40 for 40: Day 6

I hope you have been enjoying this unique look down memory lane. Today, we are switching gears, and I want to take you to far off lands. I want to take you to Denver, Colorado.

Okay, so it's not quite the far off lands you were expecting but this story has a few twists and turns that we will explore over the next couple of days.

When I was seventeen, I auditioned for a Christian music group called The Continental Singers. They toured the United States, Europe and other parts of the world. I filled out my lengthy questionnaire to be a sound person.

For a few years, I had been running sound at my church. In fact, everything I learned about sound, I learned from Ron Thurow. He got me into it, and much like my story about Don Vulich, his training would help me lead my sound team with the Agape Singers several years from now.

Back to our story.

I found out in early April of 1993 that I had been selected to be a sound person for one of the tours. There was just one slight glitch – rehearsal camp started two weeks before I graduated high school in Denver, Colorado. 

I petitioned the school to leave high school two weeks early and did much better on my final exams then if I had stayed. I packed my bags, said goodbye to my family and boarded a plane for Denver. 

I'm not going to lie; this was a little scary.  I had never traveled on my own, and everything was new. I was going to be staying in university dorms, and meet a ton of new people while putting in 14 hour days learning the new equipment.

Training started almost immediately. Hello, Tour A. We were going to travel throughout the United States, Canada, Holland and Kenya. That adage that says, “Lord, I will go anywhere, just please don't send me to Africa” – well, I was going. 

For one week, the sound, lights and media teams learned what they needed to do. I met some amazing people and to this day, I am still friends with a few of them.

Learning Setup-RC-Colorado

I was such a young pup.  We had to hook up the instruments, get the mics in place, set up the stage, connect the amps, and I had to figure out what this ADAT machine was supposed to do.

Sometimes it was a bit overwhelming, but like everything else, you adapt and fall back on your training.

Before I knew it, it was time to board a plane back to California for graduation. Some people didn't understand why I was going back, but when you work that hard, and it's your first “real” graduation, you want to celebrate it.

I left on June 16th right after final rehearsals to head home. My team would pack all my sound stuff and then I would meet back up with them right before the first concert just outside of Denver on June 18th. No rest for the weary.

Graduation


Graduation was such a blur. I flew in, slept a little bit and then headed to the school for the big event. I found out where I was supposed to stand and sit. And oh, by the way, your small group is singing a song at the ceremony so here's the music – good luck!

Huh?! I was barely functioning as it was and now all of this. Over the past two weeks, I was probably averaging 5 hours of sleep a night.

Oh well…you only live once.

There I was walking down the aisle in my cap and gown and taking it all in. That night my classmates would be at Disneyland enjoying Grad Night, and I would be sleeping because I had a 6 am flight back to Denver the next day.

It was official – I was now a high school graduate. Party!!!

Graduation

High School Diploma

All the hard work, leaving early and challenging myself during my four years were all worth it. So I said my good-bye's and wished everyone good luck and headed to dinner and home for a good night's sleep in my bed.

Denver Bound


The sky was still dark when I rose on June 18th and packed my bags for the next three months. That's right, I was hitting the road for three months on a bus traveling all across the country. 

The sun was just peeking through the clouds as a said my good-bye's to family and friends that morning. I had my garment bag with my tour outfits with me so I could change after I landed in Denver. 

As I walked through the doors at Burbank Airport and on to the tarmac, I was entering the next phase of life and heading towards a great adventure!

Leaving Burbank

Flying Away

There I went – off into the big blue sky and to the waiting arms of 35 other team members who were on their way via bus to the first concert of the tour.

Stories from the Road


One night the Assistant Director – Jay Kraft and I were at a host home, and we had to spend several hours repairing the sound snake just so that we could keep things going. There was a lot of soldering and a lot of cookies. When it was all said and done, we had a working snake for the day's concert.

Fixing a Sound Snake

Jay and our Host Family

Along the way, you meet some amazing people. This was our wonderful host family that served us cookies and made sure we had everything we needed to fix our snake. 

We loved this host family and had such a blast with them.

Me and Heidi at Mt. Rushmore

Mount Rushmore, baby – we had arrived! Heidi and I wasted no time checking out the faces from afar. We had some crazy style going on. Yikes – look at my hair – Big Wave Dave rides again!

Our version of the St Louis Arch

St. Louis Arch – we had been on the road for a few weeks now, and we had a little free time in St. Louis. We headed down to the arch and thought we would make our version of the arch.

We sorta got the idea of the arch, but the execution may have lacked a little something. However, our personalities more than made up for it. I am on the right on Kim's shoulders. Is something wrong with that picture???

 

Travel Excerpts from My Journal


Even back then I was a writer and looking back, I can't believe what I found important to write about, but I am glad that I wrote it all down. Here are some thoughts from the road during the first few weeks of the tour.

Travel Journal 1

Africa is Coming

Bound for Africa

Well….I thought I had written more about exciting adventures traveling around the United States, but I guess not.

As you can see, I was having a blast. I didn't have time to take a lot of snapshots during the concerts since I was little busy making people sound awesome!

Well…that brings us to our next destination…the land overseas. Tomorrow is another defining moment in my life journey. As a precursor, the header photo for today is a Kenyan sunset taken while traveling through the Rift Valley towards the Masai Mara.

[reminder]What are some of your best travel memories? Take a few minutes to jot them down and reflect on the great experiences you have had.[/reminder]

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I help facilities manager and planner create spaces that are backed by research, engage employees of all generations, and drive business objectives. I am also the founder of Dave's Book Club – a once per month reading experience designed to help professionals grow their influence.

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