grids and tackle one zone at a time. Charles and Ben and I spend the next fifteen minutes trying to figure out how to unlock the dumpster so we can take out the trash. There are four lock boxes on this cabin and none of them work. Ben, clearly frustrated at our lack of progress, gives up. Finally, I read the directions on the refrigerator and behold – there is another we have not tried. Charles has success and we all learn a valuable lesson. Read the directions people. Read them. I finish up a few last kitchen zones and then everyone does their own thing for a bit. Ben watches a hockey game; I catch up on some emails and begin the blog. I work to the dulcet sounds of Charles working on the music for his summer program. Others read or take a short walk or… I have no idea what. After dinner, Will disappeared. I think he may have been in one of the grids the ladies cleaned… and they were thorough.
After what we feel was a respectable amount of time, the brownies are decimated. Unlike the cake of Lake City; we do have a few left over for tomorrow. However if my 3AM wakeup call happens again, all bets are off. After dessert, part of the group decides to re-watch the most recent episode of “Game of Thrones.” That immediately excludes Danielle and me from the party as we aren’t on the current season yet. So we both retire to our rooms. It’s also way past Danielle’s bed time. This woman is serious about her sleep. The television in the living room is directly below my bedroom and as they watch the episode, I hear some comments that are simply not blog appropriate. After the viewing ends, the group needs some aquatic therapy, so they decide to hit the hot tub for a bit. I work for a while and listen as one by one, everyone turns in.
The last Hansel and Gretel of the season. It’s a little hard to believe. I can hear the kid’s reactions as I reminisce about the various scenes of the show. The parts where they giggled, the scene where they copied every dance move Emily made. The chatter as they saw Ben in his witch regalia for the first time. The cheers when Hansel and Gretel won the day. It was a show that we can all be very proud of. But, I have to admit, I’m ready to retire this production for a few years. This is the third time that Opera Colorado has performed this touring version and it’s as popular now as it was when we toured it for the first time. I still love it. But, as a Director, I’m ready for the new challenges that next season will present.
Before I turn in, I program the repertoire for tomorrow’s Arias & Ensembles concert and create a game plan for the In-School Workshop that I will be leading with the chorus students. Then, I issue a warning to the carbon monoxide detector before turning off my light. If it knows what’s good for it, the only chirping I will hear tonight will be from the crickets outside.
Sleep tight readers,