…and it is 6:30 am, and we are on the road again, except we didn’t leave WCC to go straight to the airport as planned. One of our choir members, bass Sergey Tkachenko, did not make it to the bus and did not respond to calls or texts. Rather than leave him in Princeton (we had all been coached and reminded how imperative it was that we make our flight – we have a piano dress rehearsal tonight as soon as we get back), Dr. Miller verbally guided the bus driver to Sergey’s house. The full- size tour bus drove down a quiet residential street, and Dr. Miller was accompanied by a number of students as we went to retrieve our friend.
Sergey had slept through his alarm, and needless to say he and his roommates were a little startled to greet the Westminster Choir packed into their hallways at 6:45 a.m. the day after graduation. After some help gathering necessary items and some hilarious and loving teasing, we were finally Charleston-bound.
The longer flight back to Charlotte was uneventful, I think. I was sleeping so if there were any interesting goings-on, I am unable to report them to you. On the shorter flight to Charleston, I sat between tenor and first year conducting graduate student Shane Thomas and soprano Maggie Montoney. Soprano Allison Miller was across the aisle, and at one point she offered her stuffed elephant to a beautiful toddler with whom we had been taking turns playing peek-a-boo. The little one with the beautiful blue eyes and impossibly curly hair gladly accepted the toy, but what Allison hadn’t planned was for how to take it back when the plane landed. Dr. Miller did the dirty work, and we all watched with pouty faces of our own as the little one started fussing again. It was at this moment that Maggie said “So, Allison, what we do here is: you give her the elephant, then they give me the baby.” We laughed, and Dr. Miller turned around to say, “Now Maggie, these are things we don’t say out loud.” The laughter did not cease until after we had landed. The combination of being over-tired, over-happy, and over-traveled created a perfect storm for the kinds of giggles that come in waves. As soon as one subsides, the tiniest push starts them afresh.
And just like that, we were back at the Sotille Theatre, primping and prepping for a piano dress rehearsal. The set-change that had taken 45 minutes the day before we left was actually down to 8 minutes!! It was organized, frenzied team-work back stage as the wall-papered walls were flown out, the padded walls were flown in, the lycra, ladders, hands, and faces were placed, used, and removed, and the chairs for the asylum were set for the final chorus just as the curtains raised.
After the rehearsal, guess where we went? Kickin Chickin, of course. But this was a short night – after a few bites of food and a few sips to drink, it was early to bed (though not early to rise! Dr. Miller cancelled our morning choir rehearsal to give us a chance to recover from the adventures of Commencement.)