Tour Blog

Our intrepid team chronicles the plight of our brave choir boys as they travel hither and yon experiencing life on the road – and having a blast!

Day 5: Trigger, Bucko or Bucky?

Good evening all you super fans out there in the blog-o-sphere! The boys are all checked into their hotel rooms for the evening after a busy day of sight-seeing, traveling, eating and swimming. This morning the boys all gathered from their host homes around 8:00. We took some time to load the bag lunches, print off some “mail” and then board the bus. As we were ready to leave, our wonderful accompanist was busy talking to some friends of his parents so we decided to scare him a bit by starting to drive away. He hustled to the bus and his mom, Paulette, got quite a chuckle out of it. Off to Denver we went.

We arrived at Mile High Stadium around 10:30 a.m. and started our tour. We visited a special box seated area where we learned that to rent this space you had to pay for 5, 7 or 9 seasons at $300,000 per season and that didn’t include food. A single pizza costs $70!!! That had better be one very special pizza, if you ask me. We learned about the special turf that was placed on the field and about the Rocky Mountain Thunder, where the fans would stomp their feet to create a booming sound to distract or interfere with the opposing team. We, later in the tour, learned about the various signs posted all as ways to play psychological games with the opposing teams. Signs like – WARNING ALTITUDE SICKNESS or YOU ARE NOW 5,280 FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL – these are all placed strategically so the opposing team is confronted with this around every corner they have to walk.

Our tour guide told us about the owners suite. We couldn’t see it, but apparently it is pretty amazing inside. We also saw things like: the press box, the broadcasters’ booth and finally made our way down to the field. We also learned about were the statue of the Bronco comes from. It is a replica of Trigger, Roy Rogers’ horse. However, they were not allowed to name it Trigger so the first called it Bucky and now call it Bucko. Apparently the fans are not thrilled!

Around 1:00 the boys invaded the gifts store. Interestingly, they didn’t have a Minnesota Vikings section nor a Chicago Bears Section…hmmm. The boys climbed on the bus after offering their financial support to the Denver Broncos and we were off for a drive through the Rockies. Today’s movie choice was, School of Rock, one of the tour favorites. We were able to see some amazing scenery as Charlie set the cruise through the mountains.

We landed in Grand Junction around 6:00 p.m. The boys made it to their rooms to drop of their luggage and then we headed to dinner at the Golden Corral. One of the tables, made up of Tristan S., Aiden, Sam A., Reece, Jake and Louis managed to drink one glass of pop for each of the choirboys. So, that’s 25 glasses of pop between the six of them. They are quite proud of this! The boys hit the desert bar and completed the evening meal with chocolate fondue with strawberries or marshmallows, ice cream, cake, cookies and so much more.

Back to the hotel we went were the prefects gave the boys some time to let their dinner settle before hitting the pool.

Is that a ghost in the last photo? No, that’s my exceptional photography skills! After some water time the boys retired to their rooms for the evening. Tomorrow we will get up and have breakfast together before heading to Bryce Canyon for two days.

Oh, Jake and Sam just air dropped me their latest episode…enjoy!

 

To be continued…

Day 4: Hiking, Camels and Chapels

It was a great morning! We got to sleep in until 7:00 a.m. They boys reassembled at Mountain View Methodist Church in Woodland, Colorado to begin their day. Some of our host dads met us and served as guides for our hike up into Pike National Forest. The hike was not too strenuous, but served as a great way to burn off some energy and some calories – uffda! The skies were slight hazy due to some forest fires here in Colorado. The boys were definitely noticing the thinner air. One boy even commented, “Where’s the air?” The boys were well-hydrated all day today and had a great adventure hiking their way into the forest and back.

As we were coming down from our hike we encounter a group of fellow hikers. They were asking the boys questions about who they were and what they were doing. The hikers request a song and, of course, we obliged.

 

Upon the completion of our decent, we boarded the bus and head back to the church for lunch.

