Saturday, November 23, 2013


My friends belong to D23, and they invited me and a couple of other friends to see a sneak peek of "Frozen" at the El Capitan Theatre yesterday.  Here's what the box seat area looked like before the show:

As with all new movies at the El Cap, we got a special show, by "Images in Ice".  I thought that it was kind of lame because the sculptures were clearly partially pre-made, as we could see the form that would come out of the ice even before they started carving.  I know that they didn't have time to make the intricate designs that they showed on the slides, but I really wasn't whelmed by the whole thing.  Yay, they're pretty girls with chainsaws who dance around and carve ice.  Whatevs.

Elsa and Anna

I was hoping that we'd get a trailer for "Maleficent", because I know that Dodie would have liked to see the one that I saw the night before, but I guess they're saving that for another time.  

The short was "Get A Horse", which we thought was going to just be a classic MIckey cartoon, but it ended up being a whole lot more, using 3D so that the characters popped out of the movie screen.  It was a lot of fun, and very clever.  Nice one, Disney!

On to the main event:

  • Kristen Bell has a lovely singing voice.  I really liked her character of Anna.
  • I couldn't make out Idina Menzel's voice...until Elsa started to sing.  Then, I thought, "If that's not Idina, then I haven't listened to 'Wicked' enough."  Turns out that I have, and it was interesting that she was playing someone with magical powers again.
  • "The cold never bothered me anyway."  Love it!
  • Sven reminded me of the reindeer that dance in the Very Merry Christmas parade at Disneyland.
  • So is the white streak in Anna's hair from when she got hit by the magic when she was a kid
  • "Oh, look, I'm impaled."
  • Love the disclaimer about boogers at the end.  Also, someone gets credit for "caffienation"?
  • The icicles hanging from the trees were amazingly beautiful.
  • "You're gorgeous." -- That's so me when I'm being an idiot in front of Pella.
  • "Watch out for my butt!"
Well, that was enjoyable! The theatre lobby was themed really well with the snowflakes everywhere.  I hope that everyone enjoys this movie as much as my friends and I did.


Photo Op with Olaf

In the display case

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Quarter Quell

After I saw the first "Hunger Games" movie, I read the trilogy.  Then I couldn't wait for the next movie installment, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire".  I told myself that this would be the one movie I'd watch at midnight on opening day.  So there I went, to the Arclight Pasadena, to sit in a crowd of Katniss fans.  Here is the display in the lobby:

The preview I was most excited about was "Malificent", but "Divergent" looks good, too.  There's another series that I need to read.  But on to the Mockingjay.

  • The story was pretty true to the book, and as usual, it didn't have enough of the details that I remember, but then the movie would be about 4 hours long.  
  • Hello, Finnick!  Sam Claflin is a cutie.
  • Oh, Effie.  It's so touching to see her get all emotional when she says that they're a team.
  • "She has her mockingjay, I have my hair..."
  • "Attitude."
  • OMG, I love Stanley Tucci.
  • My goodness, Lenny Kravitz is hella sexy.
  • I cried along with Katniss when she is in District 11.  Not as much as when I read the book, but still...Jennifer Lawrence can just wreck me sometimes.
  • How is it fair that the Hemsworth brothers can both look so ruggedly handsome?  No ugly genes in that family.
  • I think I'm Team Peeta, though.  
  • The wedding dress/mockingjay dress was very, very cool.  So were the fire outfits.  
  • Loved the scene in the elevator.
  • "Remember who the real enemy is."
That was fun.  I'm thinking that I need to take the day off when "Mockingjay" comes out, to make it a triple feature.

The Book of John

Rockapella in Santa Clarrrrrita
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons
Santa Clarita, CA

Another night of giggling myself to sleep, then giggling myself awake.  I really am impossible to live with these days.  Wendy, Jeff, Ntick and Cindy arrived at my house and I made sure to get their signatures in the goodbye book that I made for John.  Nick followed in his car and we drove to Santa Clarita.  KP was already there with Wanda before we even left the house, so by the time we arrived at the college, the two of them had already spotted 5 of the guys we were there to see.  It was chilly outside, so we hung out in the lobby while I waited for Liz, June, and Dene to arrive so that I could give them their tickets.  One of the ushers kept asking everyone who entered, "Do you like Rockapella?"  Um, no, I'm only here for the cookies, like the Snickerdoodle that I bought.  I think the appropriate question would be, "Have you seen Rockapella before?"  But anyway, someone heard KP saying that this was her 118th show, and talked to her about that a little bit.  Jeff walked into the lobby to take care of some business with the CDs, and he gave us a brief "hi" before going backstage.
Poster in Lobby

Our seats were house left, very left, like past the speaker monitors on stage.  I wondered if the guys would even see us out there.  A woman walked on to the stage, and I said to Cindy, "That's not Jeff."  She asked, "Where are the fan club members?"  I whoo-hooed very loudly, enough for all of my friends.  Sometimes my lung capacity amazes even me.  She then said that someone was there for her 118th show, and her name was Cynthia Medina.  Wait.  That's the same number as KP!  Who the heck is this Cynthia person, and how have we not met her before?  She then told us that we were allowed to take pictures as long as we didn't use flash.  Yay!  Or not.  It was quite dark in there, so most of my pictures sucked.  Sorry, peeps.  

