Monday, February 13, 2012 - Sunday, February 19, 2012
This week brought us some of my favorite things in POGO:
The PCPA concert, complete with Red Hat Society; a chat and sing with some of the students from Oregon Children's Theatre; coachings with Tom at the Hampton Opera Centre; a McMenamins performance, and 4 awesome schools!
We started our week in the unique and lovely lobby at the PCPA, where it's always a treat to see our names in lights on the Schnitzer Hall marquee. The ever faithful Red Hat Society ladies came, as well as lots of newbies to hear the tale of Hansel and Gretel. That evening we had a nice chat and sing with some eager students at the Oregon Children's Theatre. It's always a pleasure to speak with teens who are preparing to embark on their own journey in the arts. Of course, with the new OCT location being so conveniently close to a Voodoo Doughnut, we simply had to stop on our way home (I am drooling just thinking about a maple bacon bar).
Over the next couple days, we were all treated to a coaching with Tom at the Hampton Opera Center where we got to take a brief break from Hansel and Gretel to work on some other pieces, a nice change as we have all only had Humperdnick on our brains for the last month and a half.
On Valentine's Day we made our way out to Turner, a town which had seen significant flooding not 4 weeks earlier in which people were urged to stay away or leave town, and rescue crews were even deploying boats. The Principal, Mr.Petersen, showed us how close to the school the water had come, covering the play ground, but luckily not reaching the school itself. None the less, the kids, hopped up on Valentine's treats, seem to be back in the groove and water levels had returned to normal by the time we arrived. After the performance, we were invited to dine with the kids, and as we dispersed amongst the lunch room, we were delighted with all the news and gossip that elementary school had to offer (... and we dined on Frito Pie's... a tasty first for me)!
Wednesday found us back in Beaverton at Greenway Elementary. This show was especially tricky with the tight turn around of doing two shows right back to back (12:50pm and 2:00pm!). We can always stand to be reminded of the value of pacing in opera, especially with a high energy show for kids! I had a delectably lucky day, as there were left over Valentine's goodies in the staff room, and when it came time for Gretel to get fattened up by the witch, I enjoyed a mouthful of gooey caramel chocolates.... Hansel does all the singing in that section!
We had a triumphant return to Davis Elementary, after having performed for half the school 2 Thursdays earlier. It is always nice to be there, and we left with arms full of great art, thank you notes, and a very special little poem from the students. That evening we performed at the Kennedy School and were so excited to see some Portland Opera staff, as well as Dan Buchanan, and his wife Abby, who performed with us last year on tour. We had a successful night, and a nice sit down in the Boiler Room afterwards with spouses, partners, siblings, good food and great conversation.
We finished off the week with the Whitman Elementary Bobcats. This show also went off without a hitch, and after a bit of a slow load out, due to school getting out at the same time, we were ready to head home for our two day weekend before our departure for La Grande.
-Ainsley Soutiere, Gretel