By Linda Parker
Special to The PREVIEW
This summer’s Pagosa Springs Girls Choir (PSGC) educational trip was four days of mountain-top experiences. Investigating arts, culture and entertainment opportunities in southwest Colorado gave the girls a small glimpse of their own backyard. Even though it was labeled a “trip,” the girls had an extraordinary time right here at home.
Pagosa’s motto of “the best kept secret in Colorado” certainly proved true as the girls climbed at Chimney Rock and learned about what the Pagosa area once was. Tour guide Mary Rose brought ancient civilization to life as she explained the culture of the Native Americans. Even though most of the girls had visited the historical site as part of their school curriculum, Rose imparted her knowledge in depth and detail so that the girls felt that they were part of the villages that once were settled at Chimney Rock. Girls and chaperones scaled the area eagerly (well except for stopping to breathe occasionally) and took in the beautiful scenery as they made their way to the top. Being asked to sing, the girls happily shared their song, “My America,” taking in the breathtaking views.
A picnic lunch followed by a trip to Durango to fest on barbeque, potatoes, beans and desserts, and settle in as the Bar D Wranglers treated all to their harmonies, singing western music and giving an insight into the Cowboy Code.
The girls were able to visit a chocolate company in Durango, learning about many details of chocolate. More information than we imagined was shared by owner Carlie, who also gave the girls samples of each kind of chocolate she explained. The day culminated with a soak in the deepest hot springs in the country.
One of our days began with breakfast together, then a morning workshop at an art studio. Each girl was given a mug to paint in her own style, using her imagination to make a unique creation. Susan Martin instructed the girls on different paint techniques, the differences in brushes, and she helped the girls every step of the way. Leaving the mugs behind to be fired, the girls were off for lunch and a round of mini golf.
Another mountaintop experience for the girls was their attendance at the Mountain Light Music Festival. With Pagosa’s beautiful mountains in the background, the girls enjoyed not only the Baylor Brass but also the Baylor students in a stellar performance. The girls got an up-close example of antiphonal music as the musicians divided and played a brass work by Gabrielli. Hearing the music echo in the distance as it rang through the mountains was truly a mountaintop experience.
The last day of this year’s educational trip began with a ride on the Cumbres-Toltec train. This was an experience many of the girls had never enjoyed, and they learned a great deal about transportation in days gone by. A trail ride at the wildlife park included a surprise for all: a drenching from a short rainstorm on their ride. Wet and smiling, the girls changed clothes to get ready to attend a theater performance. “Mamma Mia,” at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, was the perfect ending of our few days together. It was a stunning performance, and the girls were mesmerized with the singing, the dancing and the costumes.
Linda Parker, director, said, “I am so very grateful that we were able to give the girls this opportunity. It was very rewarding to me to see them soak in all that was available, to take in every sight and sound. This was a wonderful ending to our year. Even though we didn’t travel miles away, the girls learned that there are many wonderful opportunities right here in our own backyard.”
The PSGC would like to gratefully acknowledge the members of the PSGC Board of Directors who worked earnestly to make this trip become a reality: Holly Blackman, president; Robin Kautz, secretary; Jane Baker, treasurer; and directors Carol Ashmore, Manon Schjolin and Rachel Hellwege-Vaughan. Every place attended, the girls were complimented on their demeanor and behavior. They represented Pagosa in an exemplary way. The PSGC would like to thank you our supporters who believe in what we are doing and are making a difference in the life of every one of our girls.