By Cherity Koepke
Readers – do you remember how in yesterday’s blog I said that tour is never dull? Those words proved prophetic. Read on and you’ll see why.
We got up early today for our call. We have a double bill of The Elixir of Love at the elementary school in Eagle, CO. This is a first-time school for us, so it’s exciting. I’m looking forward to seeing Elixir, too. It’s been a couple months since I’ve see the Young Artists do this show. It’s always interesting to see how it’s grown and changed. We grab a quick breakfast and coffee and head to the school to set up. It’s right now that the “tour is never dull” statement makes itself known.
The smaller of our rental vehicles has been showing a tire pressure light and low tire warning off and on since we left Denver. We put air in and have just been keeping an eye on things. Well, the light is on again, so I call the rental car company to find out what we can do. They give me the number of the local branch, so I call. They’re no longer in business. I call the branch in Denver back. They give me the number of a garage to call. I call and ask if they look at the car. They can’t without approval from the branch we rented from. I call that branch back, get the approval number and call the garage. While this is going on, set up is happening. The garage agrees to look at the car, so I get the keys and head over. I tell everyone if I’m not back in time for the start of the performance, to go ahead without me.
At the garage, I’m greeted at the door by a ball of fluff in the form of an Alaskan malamute named Shelby. She immediately brightens my day by rolling over for a tummy rub. They take the car into the shop and I wait. For more than an hour, I wait. They find a nail in the tire. They try three different times to patch it but it doesn’t hold, so the put the spare on. Knowing we can’t drive more than 100 miles tomorrow on a spare, I call the Denver location back again to figure out how we can get a different rental. They tell me the best they can do is get us one in Silverthorne, which is more than 65 miles away, after 3:00PM tomorrow. Seeing as we have to check out of our lodging at 10:00 AM, that’s not going to work. By the time the spare is on and I have the keys back, the show hasn’t just begun, it’s ended and I still don’t have an answer. So I head back over to the school to meet everyone for lunch.
We grab a quick bite and I continue to try to find a replacement rental vehicle. Over lunch I catch up with the Young Artists and ask how the show went. They said the kids seemed to like it. Good—I’d like more information, but that’s good. We also decide what to do about dinner tonight. We’ll be grilling and when the word “steak” is mentioned, Vanessa responds so enthusiastically that the people at the table behind us jump. I finally talk to someone at the Denver location who is willing to help me. By the time lunch is over, we have a car, but I have to drive to Glenwood Springs to get it. So I drop the others off at the school to get ready for the second performance, we clean everything out of the air pressure, tire-challenged rental and I head off for Glenwood Springs.
The drive is very pretty, but I’m tired and disappointed to miss the second show, too. When we work with a school for the first time, I like to gauge the reactions of the students, meet the teachers and get to know the school a bit. That’s not going to happen today. I make it to Glenwood Springs and, after some back and forth, manage to convince the staff at the rental car location that we do indeed need a replacement vehicle. No, it can’t be a minivan. No, a car the size of a hamster will not work either. Three times is a charm. Equivalent sized car in hand, I head back to the school.
By the time I arrive, they’ve almost finished loading out. We get everything resettled and head for the grocery store to get what we need for dinner. The Young Artists say the second show went well too, though the kids seemed tired. Jordan says they were quiet but they were paying attention. As we drive, I listen to Katie and Nick have a conversation about voice teachers and competitions. Shop talk for opera singers.
Everyone grabs what they need at the grocery and, almost 10 hours after we left, we head back to the house. Everyone takes a break. Heath, Nick, and Jordan go for a run (separately), Andrew makes a phone call, I catch up on email and Katie, Vanessa, Nicole, and Nathan kickbox in the front yard. It’s OK readers, they’re working out with each other, not working each other over. Then we begin dinner. It’s a gorgeous evening so we decide to eat outside. Katie and Heath build a fire in the fire pit and we spend the next couple of hours chatting and eating and, yes, Vanessa gets her steak.
At the fire pit, we make s’mores and watch as Nicole sets her marshmallows on fire, turning them into lava, not once but twice. We talk about the program on Sunday and decide what time to leave in the morning. Heath tries to catch the sparks that shoot up from the fire. Andrew, the sage, tells him that fire is hot and not to be touched. Katie practices her blacksmith skills by heating up the skewers in the fire, Nick tells us a story about a dog who ate a sock, and Andrew sheds light on his apparent habit of dating ladies with masculine names.
We all pitch in to clean up the sizeable mess we made and then Heath and Andrew deicide to practice their inner lords and smoke cigars by the fire. I think they’re more excited about the royal wedding than they’re letting on. I turn in so I can write the blog and finally wind down from a crazy day. Not the day I had planned by any means, but it certainly held true to my statement that tour is never dull. See? Prophetic.
Wishing you a good night readers,
Cherity Koepke is Opera Colorado’s Director of Education & Community Programs and the Director of the Young Artist Program. To learn more about some of Opera Colorado’s many education and community opportunities, click here. To learn more about this year’s Young Artists, click here.