Stops #14 and #15: Sydney and San Francisco/Fallen Leaf Lake

Sydney

After waving goodbye to Ethan and Lee in Singapore, the Dins arrived at the airport in Sydney, to a warm greeting from all of our homestays.  Most of us spent the afternoon sleeping off the redeye, after which we reconvened at Ted Blamey’s house for a delicious potluck dinner and, of course, more singing.  To our surprise, we weren’t the only performers of the evening, as our newfound friend Blake performed a wonderful musical theatre number and Ted himself recited the Cinderella story entirely in a variant of Pig Latin.

It was off to Waverly College (a high school for boys) for a performance and workshop the next morning, as we celebrated our final early call time of tour!  After giving our performance, we spent some time warming up and studying an excerpt from Sydney’s arrangement of “The Very Thought of You” with the boys.  Following a delicious lunch from the school, the energetic and well-uniformed students gave us a very detailed tour, which culminated in some wonderful views of the city from the rooftop.  The Dins then broke off into smaller groups, spending the afternoon exploring Bondi Beach, visiting Harvard friends, and shopping in downtown Sydney.  In the evening, several Dins joined Ted at a reception for the Harvard Club of Australia, at which we had the pleasure of meeting several newly admitted students.  To finish off the night, several Dins relived their childhoods at a screening of Disney/Pixar’s Finding Dory.

The next day was free until the evening, and after a hearty sleep, the Dins were ready to tackle the city.  In a day full of art, Danny and I explored the Contemporary Art Museum:

Danny basking in the glow of modern art

Danny basking in the glow of modern art

before reconvening with the other Dins at the Art Gallery of New South Wales:

The Dins outside the gallery

The Dins outside the gallery

We explored the galleries for a while, then began preparing for our performance there in the evening for the gallery’s “Art After Hours” event.  After narrowly escaping disaster in the form of a forgotten dress shirt, the performance went off without a hitch, and the Dins met up with some friends from the good ol’ USA for a night on the town.

The next morning, after a beautiful lunch on the Harbor, several Dins were lucky enough to catch a performance of Stravinsky’s famous Rite of Spring by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in the Opera House!

Danny, Jacques, and Billy at the Opera House

Danny, Jacques, and Billy at the Opera House

Dins continued to explore the city, finding koalas and new friends at the Sydney zoo.  A few of us even managed to sneak in a trip on the ferry to the beautiful Manly Beach:

Taking in the ocean breeze

Taking in the ocean breeze

before returning to the Foundry 616 jazz club for our final performance in Sydney.  Ted Blamey topped off his perfect attendance record at our shows by making an appearance with several friends.  The next morning, we began our long (but eagerly awaited) journey to the USA and to the wonderful Barber family!

Billy Cox #230

 

San Francisco and Fallen Leaf Lake

Another day, another redeye!  The Dins arrived at SFO airport to a warm welcome from not only Mr. and Mrs. Barber, but also one of our favorite Din alums, Vibav Mouli, who joined us to celebrate our final weekend of tour. After kissing the sweet American soil and making a pit stop to take in the beautiful San Francisco Bay, we proceeded to the Barbers’ wonderful home in Orinda to prepare for an evening get-together and performance.  There we enjoyed food from a delicious taco truck and reconnected with Lee, serenading the local Din alumni, friends, and family in attendance.  Always ready for more travel, the Dins decided to pack their bags and make the drive out to the Barbers’ summer home in South Lake Tahoe later that night, arriving at the shore of Fallen Leaf Lake in the wee hours of the morning.

There could not have been a better place to spend our final few days than Fallen Leaf Lake.  We want to thank the Barber family for several delicious meals and wonderful hospitality throughout.  The Dins had a blast sleeping under the stars, relaxing, playing cards, and partaking in several amazing aquatic activities, including stand-up paddle boarding:

Danny and Billy stand-up paddle boarding in the lake

Danny and Billy stand-up paddle boarding in the lake

And cliff jumping:

Will posing for the camera in midair

Will posing for the camera in midair

Our second night we gave our very last performance of tour at the general store on the lake to a wonderful audience—we love when everyone knows all of the jazz standards!  After that, it was time to get sentimental, as we all huddled up in blankets on the Barbers’ dock and gave our final toasts to each other, spotting shooting stars all the while.  There could have been no better venue than Fallen Leaf for us to sing our family song, “My Lord, What a Morning,” one last time together.  From Reykjavík to Monaco, Osaka to Sydney, we couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who has helped make this tour possible.  Every stop, the hospitality and kindness we receive from our hosts has been unmatched; never have I felt so welcome so far from home.  Stay in touch, everybody!  We hope to be able to see many of you again in two years.

Until then,

Billy Cox #230

 

Editor's Note: To all of you who have followed this blog on our tour, either from the beginning or after a certain stop: thanks for keeping up with us! Writing posts and finding pictures on our downtime wasn't always easy while we were still touring, but it has created a record of an amazing experience that we will be able to cherish for many years to come. We hope that you've enjoyed the stories we've had for you, and that this tradition can continue for more tours in the future.

It's been a great ride. I'll let our Reykjavík friend Svavar Knútur play us out with the unofficial anthem of Tour 2016:

Signing off,

Ethan Craigo #237