Friday night, 8:00 p.m. After an hour of rehearsal, we pile into the IMAX for our own private showing of a movie . . . about cowboys and horses, of course! Just perfect for getting into the mood for our Cowboy Christmas shows at the Kessler . . . and leave it to our guys to discover a way to make life-sized shadow puppets on the ceiling!
Friday night, 10:00 p.m. One of my favorite parts of the choir retreat each year is watching our veteran singers "coach" our younger members in sectional rehearsals. It's very gratifying to hear them saying the very things we've been saying in rehearsals . . . does this mean they've been listening, after all? After half an hour of hard work, we gather in the stage room for "Choir Idol." Six groups of singers sang "As I Sat on A Sunny Bank" from memory and we are well on our way to our performance with the TTU Choirs . . .
Friday night, 11:30 p.m. The Apprentices are all tucked away in their sleeping backs, and ready for their late-night showing of "How to Train Your Dragon." Concert Choir singers get down to serious work with "One Fine Hour" for the Carol Concert . . . and they are going to sound great on this piece. It's hard, and requires sophisticated and sensitive musicianship. They are up for this challenge.
Saturday morning,1:00 a.m. Slowly but surely, we're shutting it down for the night. Some time around 4:10 a.m. I hear giggling, ("Can we play UNO?") but by 4:30 it's completely quiet. Too bad that alarm is going off at 7:00 a.m.
Saturday morning, some time before the alarm . . . one by one, little girls in pjs begin tiptoe-ing into the hallway where several of the staff, including me, are sleeping (finally) peacefully. Not for long; before we know it, they are piling onto air-mattresses, full of giggles. It's just like Christmas morning! They wake up happy and ready to pester the big kids to get moving, too. We start our day with an impromptu disco party . . . nothing shouts "wake up call" like "Copacabana" and "Dancing Queen" . . .
Later that day . . . some time between nine and one . . . best rehearsal ever! We've re-convened at Forrest Heights UMC, our regular "home" for the second day of our retreat. Somehow, these sleepy kids (and devoted staff) have found their second wind. We block the whole Kessler show, sustained by donuts and sub sandwiches (Thanks, Mrs. Roberts!) and sing through every one of the songs with Ray, the amazing guitarist and band leader. We love this music, and it shows . . . these kids are really terrific. I think we're going to have a wonderful weekend in December!