JT took the stage and announced that he had eaten at In-N-Out twice this weekend.  

Sun Brothers

I already started tearing up. thinking of John leaving.

CSL4:  "We don't have any canyons in Tampa Bay.  Y'all got canyons....or sinkholes.  We like to keep things happy, mellow, and canyon-y.


Those sunglasses that Steve wears on stage are the same ones he had in his pocket at breakfast the day before.


I like this arrangement more every time I hear it.  Got a smile from CSL4 as I took his picture, which, of course, didn't turn out.  But yay!  They can see us!  He is still "Miss California" -- wait!  We didn't give him a sash!

CSL4:  "I didn't know there was a College of the Canyons.  Do the canyons go here?  Are there any canyons in the audience?  Dyan?  Nick?"  Oh, Scott, those are CANNONs.  JT's mic is used "to rumble the canyons".


SD and I smiled at each other as he sang "Every single day of my life".  Hi!

CSL4 talked about discovering John.  Geo said that he knew a guy from the Holy Land Experience.  So CSL4 went to a show, which was a "generic kind of antiseptic Caucasian Gospel.  Out comes this guy who's just tearing it up.  It was a revelation.  I knew then and there that he belonged with us."  I had never heard this story before.  I learn new things every day.

When SD looked at me during this song, I thought he was mad at me for um, something.  I saw a spot on his pants, which he told us had happened when he spilled soup, and didn't have time to get it dry cleaned.  He was self-conscious about it and would try to cover it up with his hand.  

While CSL4 was talking, the screen behind them showed a post-it note that read, "BLANK".

Steve was a baseball star in college at UMASS, and he was in "The Lion King".

SD talked to a guy in the audience named Nick (not Nick of the PellaPosse).  He was a teenager, and SD said, "Hey, you don't know this song, do you?"  He asked the rest of the audience to sing along, then said, "Nick, I'm going to ask you to sing it back after the show, word for word."

CSL4 said that John said that they should do the next song.  "9 years later....then when I did it, he said he was leaving."

Nice:  John on his "la la" riffing.  This is now Liz's favorite song.  Brought another tear to my eye, partly because I wonder if they'll keep it in the show after JKB leaves.  I wonder that about several songs, actually, and the thought makes me kinda anxious.

As some people arrived, CSL4 said to them, "You are LATE!  Just in time for the second half."  He talked about JT:  "...our vocal percussionist for over 20 years.  We found him when he was 8 years old.  Jeff does this for 2 hours every night.  He must have the jaws that can crack NUTS!  (Liz:  "He did NOT just say that!") ...has many talents, including the multimedia going on here tonight."  (Giggles from the audience).  "It's off.  So....less is more."

John regarding Scott: "Unfortunately, this is the last time I get to say this.  I'm very proud to work with this man, under his wings.  A cappella really started with this man.  A lot of what you see, 'Glee', 'Pitch Perfect', people lose where it started.  I believe Scott Leonard planted that seed through his arrangements and pitching certain voices."  

CSL4 described records as "black frisbees with a hole".

Secrets.  Twice.  Even though we were sitting at a strange angle from what was going on staging-wise, which made certain gestures deliberate and obvious.  So I blew a kiss at someone in thanks.  :)

"I just can't control his feet." -- CSL4, pointing at SD's shoes.  At the end of the song, they point at JT, as he is the Boogie that they are Blaming.

Scott, screaming from the crash

I guess it takes up way too much energy to sing "Bang" after the other two songs when there is no intermission.  I loved seeing this done again, though.  "Milk chocolate".
Preparation H

Raoul had the correct answer in the audience, and JKB chose his wife, Teresa, to join them on stage.  

Sung very softly, and just a little bit, by Teresa. Scott still mouthed "Darlin' Darlin" as if she was belting it out.

Teresa pats John's head

Geo:  "I got the worst vocabulary.  Doing all these dmm dmmms, I don't know what's going on with these songs.  Then afterward, I have to be really articulate, like with songs like this."

Big cheers.  Geo:  "Let's keep this going!"

Geo:  "It's a cool thing, watching you guys enjoy what we do...  A man like me, he gets an opportunity once in a while to sing a song with words."

I'm really going to miss JKB doing that jam.  I could see that Geo was feeling the same way as he and JKB riffed together.  I just kinda didn't want it to end.
Does JT have a spot on his pants, too?

CSL4: "We did this song every day for 59 years."

"DO IT ROCKAPELLA!"  Got a smile from Steve.

