We headed out this morning to see the Great Sand Dunes, only a short drive from Alamosa.
With the dunes in the forefront of the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the setting is truly stunning.
After our group photo, we went our separate ways for the next 90 minutes. Some watched the film, some walked to the main dune area, and others with lots of energy raced to the top of the dunes. This is a very beautiful and interesting area that we were glad to have a little time to visit. It did feel good to get a little exercise. And it only added a cup or two of sand to our bus floor. I don’t think anyone actually rolled down the dune as we saw in the film.
Then back to Alamosa, where we met the Adams State College Chamber Choir at the beautiful Sacred Heart Catholic Church. After some quick warm-ups and a good rehearsal of “Rest,” each choir performed one piece for the other. The two choirs very much enjoyed singing together with Dr. Beth Robison conducting; her interpretation works very well with the piece that has now been sung with many directors on this tour. The Chamber Choir, 18 voices, sang a beautiful performance of the first of Debussy’s “Trois Chansons,” while Singers performed “There Is Sweet Music.” The church has almost too live a sound with no audience present to help soak up the reverb, but it is wonderful to sing in.
We shared a pizza lunch in an adjacent building, and had some time for the choirs to mingle.
We wandered around the town for a bit before we could get into the chapel where dinner was served. The choir spread around the building sleeping, playing basketball, listening to iPods, reading, chatting on the phone, and working on this blog. The Relief Society Presidency of the Manassa Stake cooked us a wonderful meal, but they were unable to attend the performance due to previous church commitments. The choir sang “Reap What You Sow” as a thank you.
Then it was back to the Catholic church for the concert. We had a nearly full audience who were most appreciative of the concert. We had a real run on the CD table when it was over. Dr. Staheli chose repertoire carefully that would work best with these rich acoustics. He took advantage of it for the Scheidt, having the four first sopranos stand about 15 feet away from the choir; it was a most effective way to separate them into the choir one and choir two that the composer intended. That and the Sweelinck were truly meant to be sung in such a setting. The Adams State College Chamber Choir sang Clausen’s “The Tiger” and Tavener’s “The Lamb” along with the complete Debussy in the middle of the concert. Lovely singing, and a welcome break for the Singers to sit for a few minutes as there was no intermission. They came back to finish the concert, and then the two choirs joined in singing “Rest.”
Our generous host families picked everyone up after the concert, taking their Singers home for the last of our two-day stays this tour. And now we will bid you goodnight, in hopes that everyone gets some real rest tonight.