Following lunch, we had a uniform check. This is when the boys bring in their garment bags to have them checked for the proper hanging of their concert uniform. The check did not take too long, so one is to assume they are doing a good job of caring for their concert uniforms. Once their uniform was checked they had free time. Some boys hit the playing field while others played some games on the bus.

We then boarded the trusty bus again and headed out to the Garden of the Gods. On our way, we stopped to fuel the bus – only 139 gallons this time! That gives us about 4.6 MPG coming across Kansas. If you’d like to contribute to the fuel fund…just kidding. But, seriously, during this stop I took some time to interview John, our last of the three first-year tour boys.

The Garden of the Gods is a beautiful place! And, thanks to alum, Chris Hess’ trivia, we now know there are 336 parking spaces. Stewart lead the boys on a short hike where they saw some amazing natural structures, including the kissing camels. We really confused Thomas with this one. After he realized the kissing camels were a rock formation he told us, “you need to clarify that these are rock camels and not real camels. I’ve been looking for real camels!”

After a brief visit we, once again, boarded the bus to head to the United States Air Force Academy. The short, 30-minute drive, brought us to the North Gate and then to the Barry Goldwater Visitors Center. The boys went directly to the store to spend some money. After hat pins, coffee mugs, hats and more, we walked the paved trail to the glorious Cadet Chapel. This chapel is the most visited man-made tourist attraction in Colorado and you can see why…

Choirs are not allowed to sing in the Cadet Chapel, but we could only imagine how wonderful it must sound.

With growling tummies, we boarded the bus and headed to our first restaurant of tour – Cracker Barrel. This has become one of the favorite places to eat for our choirboys. They especially like to get Stewart’s Root Beer! We like taking the boys there because there seem to be more healthy food options for them.

With full tummies, now, we headed back to the church in Woodland Park to…one second…just got and email…”Your choir performed at our church last night, and it was incredible! You all can be so proud of what you are doing! Hope the boys had a good time relaxing and having fun today. Sure hope you make a return trip to Woodland Park in the future.” WOW! Thank you for that email, Rusty! Folks, we hear this so much when we are on tour. All of our parents should be very proud of what their sons are doing! These are some pretty EXTRAORDINARY boys!

We arrived back to meet our host families around 7:30. The boys are now “home” and spending time with their hosts. Tristan and Louis were the last to leave. A deer was grazing in the field so they found an apple and tried to get the deer to eat it. It was pretty cool to watch as the deer are so tame here.

That’s all for tonight. Doesn’t look like there is an episode of Jake and Sam’s Vlog. Oh, wait, what’s this in my messages…Episode 3 just came in. Hold on folks, this is riveting vlogging…

To be continued…

Day 3: We Aren’t in Kansas City Anymore

Today, we find our super singers rising early, early in the morning. Many of the boys were treated to breakfast at McDonald’s (I mean who even cooks this early in the morning) and arrived at the KCBC Headquarters ready to load the bus and go back to sleep. Actually, the boy were really awake this morning. They were very gracious to their hosts for all they did for them. One group of boys helped take out the trash at their host’s home. Way to lend a hand, gentlemen!

Mr. Robinson and the KCBC Family welcomed us with open arms and treated the boys like kings. There are many similarities between our organizations and we hope they can be our guests soon!

After loading the lunches, lots of chips, juice boxes, slim jims and more, we hit the road ahead of schedule. We did have to make a stop to get the staff some breakfast and COFFEE! Finally, we hit the road and set the cruise control to surf upon the amber waves of grain across Kansas.

We hit a rest stop for a quick break, but were back on the road in not time. The boys got to choose a movie to watch. Their choices were: Nacho Libre, How to Train Your Dragon, Nacho Libre, Happy Feet, Percy Jackson, or Nacho Libre. To much relief, they did not choose Nacho Libre (one of Stewart’s faves). They choose Percy Jackson! For the next hour and a half the bus was calm with a  quiet murmur as they enjoyed the entertainment.