JT interrupted his solo: "Must have In-N-Out."  Then again with "There goes the last fry."


I'm also going to miss hearing JKB's vocal percussion style during this one.  Geo looked at him before the VP drumline and said something inaudible, but it looked like he said, "Let's do this one more time."  
One of my favorite views

Off mic

Got a thumbs up, a smile, and wave from SD.  See you later!

Meet and Greet/Post Show

Wendy had to get another CD because her "Motown & More" got eaten by the CD player in their car, and this was her last chance to get John's signature. 
Last Meet and Greet Table with JKB

Scott asked Cindy for her Chinese name, and presumed that she was not Cynthia Medina.  He told me that they'd be flying out on a red eye that night out of LAX.  Ick.

While in line, I told John that I had something special for him later.  He gave me a copy of his new Christmas CD.  

Steve asked Cindy if she was Cynthia Medina, and she told him that she was nowhere near being at 118 shows.  I said, "More like 18.  Or 8."  She told John that her first show was the first time he was in So Cal, so her Rockapella timeline starts with him.  

I thanked Steve for whatever, and he thanked me for being there, as he held my hands.  Let's just say that I'm now allowed to write down a certain song in a certain way now, because he gave me permission.  Except that I think it's still a secret.  Maybe.  I'm confused!  He said that they had BBQ to eat backstage, and asked if there was a Lucille's nearby because the menu looked familiar.  He told Nick that he was going to have trip tip that night.  Before he went backstage, I made sure to hug him and thank him for a fantastic weekend.

I asked Jeff which In-N-Out they went to today went George posted on Facebook.  They said, "On Foothill, right over there."  I told JT that I saw that his bro, Andrew, was there, and he said, "Yeah, I'd love to hang out with him, but we have to leave."  
JT: "Will I see you in Pas-A-de-NA?
S:  "Of course, it's my town!  Well, close to my town."  
JT:  "Have you seen 'LA Story'?
S:  "Yes."
JT: "That what he reference is from.  I've heard people say it like that, but I don't think they know the reference and they think that's how to say it."

I laughed.  Really?  After over 100 years of showing the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl game on TV at New Year, people still don't know how to say "PASaDEna"?  Idiots.

While this was happening, there was also some video recording happening for the college.  I make a little cameo appearance at 1:00.  :)

George told me that today's meal was his first time having In-N-Out.  I asked him how it compares to Five Guys, and he said that he's only had that a couple of times.  Later, he said that what he really liked about his burger was the toasted bun.  I told him about Liz's mom calling it "Five Brothers and Sisters" and he laughed.  After the line diminished, he got up and talked to Liz, saying that she was thinking, "You're going to come to me anyway, so I'm not getting in line."   He talked to the posse about feeling bad for the guy replacing him because there is so much music to learn.  Crickets.  We said that we're too upset to even joke about him leaving, too.  I said that he shouldn't say stuff that makes people hysterical and worry that the band is breaking up.  He said that the band's not breaking up.  Just that there is "stuff happening.  A lot of stuff."  Thanks for the vague trauma, George.  If anything, maybe he just means that someone will need to sub for him during the busy holiday performance season, but I don't know.  Let's just say that I've been irritated by something that others (not him) have posted lately on Facebook, and I just can't go there when I'm already upset about the change due to John's leaving.
The Book

Speaking of which....I gave John his photo book, and asked him to sign my copy of it, as well as the CD he gave me.  I totally love that he said, "How CUTE!" about the hippo on the back of the book.  :)  We wished him many blessings on his full-time ministry career, and took one last PellaPosse picture with him.  WE LOVE YOU, JOHN!
JKB and the Posse
Seriously, that guy in the background photo-bombed half my pictures!

I didn't full-on cry.  I was OK.  But yes, it was difficult to leave.  We walked to our cars, talking about Geo pissing us off.  Sorry, Geo, but it's true.  That night was not the time to even hint about leaving Rockapella, even in jest, even for a moment.

We picked up some dinner from the Jack In The Box drive-through, and focused on the positive stuff that happened that night.  Like, "the flirty flirty guys with their flirty flirty eyes".  :)

I'm really glad that we'll see the new incarnation of Rockapella very soon.  Very.  I hope that it will help the sadness about John's leaving go away quickly.  The guys have already raved about Calvin, but to me, JKB will always be our Dancing Rockapella Man.
John and Sherry...and JT...and SD...and that guy again

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tell Me No Secrets, I'll Tell You No Lies

Rockapella in Rrrrrancho Cucamonga
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Lewis Family Playhouse
Rancho Cucamonga, CA

I don't know how, but somehow I was able to sleep instead of giggling all night long.  Wendy and I went downstairs for the hotel breakfast, and after I helped her figure out the waffle maker and got my food, we sat down to eat. Then what to our wondering eyes should appear but the beautiful face of our Steven, Dorian.  We said hi, assuming he would grab his breakfast and run away, but no. The man got his breakfast, approached our table, and sat down to eat and have a very nice conversation with us!  Do you know what it's like to see such a sight in the morning?  It's like watching the sun rise:  too bright and pretty to look at for too long, but you're willing to risk your retinas anyway.  I don't know if I should swoon before noon, but it happened.  Swooooon!

