By Cherity Koepke
Good morning readers! We’re finished up our first week of tour in Fort Collins! Yesterday was a travel day and a much needed vocal day off for the Young Artists. Today they have a double bill of Cinderella and then we’re heading back to Denver for the weekend. They have their final public concert on Sunday – the Young Artist Celebration.
We have one more member of our team with us today. Our manager, Parisa Zaeri. The gang’s all here! At the school, we are greeted by a very excited staff, especially the music teacher. We’ve got a shorter set up time, so there’s no goofing around, or at least there’s less goofing around, and everyone gets to work. The Young Artists have a shorter lunch break than normal, so Parisa and I take everyone’s orders and we’ll be getting lunch and delivering to them. Sound check done, costumes and makeup donned, the first performance starts, and Jordan is on deck today for the pre-show speech so I can go get the lunches. He got three out of the four things I usually say and then left the fourth as a “watch and see” moment. Way to roll with it Jordan!
Parisa and I head out to get everyone’s lunch and it’s a good thing we allowed as much time as we did. It took a while and we had to triple check to make sure we had everything right. The way they took the order was something akin to hieroglyphics. We get back to the school just as the kids began to leave and we hear all of the cheers for the performance. It clearly went well. Lunches are distributed and we chat for a bit about Sunday’s program and then Parisa and I take a break so we can get our own lunch. We take the opportunity to have a working lunch and catch up on a number of administrative things that we need to. Time well spent.
Back at the school, the second performance has ended and the Young Artists are happy with how the show went. They said the kids were really responsive. This school has been wonderful to us and, from the office staff to the teachers, they’re clearly so excited we’re here. This is a school that we provided with a partial scholarship. They have a high percentage of students on free and reduced lunch. Their music teacher thanks us again and again for coming and providing the scholarship so her kids could have this experience. In all honesty, it’s our honor to be able to provide support for schools that desperately need it. Opera is for everyone—anyone who wants to see it should have that opportunity and that’s one of the reasons we’re out here doing this.
After striking the set, props, and costumes and loading out, we take some time to run through some of the music for Sunday. Things are sounding good and it’s going to be a wonderful program. Once again, it’s hard to believe that we’re nearing the end of May. Nathan, the caretaker, checks on everyone to see how we’re doing—tired, but pretty well over all. Nicole is fading and Vanessa’s gone a bit quiet, so it’s time to rest. Week one of the Greater Colorado Tour has been a success. We pile back in the cars and, after stopping for gas and making sure that Heath is well stocked with car snacks, we get on the road.
We encounter traffic and the weather takes a turn so the drive back to Denver is a slow go, but we’ve all driven in much worse. We discuss the reasoning behind the car that’s driving on the shoulder, having mistaken it for a lane and Nick and Heath have a conversation about Parisa’s ability to hear lightening. Safely back in Denver, we say goodbye and everyone is judicious about getting their things and heading off to their own space. Tomorrow is our day off before Sunday’s concert event.
Week one—done. It was a good week. A week with opera in it is always a good week. We’re excited for Sunday’s Celebration concert and looking forward to Week 2 of tour.
Thanks for joining us readers. Have a good night,
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.