 

We stopped for lunch at another rest stop and enjoyed the goodies from the KCBC. It was a bit windy so there was some dashing and diving to save their wrappers and things from blowing away. They boys are doing an outstanding job of remember napkins on their laps, by the way. They are making Tristan, Camden and Stewart proud!

 

Back on the bus we went and down for rest period. For those of you who don’t know, the boys have a rest period every day on tour so they can be well-rested when we arrive at a destination. They are able to listen to their music through their headphones, but their eyes are to be closed. That certainly wasn’t an issue today. After about two hours we woke the boys for another rest stop and were now just short 35 miles to Woodland Park. We could see the mountains in the distance.

 

We arrived early for our stop at Mountain View Methodist Church in Woodland, Colorado. Charlie kept the bus cruising down the interstate to get us to the church on time. Tristan S. and Luke met our contact and learned all what needed to be done to prepare for our concert. The Head Chorister and Assistant Head Chorister always go into the venue with me to find out if we need risers, a keyboard, where the dressing room and bathrooms are and other important information they need to convey to the other choirboys. They then return to the bus and instruct the choirboys on what they need to do. Then, things move into action!

 

We had a little time before dinner to work on a few logistics and some spots in our music that need some attention. After that, we were off to the social hall for sloppy joes, french fries, vegetables and lemonade. With full tummies, we return to the church for some additional rehearsal before we changed for the concert.

 

Our audience was very receptive. After singing Psalm 8, one of our favorites, you could hear the gasps from the audience. After the final chord, they erupted into applause! We continued on with the program as the audience continued to be awe-struck by the sounds of the choir. The was one young gentlemen in the audience. We chatted a-bit and then he was invited to director the choir for one of their songs. Alec did a wonderful job!

One audience member approached me and said she was so impressed at how focused the boys are when they are performing. Others were very impressed the LOLCB teaches more than just music. We had several relatives present this evening so it was nice to see the boys connect with people from their families.

Following the concert, the boys were treated to ice cream and cookies. They were then introduced to their host families and off they went. Tomorrow we have a day of hiking and sight-seeing. Here’s hoping they get some rest tonight so we can enjoy our time together tomorrow.

We are very thankful to those of you who are commented on here for the boys. They appreciate your support and knowing they have a fan club following their blog. Keep spreading the word!

 

For you fans of the Jake and Sam Vlog series. Here is the newest episode. Riveting, I tell you!

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Day 2: Mr. KCBC

Good evening, all you avid followers of the LOLCB! We are so happy you are following our journey during these next several days. The boys love hearing your comments and finding out how many shares and views they are getting!

Today was a GREAT day! The drive was a pretty typical one for our travelers and who doesn’t love having ice cream for breakfast? Unfortunately, all the preparation our head chorister, Tristan, was doing to inhale the great Goliath at the Wells Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor was for naught. The worker at the parlor said they had to discontinue it because too many people were getting sick. WHAT???? So, the boys each inhaled their ice cream and cones (some even wore a bit on their face and nose), we did a little shopping and were back on the bus to travel toward Kansas City.

Archie S. was our Officer of the Day. This honorary officer position gives boys the chance to set the tone for the day. Archie offered a weather report, gave us the word(s) of the day: Code Red, and some words of wisdom, “don’t talk so much so we don’t have code red.” He then selected the song of the day, “Generations” by The Who.

Luke offered the Joke of the Day – What do you call an alligator with GPS? A Navi-gator. In addition to this wonderful moment each day, alum, Chris Hess, sends the boys a voice message where he asks a trivia question. The boys then get a chance to guess the answer. It was something Chris had been doing when he was a choirboy. It’s great to have an alum staying so connected to tour. Other alums are welcome to send any kind of note to the boys. You can email us at mail@lolcb.org.

After more code green we continued our journey crossing into the State of Missouri. We arrived at the Kansas City Boys’ Choir headquarters and met their director Mr. Ah’lee Robinson. The KCBC has really extended some wonderful hospitality. We are very gracious for their work in preparing for the boys to arrive. We spent some time hanging out, watching some YouTube videos of the KCBC and some of our own YouTube videos. Speaking of YouTube videos, here is Jake and Sam’s Vlog post for today…

Dinner was KC BBQ, baked beans, cake and cookies. We then headed to Unity Temple Church to prepare for our concert. Tonight we shared the stage with the wonderful boys of the Kansas City Boys’ Choir.