We talked about tons of stuff, like his job in the Moroccan Roll show at Busch Gardens..  At one point, I pictured SD as Aladdin, holding out a banana as Abu sits on his shoulder.  That's because he talked about being in Bali at the Monkey Forest.   He's written some new songs, and is looking forward to playing them for the folks in Nashville.  SD had a little bit of trouble talking after a while because he was coughing, and Wendy offered to get him some cough drops.  He thanked her and she went upstairs to get them.  The elevator took forever to come down, and then the doors opened, the angels in heaven sang, and there was Scott.  She told him that SD and I were at breakfast, so he came by to grab something and he said hi.  I just marveled at the fact that I was looking at CSL4 with wet hair.  I hadn't even seen his hair wet when we were on the cruise and Adonis stepped out of the pool.  (Brief pause while Sher remembers that for a moment).  SD said that he would go get his stuff so that they could get going, and asked if I'd stay at the table.  Well, of course!  John came downstairs and got something quick for himself, and we said hi.  Wendy finally came back downstairs with cough drops, then SD showed up, and we all wished each other safe travels.  Wendy and I expressed to each other that we had great timing and we were very glad that we had taken showers and not come downstairs in our pajamas.

What a wonderful start to the day!  We packed up our own car and headed out.  While we were on the freeway, Wendy noticed that the car doors wouldn't lock.  That made me notice the indicator light, showing that one of the car doors was still open.  So I got off the freeway, and we ended up in a Target parking lot.  (See?  Target still made it onto the trip report!).  I guess I hadn't closed the hatchback correctly.  Then we got to the airport, but I wasn't following directions and had to turn around over there, too.  We arrived in plenty of time to find a birthday card and rest for awhile before boarding the plane.  Our flight was, thankfully, uneventful. I think I slept through most of it.  

When we landed at Ontario airport, Wendy called Jeff to pick her up.  I said that I should have texted him to bring a sign saying "Wife" (Wendy's idea from the previous day).  We parted ways for a few hours and I went home to get ready for church.

After church, Dodie, Linda and Jenn met me at my house, and I went into oh-my-God-where-is-my-ticket mode.  So did Jenn.  She called Marc and found out that she had left her ticket at home and had to go back and get it.  I called Jeff to tell him about my ticket being lost, and he told me not to worry about it since they are season ticket holders and could get the ticket reprinted.  Phew!  Dodie was willing to give up her ticket for me, which was very sweet, but I didn't want that to happen.  So the Fates of Pella smiled upon me and we were all able to go.

We arrived at the Lewis Family Playhouse and saw Karla, Nicole, a couple of former students whose names I never got, Liz, Joe, Ferdie, Wendy, Jeff, and Nick.  Ah, my posse!  Jenn arrived just in time before the show started.  Aura didn't get there until intermission, but at least she got there.

A man walked on to the stage and said, "Hi, I'm Jeff Thacher from Rockapella.  I'm so happy to be back in the Land of In-N-Out.  I can't tell you how happy I am."  He then introduced those other guys.

Sun Brothers
Today, they were wearing black shirts underneath their shiny suit jackets.  I couldn't figure out the color of the shiny suits because the lighting made them look brown, then silver, then brown, and I kept crossing out names of colors in my notebook.

Scott's hair flips up when he plays the trumpet.  So cute.

CSL4:  "Y'all Westerners are so nice.  We're from the Land of Tampa Bay.  We like to do our music nice and mellow and sunny and Tampa-ish."



CSL4:  "After a short pause, the mighty Rockapella."


Hi, Geo!  Thanks for the smile.  

CSL4 is still Miss California.  Sherry to Scott later:  "You need a sash."  Wendy:  "Challenge accepted!"  (The last time she accepted a challenge, Steve was given a cape).

Hi, Steve!  

CSL4:  "Nice to be back in Rrrrrancho Cucamonga!  What is a 'Cucamonga'?"
Random guy in the audience:  "Indian"
CSL4:  "Is that one Indian or a lot of them?  I'm gonna Google it during the break."
He then talked about Livermore, and driving all the way down here.  "You all live on another planet.  It's like brown velvet mountains of figs."

JT's microphones "pick up the Cuca underneath the Monga".
BTW, " Cucamonga" is an Indian word meaning "sandy place".  If CSL4 looked it up during the break, he didn't share it with the audience.  I'm guessing he had a power bar or m&ms instead.

Geo was getting all into it as he shouted, "Come on, come on!"

Saw Liz and Joe laughing.  I think SD did something to them.

I heard a couple of little "ooh"s when CSL4 started "Imagine".  Yeah, I love that, too.

