Hello to all of my faithful readers. This week I want to share with you about another of our chorus traditions and that is out of town retreats. These retreats were intended to have the chorus be by ourselves away from any kind of outside distraction so that we could bond and become really close as we rehearsed whatever show or concert was coming up. Some of my earliest memories of these was when Rodger Pettyjohn was our AD. At these retreats, aside from our rehearsal times, there always a "talent" show on the Saturday night. During one of these talent shows, Rodger sat silently at a piano for what seemed an interminable time. Another time Rodger had us lay on the floor and close our eyes so his new electronic composition could take us on a musically guided meditation.
The retreat sites we would go to during the Pat Parr years were in the Santa Cruz mountains or in the Guerneville area in Sonoma county. On the retreat before our Elton John concert I remember was how much fun we had rehearsing his songs and decorating our own outsized glasses similar to what Elton wore onstage. Also at the retreats, if there were sets to be designed and put together, this was where this was done. Another time during the retreat before our Radio Daze concert we were instructed on how to use and apply stage makeup and from that time on at each concert in our dressing rooms were makeup kits for all of us to use. All of the "talent" shows during this time were always so much fun and some of the talent shared was actually quite good. Another thing I remember during a retreat is that we performed at a benefit in Guerneville for the Sonoma County AIDS service organizations. Enjoy the pictures from one of these retreats with Pat.
A retreat I remember during the Michael Carlson years was at a hostel in the Marin Headlands where there were great views of the Pacific and back to San Francisco. As there were other people at this hostel during the weekend, we performed for them so we could have the feedback from this audience on the music we had been rehearsing.
During the Billy Sauerland years, we had a retreat at the Montara Lighthouse hostel near Half Moon Bay. We were rehearsing "Loving Repeating", the Gertrude Stein musical. During this time we all had the chance to be outside to enjoy the beauty of the ocean and coastline and we also enjoyed the beauty of being together learning this music.
Also during this time we were invited by the Freedom Band to join them three different years at their Music Camp in Cazadero. This was great fun for us as we got to spend time with the musicians of the band and of course there was a "talent" show that we all took part in. We also shared time around the camp fire and roasted marshmallows and made s'mores.
This will be my last History Corner entry for this year. What an amazing year this has been for our chorus. My thanks and love to Michael as he has led us on our musical journey. See you at Naughty and Nice. My love to you all at this time of year.
In harmony, Michael Lucero
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