The drive up from Chico, Calif., offered breathtaking views of majestic mountains, fall foliage and bodies of water so still they looked like glass. The location of our lunch stop had Shasta Mountain as a backdrop. Many band members snapped photos of this snow capped mountain before grabbing a bite to eat. Once we crossed into Oregon, the scenery got even better. One member commented, "Oh, here's fall. Hello." We had been spoiled by the warm temperatures during the first half of the tour. Jackets, two! Grants Pass was a tad bit chilly.
During set up, Musician 1st Class Jen Krupa could be heard singing in her best operatic voice, "The hills are alive with the sound of music." I suppose she was inspired by the set from the show that opened there on November 3. We played to a full house! The crowd was warm and enthusiastic. Fingers snapped and toes tapped during our big band medley, "Dukes, Counts and Kings." Always a crowd pleaser.
There were two special people that I met after the show. The first was nine year old Jasmine Roberts. She plays clarinet at Fruitdale Elementary school and she loves to sing. When I asked her if she was thinking about joining the Navy when she was bigger she said, "Yes!" Then I asked her if she would stay for 20 years... she said, "mayyyybee." Adorable. The next person I met was retired Master Chief Musician Gordon Finlay. He was a piano player in the Navy and came through the ranks with our very own Capt. Brian Walden. When I asked him if he had any good sea stories or "secrets" to share, he shook his head and said, "No. But, I can honestly say that he is the best officer that I have ever worked for."
Another swinging night of music and another good showing for the Navy!
Chief Musician Yolanda Pelzer is the vocalist in the Commodores.