This day began in a small church in Santa Cruz, a few blocks from the ocean. The morning was a kerfuffle of packing, assembling, and getting underway. The location of the church was ideal for our first concert; we had a mere fifteen minute bus ride to the location of the performance. Mountain Elementary, our port of call, was a small school in the Santa Cruz Mountains with an enrollment of less than 150 people. They were determined to be the best audience on our tour and certainly fulfilled that intention. The attitude, respect, and enthusiasm of the students were incredible, and the infectious positivity of the crowd spurred us on to one of our best performances. After the performance, we met some of the students, played some songs, and took some pictures. The faculty, especially the music teacher Ket, were very caring and kind to us, and urged us to come again as soon as possible.
Following the performance, we returned to the bus for the hour-long drive to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The route that we took provided gorgeous ocean views, bracketed by verdant groves of eucalyptus and sweeping vistas of salt and sand. The sun, which had so far been shrouded by clouds, shook off its mantle of mist and shone brightly, much to our delight. Upon our arrival at the aquarium, Kip and Esmé’s parents Elin and Andy provided us with lunch (we devoured delicious burritos the size of our heads). We split into smaller groups, and were unleashed upon the aquarium.
The lovely galleries and exhibits were a wonderful way to interrupt a schedule full of high energy concerts and long bus rides. After being on display in so many concerts, it was ecstasy to observe something calmly for a few hours. In the time we had, the aquarium was a veritable haven of beauty and majesty, and was loved by all. We loaded back onto the bus, and began the long drive to Los Angeles. The fields of strawberries and artichokes of costal California gave way to rolling hills, occupied by ranches and vineyards. The difference between the various areas is staggering, and provides an endless source of interest and discussion. The two members of our group who have lived in California before kept up a running commentary of the difference between the lush hills that we are seeing on this trip and the scoured land of the previous few years of drought.
Kip, Chris, Owen A, Owen K