Thursday saw the 25-person NCCO tour party board a plane at SFO airport, embarking on our longest tour to date!
The story starts, however, not with our first concert, but in Las Vegas. While on some details we’ll hold to the pledge that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”, some things are too interesting – or odd – not to share.
The group emerged from the plane and, somewhat predictably, some headed for the slots (purported to have the best odds of any in Las Vegas, though our mileage varied!) Others were spotted at a bar… dispensing Oxygen.
6 hours and another flight later, we arrived in Louisville, where our bus awaited us. It cannot be said that we won’t stand out traveling throughout the south in a bright yellow bus with the word “Yankee” on the side….
An hour ride brought us to Lexington, where we would be based for the first day of our tour.
The following day allowed for a bit of exploration of downtown Lexington, and the confirmation that conversations about horses and bourbon are the perfect ice-breakers with local residents. After a few naps, production meetings, and a bit of shopping, we made the hour drive to the Norton Center for the Arts at Centre College in Danville, KY, host of our first concert.
You may recognize the stage at the top – it played host to the 2012 vice-presidential debate.
After a brisk soundcheck and a great meal (with thanks to the fantastic staff at Centre) the Orchestra took the stage to a respectable and very appreciative audience. While the view of the stage from the audience is well known, this is what those running the production from backstage see.
After 2 encores and an audience on their feet, we made our way back to the bus, where 2 cases of beer and maybe a bit of local bourbon awaited us. It was a treat to see Peter McHugh – a former NCCO member – backstage waiting to greet us, along with beloved board members John and Paula Gambs.
Thank you, Danville, for a wonderful first concert!
We’re now en route to Sewanee, TN and another concert at one of the South’s leading institutions of higher learning. If our experience at Centre was any indication, we’ll be in good hands.