We haven't quite yet got our bags packed for the Christmas concert tour which begins in Fairfax, Virginia on November 26. But there will be barely time to digest our Thanksgiving turkey before we're off to the other coast to begin our Christmas tour - two performances in Virginia on Thanksgiving weekend, followed by our traditional 3 day stand ( 2 concerts each evening) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, then Carmel, Indiana before our also traditional 2 days in Chicago where the Chicago Symphony Orchestra presents us at 4th Presbyterian Church. Then home for our many performances around the Bay Area.
You might think it's far away until you see the sight above, which signals the beginning of our Christmas merchandise season. Lots of "Our Favorite Carols" going out the door, as well as pre-orders for "Love Story" -this year's live concert recording- which is now available. Orders are relayed from the phone, but mostly from our Digital Storefront, and packed up by our faithful volunteer Evelyn, who has been helping us around the office since l990. Like everyone who has something to sell at Christmas, we hope the pile awaiting the mailman gets bigger and bigger. It usually does.
Meanwhile the Merch suitcases ( aka the Penguins) were readied for intense use - at Christmas and on the big European tour which follows in January and February. Each of these bags is carried by one of the "Merch Team" - this year Adam, Ben, and Matthew K.-who are our sales force on the road.
Fixing the Penguins became a group task by our multi-talented, multi-tasking work force which eventually involved Education Director Ben Johns, Operations Manager Curt Hancock, and Brian Hinman ( tenor and Road Manager.)
Everybody upstairs has Christmas related tasks - from taking record and ticket orders, to selling CD's, to staffing the performances. For our part, we just have to get there ( hopefully without incident - although on the E. Coast in early December you never know, and going to Los Angeles can also be tricky) and sing them! As we say, sometimes easier said than done. Our fingers are always crossed.
Downstairs, we spend a rainy afternoon going through Steven Stucky's haunting version - from his "Cradle Songs" -of the traditional Polish carol, Lulajze, Jezuniu with Dale Warland.
Something tells us it will be Christmas before we know it.