What an amazing vacation.
People use that term all of the time - but in this case, the Alumni Weekend was truly magical.
Starting off, Jeff and I flew in on Wednesday, April 17th to snow flurries on the ground. We thought about upgrading our rental to a Tahoe or something like that, but decided we could get around just fine in the snow and ice in a Maxima.
After a super quick lunch at Taco Bell (YES CHURROS!!!!), we headed over to the SDSMT campus to take a look at the new ChE building(s) and talk to a few professors. Man, oh man...that place has really changed since we went to school. As Jeff said on way more than one occasion, "It looks legit." Multiple labs, no scary White Elephant, air conditioning...it was really startling. We had a really nice chat with a few professors as well, who gave us the skinny on happenings within the department and what other alumnae were up to.
Then we headed over to Old Gym...er new Music Building...to say HELLO to Dr. Feiszli and Michelle - who just happened to be some of the most influential people in my college life. We got the GRAND TOUR of the new facility, practice rooms, offices, stage. I think I said on more than one occasion, "It looks legit." Truly impressive.
We checked into our hotel, then met Jason and Bobbie (Jeff's brother and wife) for dinner at - where else - Qdoba! It was redecorated from the days when Jeff and I had puppy love, but the food still basically tastes the same :).
On Thursday morning woke up, hit the gym (WHOOP), headed over to campus for a late lunch at Grubby's, and more walking around before rehearsal started. As folks starting trickling in for the Alumni Choir rehearsal there were many SCREECHES, HUGS, HAIR FLUFFING, HANDSHAKES, HIGH FIVES, and general EXCITEMENT to see people for the first time in...5 years? 8 years? 10 years? Then we all got on stage to make some pretty dang good music for old fogies...I think there were about 70 people that made it back, but from our little group back in the day, we probably had 10-15 and truly some of our bestest bestest best friends in attendance. (Nikki, Jaaron and Megan, Jenny, Steve, Marci E, Marci M, Amanda, plus others listed later...)
Thursday night was a really cool after-hours event at Speakeasy, which is an underground bar of an establishment in Rapid City. We had the whole place rented out, with drinks and apps, and spent some good time catching up. Then the party moved to Paddy O'Neils where of course everyone drank a LEETLE too much...with overtones reminiscent of being 21 but with the bodies of 30-somethings (the recovery in the morning was tough).
Speaking of mornings, Angela, Aaron, Jeff, and I all decided to go to Perkins on Friday morning to help our aging, dehydrated bones recover with pancakes, eggs, toast, coffee...it was perfect. We had a great time laughing about our lives, tearing up at some memories, and reconnecting.
Friday afternoon held more rehearsal time, and then THE BIG EVENT! Four choirs, over 100 singers...and in case you missed it, here's the encore:
Friday evening was an after hours black tie event at the Vertex bar, atop the Alex Johnson hotel. (More chatting, drinking, eating, and laughing!).
Sunday we had brunch with Jason and Bobbie again before heading home for Atlanta. Our flights went great - no issues - but we were mentally and physically exhausted.
It's overwhelming the deep love and respect I have for my friends from college. Even now, I look back at the weekend with a sense of longing, and also gratitude for the events and experiences that brought us all together. I miss you guys.