Wednesday, July 6, 2016

4th of July Weekend

Saturday morning all of us, including the houseguests, went to Main Street Bakery downtown for breakfast.  This is one of the iconic breakfast places in Aspen and we have always enjoyed gong here--they make a mean veggie/tofu scramble, along with wonderful homemade biscuits and jams.  Lots of fun!  After that we went to the Saturday market, a combination farmers market and crafts fair.  It was wonderful to see so many folks out having so much fun, including lots of families with small children.  We also found lots of wonderful farm fresh veggies, especially some lovely kale and other greens!

After the market we went to hear one of the opera singers staying at the house do a masters class--throughout the summer the music festival and school has a series of masters classes open to the public and it's really a fascinating look into the process of how singers are trained.  Both Alex and Jonathan are singers, though Jonathan is here as a pianist this season--he was the accompanist for all the singers on this Saturday.  Alex and one other singer performed a scene from Sondheim's Into The Woods, where they are each playing the Prince Charming to Cinderella and Repunzel.  First they did the whole scene, then the director came out on stage and gave them critiques, going through each segment of the scene, telling them what they needed to do differently and then had them run through it repeatedly until they got it the way he wanted it.  It was really interesting to watch the whole process, and to talk with Alex and Jonathan afterwards about how challenging it was to follow the direction, and to remember what came next as they were redoing each segment--several verses started with the same "Agony" line, so they had to be sure they were on the right verse and remember what came next, both in the singing and the acting gestures the director wanted.  Really a wonderful experience for us to see!

That evening we went to see Smokey Robinson in the Music Tent--at 76 he's still going strong!  While his voice may not be quite as strong as it once was and some of his moves have clearly been modified to make it a bit easier, he still gave a dynamite performance.  We especially enjoyed all the anecdotes he told, describing the details of how he helped found Motown Records and all the artists for whom he wrote songs through that era.  Everyone was having a wonderful time, singing along with all his great hits, dancing in the aisles--just a fabulous evening!

Sunday we did another hike on the Hunter Creek/Smuggler Mountain trail, adding yet another loop to put some more distance in our training.  It was a great hike, and the section we added took us through a gorgeous meadow, by some old cabins and beautiful scenery.  Just another great hike!

Sunday also marked the beginning of the Music Festival and School's series of Sunday afternoon concerts, and, as part of our Christmas present, Shelley and Ken treated us to a remarkable performance.  The festival and school symphony orchestra was conducted by Robert Spano and the featured artist was Renee Fleming, the amazing opera soprano.  When the Festival and School's president was introducing the program he pointed out that many of the musicians in the orchestra were students this season, and that Fleming had also once been a student here--so that was really meaningful, especially to Alex and Jonathan.  She gave an amazing performance in two sections, one of very serious music and a second with some lighter pieces, including some show tunes, including having the audience sing along when she did I Could Have Danced All Night from My Fair Lady.  What a special treat for us!

Monday was the annual 4th of July parade, which is an eclectic mix of area fire trucks loaded down with kids throwing candy and dousing the crowd with water guns, local businesses with their floats, hiking clubs, etc., everyone just having a rousing good time.  When we first visited Ken's parents here in 2011, Ken's dad asked me to march with the veterans' contingent, a tradition here for some years.  All the vets march in sections, according to the era of their service and many folks carry signs with their unit designations.  Ken's dad is a WWII vet so for the first couple of years we came out he marched along with an increasingly smaller group of those vets, and I marched with the Viet Nam Era vets.  It's a great tradition, and really meaningful--everyone is cheering and lots of folks run out to thank you for your service.  The last year Ken's parents lived here, 2013, his dad had suffered a hip injury, so he couldn't actually march, but Ken was able to drive him in the car, while his dad held up his sign through the sunroof!  This year I dedicated my marching in the parade to the memory of my father, a Marine in WWII, to Trisha's father, a Navy veteran of the Korean War, and to honor Ken.  I made a T-shirt that said "Yes, even Santa was in the Army," and had a lot of fun with that!  Later in the afternoon we went to the annual symphony concert of patriotic music, where the crowd favorite is a medley of all the songs of the 5 branches of the armed services with those who served in each branch standing when their song is played--a lot of fun!  We had a late dinner and watched the fireworks on the mountain from the deck at the house--a wonderful way to top off the July 4th weekend!

Just leaving the Saturday market
 Some beautiful flowers on our Sunday hike
 Looking down on some horses from one of the places that do rides

 Encountered some folks with this cute golden doodle puppy--full of energy and he and Davi played for a while before we started up again

 Love the blues!

 There were quite a few other folks on the trail as well
 Trisha, Shelley and Davi--all great hikers!

 The different colors of the wildflowers didn't show up too well in this pic, but they were really beautiful
 And the views of snow capped mountains are never far away!
 Loved the yellow flowers!

 Some of the old cabins

 Crossing back over Hunter Creek, on the way to Smuggler

 If you look closely a the two aspens in the middle you can see where someone made a heart, and those are prayer cards hanging in the background
 Neat old cabin!
 Trisha always loves doorways!!

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