West Virginia report

I have returned triumphant from my West Virginia adventure, with a Creation performance under my belt and only a few near catastrophes.

Friday

I was very lucky to get a ride from a friend to the airport after working all day. When we pulled up to Logan he asked what airline I was flying, and drove to Terminal C after I told him I was flying United. I was running a little late so I dashed to a self-check-in kiosk and swiped my credit card to check in.

“Reservation on US Airways. Unable to process reservation for other airline”

Oops. I guess I thought the U in US Airways stood for United. A quick inquiry revealed that US Airways was in Terminal B, and I hauled myself and my bright pink luggage through the airport to the neighboring terminal. A few minutes later, boarding pass in hand, I went quickly through security and toward Gate 19.

Gate 19 was curiously deserted, and I checked my boarding pass again. As it turned out, 19 was my seat number, not my gate number, and I set off at a sprint again hoping to get to Gate 7 with enough time to board. As I ran through the terminal I passed another runner and shouted “you can do it!” He was not amused.

My late arrival left me in boarding zone 7, so by the time I boarded the plane there was no more space in the overhead compartments. Having been burned over checked baggage before, I felt the panic rise up when I heard my carry-on was going underneath. Sensing that emotion, the flight attendant asked if I had anything valuable in there I wanted to keep with me on the plain.

I did a quick mental inventory. Contact lenses? Already in my bag. Score? I could get another one at the university if necessary. Then it hit me. I needed my gown.

Surrounded by impatient travelers I opened my suitcase, took out my ivory ball gown, left the suitcase at the door of the plane and carried the gown down the aisle before I shoved it in my oversized bag. I can’t imagine what my fellow passengers thought, but if any of them take as great a delight in writing about weird behavior as I do, then I probably showed up on a few blogs over the weekend. Or maybe they were too busy writing about the preponderance of swine-flu masks on our fellow passengers.

After we landed I called the conductor who, with the bass soloist, was picking me up at Charlotte-Douglas. They asked which airline I had flown in on, and I still couldn’t keep them straight. So after a two hour flight I turned to the person next to me and asked “What airline are we on?”

The gentlmen pcking me up had a good laugh as I took my gown out of my shoulder bag and put it back in the suitcase that had blessedly arrived with the plane in North Carolina. On the three hour drive to West Virginia I channeled my inner 8-year-old by curling up in the back seat and snoring.

We arrived at the conductor’s house a little after midnight. He set up the coffee machine for the morning, showed me how to turn it on, left to stay elsewhere (leaving us more room) and we all went to bed.

Saturday

Rehearsal Saturday was scheduled from 10-4. I woke around 7:30 and wandered downstairs to turn on the coffee maker which had been so generously set up for me. I pushed the suggested “on” button and nothing happened, so I checked the plug and discovered it was not plugged in. After arranging for some electricity there was still no sign of brewage. My first thought was that maybe the outlet wasn’t working, so I switched the plug to a different one. Still nothing. At that point I was a little concerned. Could I really wake the conductor up before rehearsal because I’m too dopey to figure out the coffee pot? After about 10 minutes of exploration I determined that I had actually plugged in the food processor. That was easily my third ‘soprano-moment’ in 24 hours. A delicious cup of Folgers followed.

Rehearsal was long, as promised. Concord University has a great facility, and the choir we were singing with was extraordinarily well-prepared and so welcoming. There was a chamber orchestra comprised of winds (string parts were played mostly in the organ part). Bostonians take note: There are some great players off the beaten path in West Virginia. We can become so arrogant by our glut of talent that we forget that there are very talented people in all different places, not just in big cities.

After a grueling day of rehearsal (our only rehearsal before the show) we went to a hibachi restaurant. Our conductor, sensitive to the fact that I am a vegetarian, recalled that they have a veggie dinner. The dinner was delicious, but our conductor seemed to have forgotten that by definition our meal would involve raw meat being cooked in front of us. Maybe not so sensitive to my vegetarianism, but as I have often stated, I don’t care what other people eat.

Sunday

Sunday morning I tracked down a Catholic church in that heavily Methodist area and worshipped with the community of Sacred Heart Parish. After Mass I fussed with my hair, changed into my gown, and we hustled over to the performance.

The concert was wonderful. The work that the conductor had done with the choir was so impressive, and the community was amazingly appreciative. I had a blast with the chorus and with the other soloists. I wish there were more to say about the performance. It was really a thrill and I felt so lucky to be there.

Monday

I came home. Not much exciting to report there. Now to getting dug out of all my emails.

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