Choir Boys as Sweet as, well, Choir Boys!
I am hanging out with the stars of the show tonight at the Chilkat Center. I am used to hosting entertainers, and catering to the needs of singers. Bluesman John Hammond liked fresh, yellow, un-blemished bananas (not always a sure thing in Haines) and Silver Oak Cabernet ( really expensive.) Bluegrass fiddler Vassar and his wife Millie Clements liked a sit down dinner after his Chilkat Center show, around eleven, and they slept till noon. I took David Mallet up to Rutzebeck Lake where he paddled the canoe. (Today I'm doing the country show on KHNS and will play one of my favorites from the Maine singer- songwriter.) Anyway, I was still anxious to please the trio and their chaperone staying with us for a few days, as my instructions included a hot breakfast at 8 am, before they headed off to meet school kids at 9, and we have been on the fruit-yogurt and Chip's homemade granola diet all summer. I hoped I could still make pancakes. (My daughters have taken over the big family breakfasts.) I pulled out the stops, if I do say so myself- cornmeal and banana pancakes, fresh home-grown chicken eggs, organic no-bad-stuff-in-it-except-pork-products-bacon, Greek yogurt, Stoli, Grandma Joanne and Eliza's newest raspberry jam, maple syrup, and groundnut butter. That is not a typo. That's what peanuts are called in Uganda and that's where these members The African Children's Choir are from (there are eighteen kids total.) My guests are three delightful little boys (10 years old) who say "please" and "Thank-you" and call me "Auntie" and Chip "Uncle", and who said grace before breakfast and asked to be excused when the meal was over (they ate everything) and then cleared their plates. Here is something else that was part of their hosting plan: they do not eat candy or much refined sugar at all (it is not good for their teeth or behavior and they are used to fruit as sweets) and they are not allowed any screen time. None. They turn their heads from a TV even, because there are violent, often disturbing images on screens that they don't need to see and because the idea is to experience the places and people they visit. (Perhaps these instructions should be tied to the big toe of American newborns before they head home from the hospital?) They all have books to read too. Real ones. Paperbacks. They played ball in the yard, skipped rocks on the beach, shot pool in the playroom, and loved seeing bears through Chip's binoculars. Tonight they will sing and dance and drum traditional music at 7:00pm at the Chilkat Center. Tomorrow night they perform at the Presbyterian Church, same time. The shows are free, donations are accepted for the choir's mission, which is to fund schools and sponsor students in Uganda.