I went down to Santa Cruz today for a shape note convention. It was a really different experience to sing with about 60 other people, as opposed to the dozen or so who show up to the local sings. It was also pretty different to sing for 5 hours instead of two, but I tried to go a bit easier on my voice, and drink more water and everything. During the lunch break I actually got to talk to a few people about taking care of your voice, doing warm-ups, and expanding your range. That was good because I really don't know anything about how the voice works, so I don't know what to do to do it right. I also got my own copy of The Sacred Harp, which is the book everybody sings from, and a few CDs, including Barry and Shelley Phillips doing instrumental arrangements of shape note songs. The singing was a lot of fun, as usual, and I also felt like I was getting a bit better at reading the music (though that may have been simply an effect of having lots of good people around me singing the same part).
It was also nice just to be back in Santa Cruz, albeit briefly. There was even some nice morning fog to greet me when I got there. That's not really the sort of thing you get around here in Palo Alto. I spent most of the day inside singing of course, but after it was over I spent a bit of time walking around downtown and poking my head into places like Logos, Gateway, and Bookshop Santa Cruz. I also went by the harbor and "our" beaches before heading home. It felt like it had been a long time since I had seen any of those places. On the way back over the hill I hit all the tourist traffic, which was a bit of a pain. But then, I'm just spoiled from my years as a native, when we would always be traveling opposite all the weekenders. Anyway, all in all a good day.