February 10-11, 2012
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square were invited to take part in Arizona's Centennial Celebration. 310 choir members, 65 orchestra members, and 40 staff members participated in this quickee tour of just two and a half days!
We flew out on three commercial flights arriving at the U.S. Airways Center at various times before noon. We were asked to "stay put" until our 3:30 sound check, so Audrey (my adorable roommate for the trip) and I walked around and around the indoor perimeter of the arena chatting merrily and looking longingly out the windows at the warm Arizona sunshine.
We watched as the arena was made ready...
... and busied ourselves as best we could as we waited patiently for our afternoon sound check.
A time-crunch necessitated a police escort to our hotel for a quick dinner and speedy check-in.
It was pretty entertaining to watch the seven policemen perform a kind of "leap frog" from intersection to intersection. They stopped traffic so our multiple buses had a clear shot from place to place through the rush-hour traffic.
They performed their duties, then parked and joined us for dinner!
After dinner, we had just enough time to locate our room, throw our bags in...
the view from our room on the ninth floor
... and re-board the buses for our evening concert. People on the streets waved to us as we passed by.
As I mentioned before, we performed at the U.S. Airways Center.
Arizona's Governor Jan Brewer's remarked, "The choir is a magical mix of voices and music bound together by abiding faith... We are especially blessed by this concert... One voice doesn't make a choir and one pioneer doesn't make a state, but together their power and beauty grow beyond our imagination," she said. "We are deeply grateful for that wonderful blessing on behalf of the state of Arizona."
Free time until dinnertime! Audrey has many relatives, on the Taylor side of course, who live nearby. Two of Matthew's aunts, his cousin, and grandparents picked us up and treated us to an amazing day.
First a trip to the Zoo.
(Just in case you are wondering why Audrey and I wore skirts to the zoo -- while we are on tour, we are to dress as missionaries with name tags and all. Besides looking "nice" I think it also helps us remember who we are, and who we are representing.)
Audrey's Aunt's Lynae and Lynn
Grandma and Grandpa Taylor
I got a kick out of this sign... Hmmm. Go figure.
I think it was nap time for the animals. How do you like this ape under his "Do It Your Self"shade?
This guy was about the only animal awake, and who know, maybe he was asleep too!
After the zoo, lunch at a nearby restaurant culminating with strawberry-topped chocolate cake served as we experienced the Salt River aboard a Pontoon Boat.
Audrey married into a wonderfully kind family!
We finished our festivities just as the Skirt Chaser 5K runners began theirs. What an amazing day!
It was back to the hotel for a rejuvenating nap and dinner -- then off to concert #2.
We flew home early Sunday morning. It was a whirlwind weekend, that's for sure, yet...
Thanks, Audrey, for being my roommie! Love you, Sweetheart!