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About Portland Opera To Go


Portland Opera To Go


Each year Portland Opera To Go takes an opera on the road, sharing the power of opera, music, and theater with schools and communities throughout Oregon and SW Washington. It’s not necessarily the easiest thing in the world, as you might imagine. But it’s one of the most rewarding . . . for us and for the thousands upon thousands of students who get to experience live opera, many for the first time.

And this blog will give you a first-hand view from the performers themselves of what it’s like when Opera hits the road!


Here’s a link to more information on the tour and the program.

Week 7: The Challenges of Crazy Tour Fitness

In the later part of 2011, when Alexis Hamilton approached me about managing the tour for Portland Opera To Go, I was not in particularly fantastic shape. I had been running for pleasure, but had no structure to my fitness. 3 months before the project started last year, I was challenged to a vegan diet regime by my best friend and his wife, who were planning on cutting all animal products from their diet. Now, this worked fine while operating out of Portland... about a month into the tour, I had fallen off the the proverbial "meatless wagon," and welcomed cheese and meat back with open arms (and satiated tummy).

Fast forward to the summer of 2012:

From August until late September, I found myself working on a completely different tour. I was hired by a publishing company out of New York, working as a distributer. The tour's main function was to set up poster fairs at college campuses, with the intent of providing freshmen with art to hang on the walls of their dorm rooms. With POGO, we are lucky to get to return back to Portland throughout the tour. No so with this poster tour. For 6 weeks I was living in hotels from NY to Chicago. Now, there's nothing wrong with hotel fitness centers, but the drive to go to the gym after a 12 hour day at a poster sale is another matter. Also, the company provided us with a meal per diem that had to be spent or returned. There was much consumption of steak and lobster, creamy soups, fantastic desserts, coffee and pastries... 

I gained a few pounds.

Spending time on college campuses, you meet a lot of college athletes. We would hire many of them to unload our truck, paying them in posters. One of these fellows introduced me to Crossfit.

For those not sure what this is, imagine playground gym. It's sort of a combination of gymnastics, bootcamp, calisthenics, aerobics, and Olympic weight lifting. In a typical one hour class, it is not uncommon to have run a mile for a warm up, and then in the course of the next 20 minutes, completed 30 handstand pushups, 40 pullups, 50 kettlebell swings, 60 situps, and 70 burpees. This is actually the workout we did on Friday afternoon. I returned from the poster tour on the 23rd of September. I joined Crossfit Fort Vancouver on Sep 24. It has been the most challenging experience of my life, but also the most life altering. The classes I attend are at 5:30 and 6:00 AM. Consistently getting up this early is amazing. Besides the fitness, it has done so much for my personal growth. After class, I have a couple more hours in the day to work on projects.

And then POGO started again...

I have not given in. While it is true, some of the tiny towns we stay in do not have crossfit gyms that I can crash a class at, almost all the hotels have gyms. Because of the structure of the gym classes, and the accessibility of the workout of the day (wod) on the gym's website, I can generally complete the wod that my classmates are doing back in Vancouver. I also have drank the crossfit kool-aid and decided to go paleo. Imagine a caveman. Now imagine his kitchen. Eggs, vegetables, and a dead cow. No dairy, not sweets except for fruit. No corn, grain, or legumes. A lot of almonds. This diet is much easier to take on the road than veganism. Generally, I can go into a diner and order a hamburger with no bun. But truly, I find myself cooking a lot of meals and bringing a week's worth of food on the road. The cast thinks I'm nuts. They are probably correct... but I feel great, and am in the best shape of my life, and still sustain my regime on the road.

No excuses.

— Sammuel Hawkins (Tour Manager)

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