Thursday, April 17, 2014


One of my favorite high school memories was Concert Choir tour during my senior year. We travelled by bus making a stop for a night in Arizona to sing, and then onto our main destination of Anaheim, California. We did multiple high school exchanges, sang at Disneyland, went to the beach and attended a performance of Phantom of the Opera. Considering Phantom had just come out a couple of years earlier, this was some serious awesome. Up to that point I had also never been to Disneyland, so to spend even just one day there (after performing) was pretty amazing. (Side note: A few years later Bryan took me to Disneyworld on our honeymoon because I was Disney deprived. How sweet is he?)

Rebekah was really excited when her choir teacher announced a Madrigal tour to Seattle, Washington. Ms. May was looking for a few parents to travel with them as chaperones. After clearing it with Rebekah first to make sure she was okay with her mom tagging along (luckily she thinks I'm cool) I volunteered myself.

We left late at night so as to drive while we were all sleeping. But sleeping on a bus is difficult, at best. Even when you have a whole double seat to yourself seeing as you are an adult chaperone. Those poor choir kids who had to drape themselves all over each other to try and get comfortable....on second thought, maybe they didn't mind too much. Regardless, none of us got any meaningful sleep, but we arrived bright and bushy-tailed (or maybe just hopped up on adrenaline) for our first stop in Seattle....the Space Needle. And then on to Pikes Place Market. The two things Seattle is most famous for. Oh, and the gum wall. Why the gum wall even exists baffles me a little bit. It was equal parts disgusting and fascinating.

The pictures they are holding up are the faces of those Madrigals who weren't able to join them on the trip for one reason or another. Still along in spirit, I suppose...
Shelly was my fellow chaperone and hotel roomie. We explored Seattle together and became very good friends. Funny discovery...apparently her husband grew up in the same ward in Concord, California as my grandparents. Small world.

I can't even describe the awesomeness that is Pikes Place Market. Fresh flowers, fresh fish, fresh fruit....everywhere. Little pathways that wound all around leading to eccentric little shops. A store packed with vinyl records. A used bookstore where I couldn't quite tell if the owner was trying to flirt with me or was just really friendly. Terrific seafood restaurants with equally terrific views out the windows. And the most amazing store filled with maps! I bought one where the world is made up of tiny little music notes. I found it appropriate for a souvenir from a choir tour trip. I'm dying to go back.

We cruised through Elliott Bay twice while in Seattle. Once on a dinner cruise where we had the whole boat to ourselves. Dinner and then a dance party on the deck. The kids loved it.

And then another little cruise to Tillicum Village on an island off Seattle with all the high schools that participated in the choral festival. We were happily surprised to have some Orcas come check us out on our way. The captain stopped the boat so we could all try and get a glimpse. It was pretty awesome. 

We had a rehearsal at this Baptist church. The stained glass windows were amazing. And the organist treated us to an impressive Bach number after our practice was done.

One day we had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe...

 ....and then a visit to the Pacific Science Center.
There was a spy exhibit on display while we were there. I was especially excited to see an Enigma machine (that the Nazi's used during WWII) and a piece of the Berlin Wall. We also spent a huge amount of time in the butterfly house.

Nolan was rather delighted when one of the butterflies decided to spend some one-on-one time with him....

One evening we even were able to spend some non-rainy weather at the beach. No swimming, was far too cold for that. But we let the kids loose to find some dinner on their own and explore the beach.

Two mainstays of Seattle....umbrellas and Starbucks. Did you know that there are 157 Starbucks within a 5 mile radius of Pikes Place Market? Starbucks did originate in Seattle, so maybe it makes sense. Their hot chocolate was much appreciated on the chilly and rainy afternoons.

I wish I had pictures of the kids singing at their festival. They were absolutely great and sang so beautifully...I was super impressed. Or the fun underground Seattle tour we took afterwards...It was fascinating to learn the history of the city. But somehow I lost those pictures. Sad face.

On our way home we stopped at Snoqualmie Falls for a picnic lunch. Such a majestic don't really do it justice. Why do I feel I must try all the same?
Ms. May, Shelly, Adriaan (our bus driver) and me enjoying our lunch. Only missing Nolan's parents who also chaperoned with us but decided (wisely) to avoid the long bus drive home and fly instead.

While we were there I found a bunch of kids all gathered around someone's iPhone where they were intently listening to General Conference that was happening that day in SLC. Impressive! I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them on tour....good kids, all. I'm so glad that Rebekah was okay with me joining in on all the tour fun!

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