Pre-Chautauqua

Posted on Jul 13, 2017 by Stephen

Rehearsal, workshop swaps, rehearsals, communication workshops, and more rehearsals.

We're camped out in beautiful Noti, Oregon (shoutout to our host Arn; thanks for sharing your wonderful home with us!) and operations are at in full swing to prepare for this summer's tour. The last 48 hours have been a whirlwind of rehearsals, meetings, and get-to-know-yous. This morning we had an enigmatically-titled Communications Meeting, led gracefully by Matthew Riggen, who helped us develop tools for peacefully resolving interpersonal conflicts. Living with 50 other people in close community inevitably leads to some communication issues and I think having these kinds of conversations at the beginning of tour was a wise move on the organizers’ part. So far though, this tour appears to be one of the best group attitudes I’ve ever seen. We’ve filled all the buckstop rolls and all the basic mechanics are running smoothly.

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One of the downsides of teaching a workshop on tour (I’ve historically taught juggling, the last couple years I ran choral singing workshops) is that you don’t get to experience the classes other Chautauquans are teaching. I’ve always had a vague awareness that other folks are teaching ukulele, or acrobatics, or giving historical talks, but I’ve never had the chance to actually participate in them. That’s why I was so happy that Sophie (our wonderful lead organizer) made time for a Workshop Swap today, in which everybody had the chance to take all the workshops being offered on this year’s tour. Okay, I got swept away into another mini-musical rehearsal for most of the time, but still, it brought  me a lot of joy to see our campsite full of Chautauquans learning from each other and sharing their passions. I hope this idea can carry into future tours.

 

Today was also the marathon band rehearsal day - marching band charged up and down the road while solidifying Chumleighland, Desert Patrol, and Ya Move Ya Lose, then the stage band plowed through a slough of charts for the various acts performing on tour. I'm personally pretty excited about the grossly-titled “Chauquamilton,” a parody of the musical Hamilton with lyrics explaining the origins of our Chautauqua and our shared purpose on this tour. We’ve done two rehearsal so far and it’s coming along. You can see a video of a rehearsal here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRqntsiiDBU

 

Several of us visited a neighboring farm today to offer a few hours of weeding and other tasks in exchange for a big box of veggies, with Jacoby (our new kitchen lead, who is churning out deliciousness like nobody’s business) preparing a wonderful dinner. It’s Lacy’s birthday, so the band serenaded her and we got a special treat of after-dark ice cream.

 

I’m sure there’s other details I’m leaving out here, but it’s been a long couple of days and I’ve got some music to review before I can hit the hay. I’m hoping to recruit some guest bloggers who can share different perspectives from the tour, so look for those soon. Thanks for following us and supporting Chautauqua! Good night.

-Stephen