Steve later told us that it's weird how CSL4 talks about how wonderful John is after "Just My Imagination", then the next song is...


CSL4 said that Steve is making his Rancho Cucamonga debut.  Come back often, OK?

Steve looked at me as he sang, "You know it's hard on fella"...  I can't stop giggling and my friends know it.  Aaaaah!  Steve just slapped Wendy on the knee while going back to the stage.  I didn't realize that my exclamation was out loud, but APPARENTLY, my friends in back of me, as well as Wendy's side of the theater heard me just fine.  

CSL4:  "That's the best sounding audieence I've ever heard.  We should be paying you."


CSL4 to JT:  "When we found you, you were living in L.A."
JT:  "Behind a dumpster.  Westwood.  Inside joke."

CSL4 regarding JT doing vocal percussion for 2 hours:  "I don't know how you do that without your head exploding."

JKB called CSL4 "the seedling of a capella music.  What he does is planted in the ground, grown, and given to other groups."
CSL4:  "There are seeds, then there are seedlings.  I'm definitely a seedling."

Mouthed the lyrics "I'm guessing he's roundin' up" with SD as he looked in my direction, then I said other lyrics with Geo looking at me, but I can't remember anymore what those lyrics were.  Also, secret stuff happened again.  I can't help it, people!  

JKB:  "Y'all ready for this?  Good, because I'm not sure we are."

CSL4 is a crazy dancing machine.
Geo sang "Another one bites the dust" to Joe and Liz.  I love how much Joe totally loves these shows.

Cindy and Glenn asked me if I was staring at Scott's pants because of the tag hanging out of his shirt.  No, but NOW I will!  AGAIN.

Got some Geo love.  :)

I told Dodie that this was her song because of the race cars.  She likes the checkered flags on the screen.  "Maisy" was all touching on SD when he was dancing at her, and she wasn't even smiling.  What is her deal?  I love the crash and Scott's scream.

This made Linda very happy.  I figured she would like the Bond song, and CSL4 is just hilarious with his antics.


JKB had us do a call and response with him.  "You all do whatever I tell you.  Bark like a dog!"  We happily obliged. When he was asking trivia of the audience, a man named James gave him the correct answer.  John chose James' wife of 39 years to get onto the stage with "5 beautiful hunk of men".  Funny seeing Rockapella turning around and looking for whomever he was talking about.

Letty wanted to leave, like, right away.  She lives a life of luxury in Fontana.  CSL4 tried to get her to sing, but she refused.  So he asked her to just say the words.  She didn't really want to do that, but she did a little.  Then she said, "Can I go home?"  Oh, no, honey.  SD still needs to drag you back to center stage.

I love how she did NOT want to be there, especially when CSL4 was dancing at her.  She kept motioning to her husband that he was in trouble.  

Geo:  "Y'all thought I was fakin' didn't you?  You know, I drink a lot of chocolate milk to sing like this.  I mean, look at this.  You know what's up, Baby Boy."  APPARENTLY, "Baby Boy" is Joe.  He later said that he was just glad that Geo didn't call him "Dad".  


Geo said that boys from Philly are real cool, come out all dressed to impress.  So he wanted to sing to the ladies.

JKB was on fire!  Nice.

JT motioned to me when it was time to shout, "DO IT ROCKAPELLA!"  Then he made the motion that he was watching me.   I made the same motion to him.  So funny.



Linda got some stage love from Geo.

They got a standing ovation, and CSL4 asked, "Were you getting up to leave or do you want to hear another song?"

Dodie really liked that this was done without any amplification.  

Meet and Greet / Post Show

I got in line three times because the guys had signed separate parts of my CD/cover, and I needed to get all 5 in each place.  I didn't mean for that to happen.  JT pointed it out to me, and then Geo saw that another one was missing.  

I told Scott that he looked less tired than the day before at the same time of day.  He said that he can't remember because he's too old.  He and SD said that during their road trips, they start listing songs that they want to do.  I suggested (again) that he arrange Stevie Wonder's "As", and he said, "That's a good song.  Yeah, we could do a whole Stevie Wonder thing," and I said, "Yes!  But YOU need to sing lead."  He said, "Me?  OK."  PLEASE make this happen, Mr. Leonard!  Liz and I will love you even more than we already do.  He showed me video of his son Jesse playing drums and singing, and he was proud that Jesse could do that so well.  Jesse sounds like Scott when he sings.  Daughter Natalie is also a beautiful singer, and I hope that one day we can hear her, too.  I can't believe that she's already 14.  Dodie and I told him about our adventures when we get dressed up and sit next to famous people.  I showed him a pic of me in a formal dress, and he said, "That's nice!  You look nice, Sherry. That's a pretty dress."  <Blush!>  I told him that I liked his raven joke when we were in Livermore.  He liked his joke, too, but said that they seemed sensitive and offended.  Scott said that I would really like Tokyo Disney Seas.  I don't know how he knows that that is my goal in Disney fandom, but I guess that he just knows what I like.  You know, like I don't mind "unbuttoned".

