Dru Rutledge here. Or you might know me better as the 2nd Lady or Papagena.
Let me tell you a story. A story about a fearless cast and their fearless leader (you can call her Alexis) who traversed the great lands of Oregon — crossing the beautiful Blue Mountains to meet some very tiny Astronauts, through the wonderful Wallowa Mountain range where they appeared to only be 'Halfway' there, and to the bustling hallways of the music school at Eastern Oregon University. Maybe first, I should explain in greater detail...
Monday, your band of misfits — Samm, David, Stacey, Ainsley, Ksenia, Dru (that's me), Claudia, Anthony and Kevin woke early to assemble at the Hampton Opera Center. After some much needed fuel for both the van and the pianist, we headed towards Pilot Rock Elementary. While we experienced a small detour on the way (due to a dragon slain in the middle of the road or something) we arrived in plenty of time for our first of two performances. Welcomed by a live gym and great playing stage, we performed first for the Pilot Rock Astronauts and then for two different schools who had done quite a bit of traveling of their own. We were told by the custodian that the two small but mighty schools had driven 60 minutes one-way to see The Magic Flute! After an insightful Q&A session POGO headed for the mythical land of La Grande!
Tuesday proved to be a very busy and fulfilling day. Right off the bat, members of The Magic Flute jumped into lesson-teaching, duet-staging, French diction and Musical Theatre masterclassing, Pagliacci-learning and — oh, I guess David might have played the piano a bit too.
Wednesday we packed up and drove through the gorgeous Wallowa Mountains to arrive at Halfway Oregon. Not only did we perform for a great bunch of kids, but we were told that the entire town was invited! And although the scenery of Eastern Oregon was absolutely breathtaking, 'The Room' was our main topic for the day, as Wednesday was movie night. Now, for those of you who have never experienced the movie 'The Room,' be warned...if you watch it, your life will never be the same. (And I don't mean that in a good way).
Thursday proved to be another successful day up at the music school at Eastern Oregon University as some of the POGOer's held masterclasses in creating lesson plans, marketing/audition skills, and music theatre styles while others prepared for the big Friday night concert.
For most of us, Friday day was pretty low-key. However, David and Alexis had their hands full (literally, har har) working on the finishing touches for the evening's concert. And what a turn out! The United Methodist Church that hosted the concert was packed on the floor as well as in the balcony. It was really great to see all of the community members come out to support their Eastern Oregon University family! And why wouldn't they? Jamie Jacobson, the EOU vocal instructor and Portland Opera contact does an amazing job at supporting the music and theatre programs! Brava to her, her fellow instructors and Mio — pianist extraordinaire for all of the amazing support and enthusiasm.
While week 6 was a bit different than most weeks, I believe it was very successful! I am so happy to have gotten to visit Jamie and the students at EOU again this year and wish them all the best in having music in their lives!
— Dru Rutledge