Following the concert we shared with each other different things about our programs – the similarity and the difference. We are hoping some day soon the KCBC will come visit us in Minnesota. The KCBC are amazing and are very good ambassadors for their program and their community. The LOLCB is proud to share in this friendship.

 

Lastly, here is our interview with Eddie, another first year tour choirboy.


Tomorrow the boys are up and to the bus by 6:00 a.m. We have a very long drive from KC to Woodland Park, CO (who plans these things). This blogger needs to get to bed so he can get up and be ready in a few hours.

 

We’d love to hear from you! Post a reply, a note to the boys or post on our Facebook Page.

 

To be continued…

Day 1: Not as Much Work as I Thought…

This morning we blasted off on the 2018 Western Lights Tour! The boys arrived in good spirits with anxiousness and excitement to start their annual tour to share their gifts, grow as young gentlemen and have a great time with their friends.With one last family breakfast the boys finished loading the bus, took a few photos and boarded the fresh smelling (it’s just day 1) bus ready to hit the road to the hometown of our artistic director, LeMars, IA – the Ice Cream Capital of the World – more on that tomorrow.

 

Stewart started us off with the first talk of the day. Reminding the boys why they are on tour, some of the rules of the bus and how the most important person to keep happy is our amazing bus driver, Charlie! We are forever grateful to have Charlie with us again this year. This is his fourth tour driving the bus, keeping us safe and delivering us from one venue to the next.

 

The boys were ready for some code green so they could break out their games and start the tour competitions. It is amazing to listen to their detailed description of the game they are playing and even more amazing that the others seem to know exactly what they are talking about. To me it’s like listening to a foreign language!

After some code green, Luke asked for the microphone to address the choirboys. He present the Joke of the Day: How does Moses make tea? Hebrews. He also got some moans and groans for that joke.

Today’s question of the day was, why do you like tour?

Sam G. says because it is fun and you get to sing.

Henry B. says because it’s a great experience and people we meet are able to enjoy our music.

Louis and Cole say it’s because you get to spend a lot of time with friends.

We ran into some wind and rain near St. James, but decided to stop at the Watonwan Rest area to fill our tummies with delicious bag lunches. The boys rehearsed a bit in a picnic shelter area and few passers-by stopped to enjoy the music. After lunch it was time for rest period. As is typical, the first rest period is not very restful. There is just too much excitement about tour! This will change as the days pass. Soon they will be asking when they can sleep!

Throughout the day, Jake and Sam A. began work on their soon to be released, almost daily, video blog or Vlog. Here is the trailer…

We made one more stop before arriving in LeMars. I took the opportunity to interview one of our first-year tour choirboys, Joshua Mlodzik.

 

Finally, we arrived at St. Joseph Church in LeMars, IA. We arrived early and took advantage of some rehearsal time. The boys enjoyed a dinner of taverns (it’s what they call sloppy joes in Iowa), beans, chips, fruit and a beverage. One of the volunteers, Kim, approached me and commented on how amazingly polite the boys were. She’d never heard so many “please’s” and “thank you’s”! Way to go gentlemen.

The boys really sounded nice in an acoustically friendly space. I heard many comments throughout the concert about how amazingly beautiful they sounded. The crowd was impressed enough to offer a standing ovation at the conclusion of the program. BRAVO!

 

Tomorrow it is ice cream for breakfast!!!

Have a wonderful evening! We will chat again tomorrow.

 

To be continued…

 

 

 

Western Lights Tour – Preparing to Launch!

Pre-Launch

Starting the tour soon!

This is just a test to see if the blog is ready for blast off for this year’s “Western Lights Tour”! Help us count down the days until the Concert Choir blasts off on tour. #lolcbwesternlightstour