I said to John:  "One more day!"  We held both of each other's hands as I tried not to get too emotional.  

This is the day that I was told that I don't know how to keep secrets.  Well, maybe if I knew that it was a secret, I could keep it.  But how is it a secret if everyone can see it?  I guess that's our thing, though.  OK, I like having a thing, so it's all good.  (Vague much, Sher?)  You know it's killing me that I'm not typing the real words, right?  BTW, Scott figured out part of the secret, and I'm pretty sure that I said, "Nothing" when he asked, so it's not my fault.

We gave a birthday card to Steve which had a picture of a dog playing a guitar.  Rock on!  Then I got in trouble again.  Oh, well!

Jeff told me that he had seen me during the show, and thought, "This girl knows ALL the words!"  I don't know if he was surprised, or just making sure that I actually love them as much as I say I do.

I didn't talk to George very much, because he was busy telling me which signatures were missing, and I kept getting in line.

I like that there's a sign that says "Line starts here to meet Rockapella" with their picture on it.
The guys in line to meet George

We took pictures with the guys, and when it was my turn, I was arm in arm with Steve and Jeff.  I said, "Can I stay right here?  Because I LIKE it!"  JT asked, "Are you coming to Santa Clarrrita? (Yes, he rolled his Rs).  You can come back for more."  My response:  "OKAY!!!"

Seriously, can I just stay here?
A bunch of us went to Lucille's for dinner.  We were supposed to go to Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill, but then realized that it was a real bar, and too loud for us to talk, plus one of us in our party was not yet 21.  Lucille's was yummy and we were happy.  Banter occurred.  I was told later that the banter was cute.  We closed the place down.  That happens a lot.

So, it was a wonderful day from AM to PM!  Thank you, Rockapella!

Pella and the Posse
Yeah, I know lots of people are looking at another camera, but I look cuter in this shot than the other one.

Next up:  Santa Clarrrrita


Monday, November 18, 2013

The Air I Breathe

Rockapella in Livermore
Friday, November 15, 2013
Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center -- Bankhead Theater
Livermore, CA
"Motown & More"

I woke up early in the morning to get to the Ontario airport, and got in line behind a volleyball team.  Yeah, that made the line long, and I didn't have time to charge my phone, but at least I was on time to meet Wendy and board the plane with the A group.  Rockapella hasn't been in California since January 2012, so we were very happy that we'd finally be seeing them again.  It has only been a year for me, but that's a really long time in Sherry/Pella years.  We landed and chose our rental car from National: a black Nissan Versa.  Cute little car, and it was easy to drive, so we headed off to get something for our bellies.

HOBEE'S!!!!  I had found one that was fairly close to the airport, on Montague Expressway in San Jose.  Fall at Hobee's means pumpkin walnut coffeecake = Happy Sherry.  In another autumn year, one of my friends that lives up north read my tweet about wanting some coffeecake, and he sent some via Hobee's.  Sweet.  He won't have to do that this year.  :)  I got that with an order of Almost Joe's Scramble.  Wendy ordered sweet potato pancakes.  I had my cinnamon-orange tea.  There was much yumminess at our table near the electrical outlet (yes, I finally charged my phone).  My piece of coffeecake was HUGE, so I took most of it to go.  

It was too early for us to eat the dessert that we had planned for, so we drove directly to Livermore to check out the venue and buy a Rockapella ticket for Auntie Milda, whom would meet us later for dinner.  Then we walked around to find out where we should meet for this dinner, as well as where we should go after the show.  I bought a cup of iced cinnamon mocha at Panama Red cafe, and we asked the lady at the Chamber of Commerce where we should go.  She suggested wineries, as well as The Winemaker's Pour House.  We didn't have time for wineries, and the menu at the Pourhouse looked yummy (mostly because of the winetails -- wine-based cocktails), so we decided on that for dinner.  
Wendy at the Bankhead Theater

We then went to the Hawthorn Suites to try to check in early, but our room wasn't ready yet, and we were ready for dessert, so we made our way to Snowflake.  Well, we *tried* to make our way to Snowflake.  The directions we had weren't very specific (Google was not helpful, and other instructions were "in an Asian area and there's new housing nearby" and we saw no such thing except that there were many new houses everywhere), and the addresses were hard to find, so we turned around a few times, I called Bro and the sis-in-law tried to help, and then we finally found it.  All of that turning around was very much worth the wait.  We ordered a Toasted Almond Sesame Le Snowflake, which is shaved ice, red bean, mini mochi, litchi coco, popping boba, roast almond and condensed milk.  Wendy had never had boba before, but now she's going to try the regular kind when she can find it.  I had not had the popping kind, but it was kind of fun!  We were happily full again, then drove back to the hotel to check in.


