“Beautiful doesn’t begin to describe it. A flower is beautiful. But this is beautiful the way that a person is beautiful- terrifying with its jagged edges, yet seductive with its crevices that hide so many secrets.”
~ Jeri Smith-Ready, speaking of the Grand Canyon
We had an amazing day experiencing this true wonder of the American West. After a couple of hours on the bus, we arrived at the visitors center to watch a short introductory film about the canyon before heading over to a gorgeous lookout point. Here we took a number of group shots, both of the full festival and of our Princeton Boychoir contingent. It was a perfect introduction to this magnificent landscape. Also to the fact that there are some nutty people out there who make some strange choices (like climbing out on rocks they probably shouldn’t be climbing on – luckily none of our boys!). We also met some of the boldest squirrels we’d ever seen. They will come right up to you and stand on their back legs waiting for you to give them food, or just start digging in your bag if you’re not careful.
After our photoshoot, we went to another area of the park for our picnic lunches, which was brought to an umbrupt end by some rather ominous sounding thunder and wind. Luckily the rain only toyed with us for the afternoon, and just provided enough clouds to keep things cool and pleasant with an occasional droplet, but nothing that would actually consitute rain. That said, we were never certain enough of the weather to feel comfortable heading off on any real hikes, so instead we chose to keep close to visit several outlook points by foot and shuttle, followed by the requisite visit to the gift shop and ice cream stand. All in all, we were quite happy with our choices.
Despite loading the buses for our return on time, we somehow ended up getting back about 30 minutes after dining hall here at NAU was scheduled to close. Luckily, the festival organizers called ahead and the whole staff at the dining hall was gracious enough to stay open for us. We had a quick and tasty meal (I’ve been very impressed by the number of salads I’ve seen consumed on this trip), then walked over to the music building for an impromptu, relaxed rehearsal for PBC of our solo repertoire prior to tomorrow night’s concert. The guys sounded great and had a fun time singing together, although one of our singers was definitely ready for a nap (and somehow managed to get one WHILE singing standing up!). That’s what they get for not following Ms. Butler’s advice to rest on the bus…
Finally, we wrapped up (or should I say “roped up”) the night learning some trick roping or “lariat” from our friends at Tucson Boys Chorus. Everyone tried, with varying levels of success, and some even got pretty good at it (you might find a few more photos and videos on our SmugMug photo sharing site). Regardless of the end result, we all had a great time hanging out with the other boys, and there are certainly some great stories to be told as a result!