By Cherity Koepke, Director of Education & Community Engagement
Happy 2nd day of spring readers! We’re about to embark on our second week of tour. This time, we’ll be based in one location and do day trips to surrounding areas. We’re headed to Steamboat Springs for the second year in a partnership with Opera Steamboat. It’s exciting to work with another opera company that is just as passionate as we are at Opera Colorado about making sure students and communities in Colorado have access to the arts.
We don’t get on the road until about 2:00 PM today because we had a performance in town this morning. So, once everyone had time to change and grab some lunch we meet up, pack the cars again and hit the road. It looks like we may also hit some weather on the way up and, to be honest, that’s a good thing. We really need some moisture. The drive out of Denver is uneventful, another good thing, and soon we find ourselves back in the mountains. It’s a typical scenario in The Beasty, the silent partners are being silent and Parisa and I are talking and entertaining each other.
We pass Idaho Springs and that when I see the infamous sign; the sign that conveys false hope to the reader. “Big Horn Sheep Crossing.” I’ve driven this road countless times over the years and I have never seen them. Not once. People tell me that they’re here. I’ve become doubtful and I share my skepticism with Parisa. But, I’ve also earned the moniker, Little Mary Sunshine, so I keep my eyes peeled anyway. Just as I move back into the right lane, it happens. I see something move off to the side of the road just ahead of the car. Parisa squeals. I swerve. Big Horn Sheep… they do exist. We came upon them just before they crossed the road. Allison, Danielle and Ryan did not see them. Omar and Charles did though.
We get to the Eisenhower Tunnel hit and some rain. In Silverthorne, we make a quick pit stop. I text Andres Cladera, the Artistic Director of Opera Steamboat, to let him know our progress and we continue our trek to Steamboat Springs. There is a lot of open land out here. Miles and miles of high country acreage, streams and lakes surrounded by snowy peaks. It can make you feel pretty small and that’s also a good thing. Parisa and I see a place called Singer Ranch that is for sale. Should we…? I drive on.
We get to Kremmling, drive through some more rain and then start heading over Muddy Pass and finally Rabbit Ears Pass. There is a lot of snow still on the pass, but once we get down into Steamboat, it’s the beginning of Spring. We’ve made it and I’m grateful for the good roads. Last year when we came up for the partnership, we drove in whiteout conditions. It never stopped snowing from the time we arrived to the day we left. We never actually say the mountains. This year, it’s cloudy and there are a few showers in the area, but the visibility is much better and the view is beautiful. In just a few minutes we arrive at our destination and I get us checked into our lodging. Opera Steamboat has arranged for us to stay in a beautiful area called The Porches. Andres meets us, show us around and helps us get settled, even gallantly carrying my bag to my room. We’re all staying in one location this time and it’s gorgeous. I get assigned the bedroom with the fireplace; guess I’ll just have to adjust. Honestly, we’re all feeling pretty lucky that we get to stay in a place like this.
We snap a quick group photo for Andres and Opera Steamboat and say goodbye. We’ll see him tomorrow. Then, everyone takes a few minutes to get settled. Charles has really made himself at home, having already changed into his robe. Did I mention we have robes? We have robes. I do a tour briefing so everyone knows what to expect over the next 4 days. They will be busy ones with performances every day; two on Friday. Then we get down to the very important business of meal planning. We have a kitchen, so we’re going to be eating a lot of our meals in. When you’re on the road, you eat out for every meal. It’s just what you do. But here, we get the rare opportunity to cook. Allison writes everything down as we plan a couple of breakfasts and dinners. Everyone can fend for themselves for lunch. After meticulous detail, we have our shopping list.
Allison, Omar, Ryan and I decide to head into town for groceries. Parisa’s got a headache and Charles is tired, so they stay behind with Danielle. The shoppers hop into the car and away we go. At the grocery, Ryan and I each grab a cart and we begin shopping like we’re on some kind of gameshow. What looked like a lot on paper, looks like a plethora in the carts, but we’re cooking for 4 days and 7 people, so all in all, we’ve done well. Groceries bagged, we head back to the house just as the sun sets. I get turned around a bit (I got overly ambitious and didn’t use my GPS), so we end up coming into the development the back way. As we near our turn, I see three figures robed in white garments. No, I’m not having a vision. I’m seeing Parisa, Danielle and Charles who are making their way back from the hot tub. Yeah… tired, headache, stay behind indeed. I decree that they are running all future errands and unpacking the groceries. Ryan documents the incident on his phone.
Back at the house, there is a flurry of activity to put things away and get a late dinner started. Omar is chef tonight with Ryan, Danielle and Allison as his staff. Parisa and I settle down at the table and get some work done while watching the culinary action performed to the soundtrack of Celine Dion. Danielle is in her happy place. I can hear Charles singing, so I know he’s in the house somewhere. Allison gets a little over zealous in her chopping and cuts herself. Danielle goes to get the first aid kit from The Beasty and then I get her bandaged up. Actually it takes both Parisa and I to accomplish it. She’s fine – the Band-Aids were uncooperative. Over a delicious dinner, our compliments to chef Omar, we share stories. Eating a home cooked meal together is one of my favorite things in this world. Charles cleans up afterwards and the others lounge around the living room.
Pretty soon, it’s getting late. Danielle decides to turn in – she has a strict bedtime and it’s entirely self-imposed. I show Charles and Parisa the video of the giant chicken that’s all over the internet. Charles says he wants one, but somehow I don’t think colossal poultry is quite what this program needs… Parisa is the next one to decide to call it a day. Ryan, Allison, Omar and Charles head down to the basement to play a game. I head up to my room to blog and tackle some emails.
We’re looking forward to bringing opera to a lot of people this week. Thanks for following us as we do.
Good night readers,