Growing up I had always been so fortunate to live in, what I considered to be, a very beautiful place. Unfortunately, this sort of circumstance can lead us to take nature’s beauty for granted. I think that Portland may be one of those places where people are surrounded by so much exquisite nature that they may not realize all the beauty the State has to offer. So to those people, may I encourage you to take the trip that POGO took last week to Bend and Prairie City to soak up some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen. We took off last Sunday morning on a route that took us around the base of Mt Hood (US-26) and upon our return from Prairie City we made our way though the expansive landscapes of the US-395 (up to I-84) back north. WOW. While I could go on and on about the beauty of the drive alone, we had a job to do.
We spent our first few days in Bend on location at McMenamins Old St. Francis School, performing by day and taking dips in the semi-enclosed, and beautifully tiled, soaking pool by night! (and sometimes just taking a dip any chance we could get!) We all lived as roomies and neighbours as we shared 2 homes located on McMenamins property with a conveniently located quaint Irish pub literally in our backyard! (by the way, the McMenamins shows have been a blast and there is only one left! If you haven’t seen it yet, please join us at the Olympic Club this Friday!)
We visited Pine Ridge Elementary and Amity Creek School, both with the kids and grownups alike as delighted as ever. We are so lucky to do such a self-serving job.
We departed Bend and all it had to offer (including 2 AWESOME candy stores, which could have done some serious damage to my per diem) on Wednesday as we headed off to our hotel in John Day. We had a nice easy day that day due to some scheduling changes, and bonded as a group over a bit of dinner at The Outpost including a piece of coconut cream pie and ice cream. We finished the evening by attending a private screening of The Room in David’s room. This film has certainly given us lots to laugh about in these following days!
The next day, we did two shows at Prairie City School for the Panthers and Seneca school, who were bussed in to Prairie City School and certainly dressed to impress! We got a great response and lots of excellent questions. I must say I always enjoy a Q&A after the shows while their little minds are still reeling from what just happened. We like to dine where the locals recommend, so Chuck’s was the place for lunch between shows. Now, I come from a town that boasts of “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”, The Calgary Stampede, and we get some pretty good eats on the midway, but I have NEVER seen a corn dog this big in my life! It caught the eyes of some of our cast and it was a must try. The food was great, as was the service. We felt right at home.
That afternoon we began our long trek home, and in order for me to not babble on about the incredible scenery one more time, I will just say we stopped in at Archie’s in Pilot Rock for a great sit down dinner and a much needed break in the middle of our drive, which began at 2:45 and ended at Portland Opera offices at 11pm. I think we were all getting a little punchy at the end of that one so it was home to bed for a much needed rest. One week to go. Where is that soaking pool when I need it?!
Soprano, Portland Opera To Go