Sunday, January 5, 2014

Welcome, Calvin!

Rockapella in Napa
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Napa Valley Opera House
Napa, CA

Jenn and I arrived separately in Sacramento, less than an hour apart.  She came from her business trip in Detroit, and I came from home.  I signed in for our rental car at National, and waited for her and Arielle to meet me.  Arielle and her husband Brad had some trouble getting to the lobby of the car rental place, because their GPS led them to the rental car return area instead of to the parking lot for the lobby.  They finally found me, though, then Jenn arrived, and we went out to get our car.  I had rented a convertible because the price was cheap.  I neglected to think about what the weather would be like in Napa during the month of December, which would explain the rental price.  Anyway, the convertible that was available for us was a beautiful silver Mustang.  Whoo Hoooo!  So we happily situated ourselves in our awesome car and made our way to Napa.

We had a little bit of time before Arielle's nail appointment at the hotel spa, so we stopped for lunch at Gott's.  They were very accommodating to her particular dietary restrictions, and she said that it was the best burger she's ever had.  She had her version of the same burger that I ordered: the Wisconsin burger.  They had pumpkin shakes, so I had to have one of those.  We tried to get in touch with Jeff and Wendy, but I kept getting their voice mail, so I figured that their phone was off, or they had no more battery.  They knew when we were leaving Sacto and where we'd be eating for lunch, so they eventually made it when we were almost done eating.  We would have stayed longer to chat, but needed to get Arielle to her appointment, so we said our "see you later"s and drove to the hotel.  

We dropped off Arielle, then Jenn and I checked into the hotel and left Arielle's belongings with the front desk.  It was about this time that Jenn realized just how tired she actually was from her very long trip: she could not get out of the elevator fast enough and the doors kept closing on her suitcase.  Like, 3 times.  It was hilarious.  She was really tired and she kept on laughing, so she just could not get herself together to get out of the stupid door.  I was no help whatsoever because I also could not stop laughing.  Ah, the adventures of Jenn and Sher.  That would so totally have gotten us eliminated from "The Amazing Race". We unpacked, then the 2 of us went to Yountville to visit Bouchon Bakery.  I lucked out and found the Yountville post office while we were trying to find the bakery, so that I could mail something.  Jenn was overwhelmed by the display case, and we both got macarons.  I can't go to Bouchon Bakery without getting at least one of those, so I bought 2 of them, one for me and one for Arielle. We asked the staff there if their macarons would fit her dietary requirements, and they did, so YAY!  Jenn and I ate our macarons and drank coffee outside, and Jenn kept staring at the dogs nearby.  She didn't want to cheat on Rommel, though.  

We then shopped a little bit at the little indoor mall-type place, and I broke an ornament while I was trying to take it off of the tree display.  The cashier guy was able to repair it with me acting as surgical nurse, so we were good to go.  Jenn bought a scarf.  We made our way back to the Marriott and then dressed up for the show.  We met up with Arielle to partake in the wine reception in the lobby, and I also got some snacks from the hospitality room for Jenn's fancy membership level.    I wasn't that hungry, but I just knew that I wouldn't last until the end of the show, so I ate stuff.

We got to the parking structure by the opera house, and I missed the driveway, so I backed up, hit the curb, and parked next to Jeff and Wendy, whom had just parked a few minutes earlier.  They probably didn't do the extra maneuvering that I did to get to that point, though. No damage to the car, thank goodness  We walked to the NVOH together, and saw that the Napa Valley Children's Chorus was performing in the lobby.  

The opening act was from American Canyon High School, called P.D.A., which stands for  "Public Display of A Cappella".  they did quite well, singing Pentatonix's version of "Carol of the Bells", Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby", "We Three Kings", and a Michael Jackson medley.  I liked the end of the MJ medley when all of the solos were mashed together.

Then it was time for the main event.  I was excited because it was Arielle's first show.  I was also excited because I got to sit next to Jeff.  I don't think he's ever sat between Wendy and me before.  We were going to see a new Rockapella member.  Scotcherbreadman was present.  All was well.

Lapland in Napa.  Ish.
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Jeff said to me, "There's your boy." Mmmhmmm, FFE Goodness.  Nice vest, JT!  Welcome, Mr. Calvin Jones.

CSL4 introduced himself as Arnold Schwarzenegger.  NO!  Don't do it, Scott!  Blech.

The Hope We Hold
Seriously, after all these years, I still write down the name of another song before I remember the correct title to this one.

CSL4 said, "high school a cappella has come a long way...nice to see, as the grandparents of what they're doing."  He asked the audience, "How many have seen Rockapella before?"  Lots of applause.  "Very good.  Then we don't have to show you how we make our sound."

Who is Steve hitting?  Nice feature, Calvin!  

Winter Wonderland
"...and pretend that he is Rabbi Brown..."

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
Choreography, Scott's whistling, JT's sleigh bells:  It's Christmas time!  Yay!

CSL4 said, "we thought you'd like to hear what we sounded like when we started in the 1930s."

Glow Worm
Got a smile from Steve.  No more JKB dancing.  Aw, sadness.  

CSL4:  "I told you about Steven.  Actually, I haven't told you about Steven.  He used to be our newest member, but Calvin Jones has been with us for three days."  Well, he's off to a great start!

Simply Having A Wonderful Christmastime
Those sleigh bells before the Tchaikovsky break:  is that new?  I can hear it on the recording as I listen right now, but I don't remember him doing that live.

CSL4 is happy because Rudolph was on TV before Thanksgiving, and he got to see it.  Usually he's on tour when it's on and he misses it.  "When you prospect for gold, you lick your axe.  If a kid did that, wouldn't your lip stick to your axe?"  

