Finally! I now have both a good wireless connection and some free time before dinner to tell you about San Fransisco! Last week 6 chaperones and 22 very jet lagged children landed in California- here's a glimpse as to what our drive to the hotel looked like after landing as I frantically tried to capture all the palm trees on camera!
We left the hotel in Illinois at 3:30 am (this picture is obviously taken while the kids were still happy and awake before their 2.5 hours of sleep) for a 6:00 a.m flight where half of the group flew to Pheonix while the rest of us took the next flight to Philidelphia. From there we caught a connecting flight to California and after almost 10 hours of travel we landed only to find out that what felt like it should be 4:00 p.m was only 12! Needless to say that was to date the longest morning of my life. We were escorted to our hotel in the sleekest bus I have seen- cup holders and black leather seats...one of the kids exclaims "Auntie- this is A LOT nicer than our bus....is this our busy now?"There is not much to tell of the time where we were at the hotel as we all pretty much just slept so I will spare you that part of the adventure and skip ahead to the following morning!
The next day was really exciting- after lunch we arrived at the event centre for the gala just as people were setting up for the silent auction protion of the evening and dinner. Soon after I lead the kids through vocal warm ups I met with Josh Groban's producer who introduced me to Josh's pianist(that's right- we're on a first name basis now). I then proceeded to conduct the kids through a couple practice runs of the song with Josh's pianist in his dressing room! It feels just as surreal to type that as it felt to be there that day. I was so excited- they were really happy with the prep work I had done with the kids and after running thorugh the song twice said that they sounded great and were well prepared and needed no further run throughs! From there we went to sound check with Josh who worked really well with the kids, and the run through with him ran just as smoothly as our earlier practice. Afterwards we met with Nikki Yanofsky, a jazz artist from Montreal who is only 17- for such a young girl she has one amazing voice! If you haven't heard of her I encourage you to google her myspace- if you like Ella Fitzgerald she covers a lot of her music. For having such a short amount of time to learn the music the children sang really well with her too and were confident with their entries, and really I couldn't have been happier.
That night they sang really well- I think the pressure of such a big event and nerves only caught up with me as they sang that evening with Josh Groban for such a high profile audience- I felt as though my poor little heart would beat itself right out of my chest! However, I left that evening feeling very happy and proud for the kids- they sang beautifully and smiled big. All the proceeds from the evening went to aids- and the live auction (hosted by Matt Damon) made $600, 000 on one item alone!! And here's a picture of the kids with him later that night on the red carpet!
....and now we are back into the regular routine of tour- I feel very lucky after just finishing my degree in music to have had an opportunity as big as this! It looks like we will continue to travel to more big events as in a couple weeks we are scheduled to sing at a conference in Boston for 300, 000 people! I'll keep you posted... :)