We breakfasted at the hotel before setting off for Newport Beach Pier, about 10 miles from our hotel. I had figured beach time would be popular with the kids, and I was right. Sundresses and shorts were donned, and off we went. The pier itself doesn't have much on it, but nearby are some fun, touristy shops, and the weather was perfect for playing in the surf. There were surfers everywhere (my more boy-crazy students were very, very pleased).
I wandered around in a sundress, hunting down tea, enjoying some ocean views, popping into a couple of shops for post cards and a t-shirt. I kept an eye on the beach to make sure my kids were safe, made a quick call to Mom to chat. It was a gorgeous morning, and I had my camera out.
We left to go back to the hotel for an hour-and-a-half. The girls had begged me to give them enough time to get ready for their performance, so I had put this time in our itinerary so they could curl/straighten hair, do their make-up, and get cleaned up from the beach.
For me, it was a lovely hour of playing on my laptop before getting dressed and gearing up to man-handle The Burb (as I was coming to think of it) to Fullerton College for our performance. Turns out, I would need it.
If you know me well, you know I have a propensity for getting lost. I'm directionally challenged, if you will. And it doesn't help when Google Maps (on my phone) give me bad directions to Fullerton College and I drive around in circles with no clue where I am supposed to go, and a carload of teenagers in choir dresses. I finally found some street parking and we hoofed it half a mile in heels to the music building, where we found absolutely no signs or other helpful indicators of where we were supposed to go.
I finally asked another school group if they had any idea, and they were going the same way we were. I went to check in my group, only to be asked about three times, "Wait, what school are you again?!"
"Large Suburban High School..." I replied, three times, increasingly frustrated, and sensing that the teens behind me were feeling similar. Hiking in heels, while wearing all black on a warm day will do that.
Finally, we found our way to the warm-up room (there were no signs, and runners could be hard to find), where I switched into Music Teacher mode. In front of me were 16 tired, sweating, frustrated teenagers, but fortunately for them, I had a plan.
Putting on my calmest voice, I started them off with deep breaths, feeling the air expand their lungs and rib cages. Then we moved into my pre-planned warm-ups, all warm-up exercises the kids love to do in class. The whole time, I kept my voice low volume, low pitched, and calm, and gradually, I saw shoulders relax and faces brighten.
Finally, it was time to perform. The kids were marvelous! I was so proud of them, and their calmness on stage despite the fact that we were all very nervous. Our three-song set flew by, and before we knew it, one of the adjudicators was on stage giving us some feedback, which was really, really great. He had some fantastic ideas, and I know I'll take them back into my classroom.
We were all excited to get out of our concert get-ups. One of the chaperons moved his car, and I hiked off to get The Burb, so that all three cars would be in the same place before we set off to Disneyland.
Disneyland deserves its own post. ;)