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
"We're in agreement" -- Steve and CSL4 touched two fingers each.  I love CSL4's face during the first time he sings "then how the reindeer loved him".

CSL4 talked about Calvin being part of Men of Note, a group which got discovered and went to Busch Gardens, "then we stole him".  

Merry Christmas, Darling
Weird set-up, but it was better after Calvin's intro.  Very nice, Calvin!

CSL4 talked about Geo, and an audience member said, "And he looks gooood!"  

Ooh, Steve gets to talk about Scott now that JKB isn't there.  He called him the "man from Indiana with the Hair of Gold".  CSL4 talked about being on a morning TV show in New York City, and the reported got coffee dumped on him.  New Yorkers don't always like being woken up in the morning.

This Christmas Day
Got some stage love from Steve.  Swooon!

Ready, Steven?  STEVEN!!!

Christmas Don't Be Late
People if you can't keep up with the drummer's solo, please don't clap along.  I think that the lyrics need to be changed to "Me, I want a Kardashian" to make it more current.  Not that I like them, but it's funny.

Jingle Bell Rock
The megaphones are smaller now.  Calvin had issues with the power switch on his megaphone.  

Please Come Home for Christmas
Geo gave some nice stage love to Wendy!  So I had to reach over and touch her knee.

Matunda Ya Kwanzaa
CSL4: "Just like Cinco de Mayo is not just for the drunken masses..."
I so love Geo's entrance.

Steve told us that Lapland is where Santa Claus lives.  SD got to see where his Millennium Falcon was built in 1988, and they're still making them.  He looked for Tess. She is 12 years old, and wants a pair of shoes, a very specific kind of Puma, in red.  

Geo:  "I'm watching you watch me, I'm watching, you're watching, we're watching each other"...

Silent Night
Geo sang the really high Whitney Houston part.  "I fooled you all with that frog in my throat."

Geo walked down the stairs of the center aisle, sat down, and pointed at Wendy, Jeff, then me and Jenn while singing "Stink, Stank, Stunk."  Seriously, this is our venue to have Geo sing to us directly.  He's so awesome.  CSL4 did the Karate Kid crane move.  

Auld Lang Syne
Wrong pitch given.  ("Psych!")

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Calving pointed at JT while a picture was displayed of Calvin.  Because, you know, they looked so much like each other as kids.  

Angels We Have Heard on High
SD winked at me as they left the stage.  :)

Carmen / Billie Jean

Hold Out for Christmas
SD smiled at me during the Bali verse.  Then he waved to me as he left the stage.  LOVE.

Meet and Greet
I introduced Arielle to the guys, and she told them that they were 10 times better than she expected.  She also told them that I have good taste in music.  But of course!  People really should listen to me more often when I talk about music.  

Arielle told CSL4 that "On a Street in Fukuoka" is her favorite song.  Jenn told him that they were worth being awake for 20 hours. 

Geo said that he noticed that he has a lot of solos in the Christmas shows.  I told him that was good, he said no, because there are a lot of words to remember.  He talked about how he has a sub waiting in the wings in case he misses a show.  He hasn't missed a Rockapella show since he started, and he knows that you can't sing a cappella without a bass.  I told him not to leave the group just yet because we're still traumatized about JKB.  He said he wouldn't and that it hurt so much when John left that he couldn't even say goodbye to him on that day, he had to leave.  He said that he knows that he has a gift that is his burden to share, and he's going to do it.  (Yes, I feel much better now than I did in November).  Jenn talked to him about his P90X program versus her new T25 program.

Sigh of Relief.  Love you, Geo!
I talked to a couple of the guys from PDA, telling them that they did a great job.  I told the guy with the crutches that I felt bad for him having to stand on stage like that, and he said, "Still gotta sing, though!"  Yes!  

I was trying to get candids of the guys while people were in line for the M&G, then Steve got impatient because I had the camera on timer for some reason.  I told him to go to Gott's, and he said that he'd been there, and that it was good.  I told him that he got me sick, but it was worth it.  He laughed and hugged me even though I'm crazy.

I introduced myself to Calvin.  JT turned to him and said, "Sherry is a Superfan."  I smiled and curtsied.  Calvin told JeffEvs that this like a dream to him, and he doesn't want to wake up.  I welcomed him to the group, and told him that I loved his melismas.
First Picture with Calvin!

Wendy thanked JT for helping her with a prize for Sunday's show.  He said that he didn't see them at sound check, thinking it was for that day.  No. Then he said that he couldn't hear her.  She got closer.  He said, "Honey, that's not louder, that's just closer."  <giggle>  I'd get closer to him, too, Wendy!  Especially if he's going to call me "honey".

The guys were tired from their travels, but Fred still talked to us for a bit until we got kicked out of the Opera House.  Jake's kitchen had closed, so we found an Applebee's that was open, and had dinner there after deciding not to go to Denny's or anywhere, actually.  I'm glad that Wendy & JeffEvs decided to join us.  Too bad we didn't have Robin's number to tell her that we had changed our minds about eating.  Jenn kept playing her Dragon Vale game because that is her new obsession.

The next day, I insisted that we take pictures with our pretty vehicle, top down.  I asked if they wanted to drive back to the airport that way, but the girls refused.  Wusses.  ;)
Sher The Driver

Passengers Arielle and Jenn

When I got home, I baked for a lot of hours.  I also baked some more the next morning because I had forgotten one of the ingredients, and I needed to go to the grocery store to get the additional ingredients for Calvin's portion of the Christmas goodies.  But that goes into the next Rockapella Trip Report.

The New Rockapella and their Superfan

Next Up:  Pella at CalTech


  1. Note to self: always whisper when talking to JT.

  2. Loved this post, Sher! I had so much fun with you all! :-D