After we got ourselves Pella Presentable, we drove to the parking structure by the theater, parked, and walked to the Pour House.  Lucky for us, the one table there that wasn't barstool seating was available.  Auntie Milda arrived shortly after we ordered our drinks, and then my cousin Marie arrived with her daughter, Annabelle.  Ohmygoodness, she is sooooo cute!  I couldn't stand it, I kept saying it over and over.  She loved the live music when it started, and she enjoyed the bread that we ate.  I wish that Marie and Annabelle could have joined us to see Rockapella, but that wasn't possible that night.  I was glad to see them, though.  I hadn't seen them since we went to Oregon for Rockapella in 2011.  We laughed a lot and had a great time, and the drinks were tasty.  I had a Bellini Buzz, which was like a Bellini with sparkling wine.  We also ordered salads and tapas.  I enjoyed the roasted garbanzo beans in the Arugula Salad.  
Cheers!  (Look, Wendy finished hers already).

Milda, Marie and Annabelle

We said our goodbyes to Marie and Annabelle, then walked to the theater.  Our seats were front row, center.  Thanks, Wendy!  Auntie Milda was seated at house left, 1st row of the second section.  Nice seat that I just bought that day!  I saw the rotating "r"s on the screen and said to Wendy, "I know that font!"  

Jeff walked on to the stage, and said that they were in the Land of In-N-Out, Fred's favorite place.  An acappella group was there, so they thought they could open for Rockapella.  Introducing....the Sun Brothers!

The Sun Brothers took the stage with their sunglasses on, and I was disturbed because I couldn't see who they were looking at.  

My mind was at ease as soon as I got the smiles from Steve and George.  I got sad during John's solo, and wondered how sad I'd be by the end of the weekend.  I really like this song, and now it's my guys singing it?  Yay!  

Scott said, "We like to make things, we love liver.  We love...pate."

Eric Clapton, done mellow, sunglass-wearing style.

Scott said, "Check us out on facebook down in Tampa Bay.  We're gonna sing one more song before we bring on our favorite group.  Those kids are good."  So...we can't check them out on facebook from other cities?  ;)

"kukoo, kukoo..."


OK, Geo, you can take your time with me!

Scott introduced the guys, and said, "Happy Birthday, Steven Dorian!...and I'm Miss California."

Such fancy footwork!  I love the bit of Geo interrupting JKB.

Scott talked to the Livermore folk, saying that this was" a lovely town, lovely theater, but you gotta get a better name!  You'd think, "California...'Rancho Santa Maria'...but no.  'Livermore'.  Do you have more liver here?"  Groans.  "I thought that maybe it was a bad translation from Edgar Allan Poe: "Quoth the raven, Livermore."  JT's throat mics help him be the Rumble to scare away the raven.


Steve gave a big smile to Wendy.  He wants to hold my hand!  Wendy later said that he wants to hold my hand a lot.  I think that's just because I'm often in the front row. Also, I couldn't remember if I was actually supposed to let him hold my hand.  It has been too long since I've seen them, and I forgot the audience participation parts!

Cute pause when Geo does the intro. 

Scott regarding JKB knowing Julie Andrews:  "I'm not kidding, she's a real person, and he KNOWS her."  He mentioned that this was John's last trip to CA with Rockapella, and I got sad again.

I can't stop thinking about what's in CSL4's back pocket.  It looks like a pack of gum.  Yes, I was staring at his pants.  AGAIN.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU -- sung by Rockapella and the audience to Steve
Yay!  I got my wish!  Scott said that Steve is 65 years old, and looks GREAT for his age.



Scott demonstrated what a cappella bass singing is usually lke, and then kept going and going with the "dip dip yeah, dip dip yeah..."  He said that Jeff is "a man of many talents", such as producing videos.  "He's also quiet.  He's full of pulsating, quiet talents."

John said, "Ladies and gentlemen, listen.  We are in the midst of a genius.  Not only is he a great songwriter, he is a gifted singer and arranger.  I am proud to sing with Mr. Scott Leonard."
Scott: "Wow.  That was nice."  And Sherry has a tear in her eye.

And then, APPARENTLY, secret stuff happened during this song.  I didn't know that it was a secret until the next day, but I'm being good and not telling.  Today.  Let me just say that I will now giggle with glee whenever I hear this song, especially during certain lyrics.  If you are a regular reader of this blog, and know the lyrics to this song, maybe you can figure out what happened (if you weren't there for it this weekend).  If you're not, maybe you can figure it out with a search.  Let's just also say that the secret stuff had me over the moon, and my cheeks hurt from smiling by the end of the song. 

The live version adds some mash-up stuff with other songs, like in Geo's solo.  Its really cool.  I was later told that the arrangement is exactly the same.  What?  No.  But I really shouldn't argue with one of the people actually singing the song on stage.

