Spring Break – that quintessential college experience where you get away from school for a whole week and party it up in the Caribbean, or someplace similarly exotic. Right? Wrong. Well, sort of. For my spring break, I definitely got awake from school for a week, but I didn’t really do any partying, and I guess San Francisco is sort of exotic? But I had a great time nonetheless.
I left on Saturday at 7:30 am with the College of Idaho Chamber Singers to go on tour in San Francisco for five days. The 10 hour bus ride was long, and though we amused ourselves in many ways, our director had a strict “no singing in the car” rule (though he was constantly humming and whistling while he was driving). We got to our hotel with little time to spare, as we had about 15 minutes to change into nice clothes and head out to a concert by the San Francisco Choral Artists. We were all exhausted, but were forbidden from falling asleep, and let me tell you, staying awake was worth it. The concert was amazing, and they sang all sorts of cool songs, including one that was comprised of hilarious epitaphs.
The next day after a well-deserved morning of sleeping in, we headed out to Occasio Winery to sing for an alumni event. We got a private tour of the winery, and it was really neat to talk to some of the alumni who lived in California. I heard stories of their time on choir tour many years ago, as well as the old student union in the basement of Finney and how McCain used to be the gym. Later that night, we had a public concert at a church, and though there were only eleven people in attendance, it still went really well.
The next day we did some performing and outreach at Monte Vista High School. It was so much fun to sing for them, and then hear them sing, and let me tell you, they were really good. We talked up the College of Idaho, and hopefully we’ll see some future Yotes from Monte Vista!
We ate lunch that day at a super cool restaurant called Chow, and besides having delicious food, it was all local and organic, plus they had a tree growing in the middle of the restaurant! We upped our tree game that afternoon when we went to the Redwood State Park to see the famous giant redwoods. Finally, as a great end to the day, we went to Santa Cruz boardwalk for the evening. We dipped our toes in the ocean (some of us accidentally got a lot more than our toes wet), collected shells, watched the sea otters out in the bay, ate delicious pizza, played pirate-themed mini golf, and ate ice cream on the beach at night.
The next day included one activity that I was most excited for – the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It definitely lived up to the hype; we got to see so many cool animals and fish. Plus it was a huge aquarium. One of the cooler things was that they had a deck you could go out on and watch through binoculars the sea life in the bay – including more sea otters, and dolphins! So we got to see the rescued wildlife in the aquarium up close, as well as the wild animals out in the bay.
That night we drove into San Francisco and got to spend the evening enjoying the city. We had some trouble navigating the bus system, but we eventually made it to Chinatown where we did some shopping, and then went down to the famous Fisherman’s Wharf. There we enjoyed delicious (and famous!) sourdough bread bowls at Boudin Bakery, as well as some fun shopping.
The next morning we were up early to head to Alcatraz! One of the funniest parts was that wae all had to wear nice clothes because we were performing later, and had no time to change, so we were definitely the best-dressed people at Alcatraz. We couldn’t have asked for better weather as it was perfect and sunny, and it was very interesting to hear about the history of the island and see all the old buildings. From then on, we were on a tight schedule, eating lunch in the car and heading out to do outreach at a community college. It was great to sing for the community college, and hear their choirs as well, and once again, hopefully we will see some future Yotes transferring!
Finally, to wrap up tour, we ate at a nice Italian restaurant in downtown San Francisco (after a small mishap because our giant vans wouldn’t fit in the parking garage). Then we walked down to hear the San Francisco Symphony play Bruckner’s 8th Symphony. It was amazing, plus we got the best seats in the house, sitting directly behind the stage where the orchestra was sitting, so we could see all the players as well as the conductor.
All in all, Choir Tour was a great experience, and I definitely had a successful Spring Break!