Friday, August 6, 2010

I wanna sing, sing, sing


(Thanks to Eileen Burns for organising this event on behalf of the choir, to Rhonda Muckerman for being so well prepared and so much fun, and to Deb Stevens for taking  fabulous photos to document this perfect day – wet, cold, miserable and still perfect.)



Can’t deny it folks.  I’m an easedropper.  Sure, you say eavesdropper, I get it. For me, though  it  relates to the ease with which I sit around on the floor and listen to conversations. Plus, there is the “grandma what big ears you have,”  if you get it.

Owner disappeared last Saturday.  I had absolutely no idea where she went. One moment she was home and one moment she was gone, bag in hand loaded up with winter caliber  clothing.  For Pete’s sake, I thought, it is only the end of July what on earth is she thinking?  Apparently she packed the right stuff for a rainy summer day up at Alta Lakes

Getting to Alta Lakes can be a tortuous experience, especially if you don’t like cliffside roadways, Everest-like boulders in the middle of the road, and lakes on either side that are threatening to spill their banks.  Luckily Stu was at the wheel and with seatbelts fastened (thanks Stu!) up up she went to 11,300’. This is over two miles up from sea level! if you remember your grade four measurement lessons. We are talking way up….for the Canadians who read this look up, look way way up, and I’ll call Rusty).

Picture a dark, dank, chilled to the bone kind of day and you’d think October right? However, it was only July 31 and the thermometer hovered at about 45 degrees “F” at its warmest moment  and likely much lower given the elevation.  Rain, rain, rain and more rain continued throughout owner’s big adventure day up high. Luckily those muddy cliffs extending up above the jeep only looked like they wanted to slide; they held.


Owner wore  sandals up to the Observatory and within five minutes of being INSIDE the cabin, she pulled on her wool socks and running shoes just to keep her feet warm.  Next she threw on her winter wool undershirt as an extra layer on top of her t-shirts and under her fleece sweater.  Her friend, Patty, had to borrow a big pair of lumberjack socks or risk hypothermia of toes and calves!  Where was owner’s camera for that photo op? That hole in the heel really added to the appeal….she wasn’t dressed for her Tucson life now, was she!

Easedropping filled me in on  what was going on.  The Telluride Chorale Society and all interested singing members of the community had been invited to Alta Lakes for Summer Sing….a day long workshop.  About twenty excited singers showed up, some old timers and  some newbies.  Everyone was raring to let loose and fill the air, bring down the rafters,  and  ripple the waters.  Rhonda, the choir director arrived, and  the cabin burst into song.  There was a lot of that “mi, mi, mi” stuff going on, a little “doe a deer, a female deer” etc. only done with hand signs and voices. From the sounds of it, owner felt a bit rusty and was worried she couldn’t even hit the C above middle C but she persevered and with everyone else she made it. Halleluia.  Now they could sing. (Did their warmup sound a little bit like this? Would someone please buy ME a keyboard. This brings back thoughts of Don, now known as Wiggins.)



The first few songs were rounds,  and everyone seemed to like those  because they bring back childhood memories of camp and public school music classes. For owner this means memories of her mum getting school choirs and soloists ready for The Kiwanis Music Festival every Spring.   I’ll never know the joy of song; no one taught me to sing as a pup.  Have you seen my tongue?  Try wrapping that around words eh? 


As only Rhonda can,  she soon  had everyone  singing songs they had never seen before and singing them in four part harmony.  What would that choir do without its men?  You have to have that pounding bass line to make everything come together. Several women agreed to act as Tenors  even though each and every one of them can hit the highest notes possible, this is what happens when you have phenomenal vocal ranges.   Amid lots of laughter, fellowship, good food, and singing the feeling in the room was intimate.  Owner says IF anyone arrived in a bad mood they certainly didn’t leave that way. (Well, the two flat tires that Rhonda experienced  could have changed her mood as she tried to leave for home and for that she is forgiven. Let’s just say she hadn’t been a fan of that road on her way up to the cabin and certainly wasn’t a fan when she couldn’t simply head home.)

The best part was yet to come.  Curly arrived just as the choir was practicing its Lion King wannabe hymn.  Hips were swaying, boom dada boom boom da dum dum was bouncing off the walls along with a tippi, tippi tum, tippi too, tippi tum  and some Alleluias and drawn out Amen’s.  If you want to end your workshop on a high  note this was the way to do it.

But wait…..they weren’t done.  NO.  Roasted turkey, roast pork, chili, tabouleh, the BEST salad in the world (owner wouldn’t say whose it was), bread, you name it…that table was groaning.  Apple pie, chocolate graham wafer dessert, brownies, fruit….owner apparently really packed it away. I’m imagining the crumbs lying around were delicious. (me, just kibble at home as usual). Curly has never been known to turn down a free meal either. I heard he was back to the dessert table a couple of times until owner had to shoo him away.  Like she doesn’t feed him here?

Suddenly singing started again, tattoos were flashed to great delight, guitars strummed, poems recited, people burst into song to accompany singers through  repeating refrains.   Joyous times. Several audience members raised gentle background vocals for the young singer and her rendition of Oh, Shenandoah as she worked through  stage fright.  A more supportive and loving audience would be hard to find; several tears were seen streaking down cheeks in celebration of her accomplishment.  Yes she could do this and Yes, she did.   To everyone’s delight, Maria from The Sound of Music dropped by to discuss whiskers on kittens.  This led to bee stings and dog bites….as if I couldn’t have told them kittens tend to lead conversations in that ugly direction.   It sounds like somebody left on a Jet Plane but I can’t figure that one out. Curly couldn’t help but be moved as everyone joined in to accompany Rhonda on Amazing Grace…twenty beautiful voices raised in joy and celebration at the  end of a wonderful day.

One thing does bother me about this event.   Apparently Toddies got to go.  Now it could be that the organisers thought that Susan was bringing some HOT toddies, not her dog..but still,if Toddies can go and then Moose (my old Bud) can show up…why the hell didn’t I?  See ya later.


Here’s that flat tire  I was telling you about.

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