We talked to Auntie Milda, and she was loving the show, because a lot of the songs are from her "era".  She said that she saw the guys smiling at us, and I affirmed her thoughts.  She said, "So you're going to see them again tomorrow?"  I said yes, and Sunday.  I reminded her that she called them "the air that you breathe".  Hence, the title of this post.

Sounded a little bit flat at the start, but they recovered quickly as usual.  Also, Scott's "ay ay"s were LOUD.  Whatever was in his pockets before is gone now.  Yeah, I'm still looking at his pants.

Oh my goodness, with SD dancing with "Maisy".  Like RIGHT THERE!  .

We all love when CSL4 flips his mane of hair.

I love watching them do this song.

JKB walked through the audience and asked a trivia question, "What was the first group that Berry Gordy signed on with Motown Records?"  A woman named Sharon gave the correct answer, The Miracles.  Her prize was that she got to go on stage with "five beautiful hunk of men.  Of course, they're not here tonight, so you'll have us instead."  

Truncated version, now that they've sung some of that already.

Scott asked about Livermore, since she's from there.  She said that they are one of the only cities to have an element on the periodic table: Livermorian.  She works for some kind of Jewish organization, and Scott asked if there were enough Jews around for it.  She said, "There's enough Jews in Livermore".

Sharon sang, and Scott got really into the "Darlin', Darlin'" parts.  

I like when the audience member gets into it, as Sharon did.

Geo:  "This is one of the best audiences that we've had all year."  (I said to Wendy that it was because we're in it.  I'm not biased or anything).  He continued, "I went to a little tiny airport called LAX.  They have these movies that they put on CD, like 'The Bodyguard'."


Geo: "I was a singing Frankenstein in the 'Beetlejuice' rock and roll show.  We sang "Smooth" by Santana.  They kicked me out of there, too."

Stage love for Sherry and Wendy!  (I still imagine him singing our names, though).

CSL4: "We sang that song every day for 49 years."
JT didn't pause at all during the solo, but I heard the lady behind us say, "WOW."


George Butt.  Sherry Smile.

CSL4:  "Thanks for keeping us up.  It's past our bed time.  We'll be back in a couple of weeks somewhere around here."  Sher: "NAPA!"  CSL4:  "Napa.  We'll be in Napa."  Seriously, why doesn't he just ask us so that I don't have to yell at him?  

CSL4:  "Do you want to hear another song?  We're going to change the set list because we are so very needy."

CSL4 grabbing his own butt.  Sherry:  "Oh my."  CSL4 took SD's Flirty, Flirty Eye.  Hey!  Give it back!


Meet and Greet/Post Show

George gave big hugs to both of us.  He said to Wendy, "It's been a long time" and she educated him about the 2-year drought.  He told me, "You're going to make me stand up again." Sher:  "6 shows in California!  SIX!!!  But John will only be at 3."  Geo: "Yeah, John's leaving and he still hasn't given me my money."  (I had no idea at the time what that was about, but later we figured that he wanted a finder's fee for bringing JKB to the group).

Said Happy Birthday to Steve.  I told him that I noticed (the secret thing) and, well, I guess I'm not supposed to be typing about that now, huh?  Grrrr....Anyway, I jumped up and down a little bit and said, "Oh my God, I love you!"  THAT I'll type.  Whatevs.  On this side of the laptop, I'm giggling again.  

I talked to John about his father-in-law accepting God.  I'm so happy for the family, and I'm glad that John's ministry is working well.

I didn't talk to Scott much because he and Jeff looked really tired.  I told him that I hoped they'd be OK for Rancho Cucamonga, "because it's RANCHO."  Scott understood, and said they'd be ready.

Jeff said that the first West Coast show is always difficult because of jet lag.  Wendy told him that she just bought the CD because she wanted to wait to see the show first.  Jeff hoped it was worth the wait.  Well, of course it was.  And so are y'all.  He said that someone he knows calls tomorrow's venue "Rancho Cookie Monster."  Wendy and I decided that KP needs to draw that.

We talked to Fred as he ate his chocolate chip cookie and drank his orange juice.  He said that they'd be driving down to Rancho so that JT could stop for burgers at Harris Ranch.  Fred didn't want any more burgers, though.  He also talked to Wendy about the Napa Valley Opera House being renovated due to new ownership, with a new sound system, and possibly serving dinner in the lobby.  As long as they still have the Pella perform there, I'm good.

Took pictures with the guys.  The woman that took our group picture told us to say, "shit".  None of us did.
Quoth the Posse, "Pella!  More!"

Wendy and I realized that we needed some protein, so we shared a hamburger from where else?  In-N-Out.  I became impossible to live with due to whatever made my cheeks hurt.  Thankfully, Wendy did not kill me, and giggled along with me.

Great evening!  Much happiness!

Sher and the Birthday Boy

For the record:  I was asked the question, "Well, who else would I do that to?"

The answer is: NOBODY.

Next up:  Rrrrrrancho Cucamonga