Among the wise redwoods; atop a hill lined with narrow roads; brown shingle buildings dot the steep terraces, blending in with the forest. This is St. Dorothy’s Rest: a respite from the bustle of the day to day and a time to put aside our devices so we may look at the world around us – there is such beauty. This year’s Winter Retreat hosted all age groups, from our Cantori choir and Elementary Day Schoolers, to high school due to post-storm constraints at the site. It went great!
As an alumni of the after school program (Minstrels – Changed Voices/Continuum; 2007-2018), retreat was on a shortlist of things I absolutely refused to miss every year. As a younger chorister in Cantori/Trouveres I looked forward to the games and fun topography of the site – you haven’t really played capture the flag until you’ve done it here! Growing older, as a high school chorister in Changed Voices and Continuum, I looked forward to the dedicated time spent with peers and the unique opportunity to have such in depth rehearsals.
This year’s combined Winter Retreat had all of this and more! Following morning rehearsals and a great game of “Jailbreak” on Saturday, lunch was served and appetites were properly satiated. A post-lunch rest period gave choristers time to relax, and some structured free time after allowed for ample homework time and/or indoor game time. Following dinner, a larger combined choir rehearsal allowed for great work on Misa Criolla, which was a great opportunity to finally reveal that we will be traveling to Spain this summer!
The second night of retreat is traditionally movie night. If you ask any chorister that’s been on retreat, they’ll tell you Steel Magnolias is a must see, as it is what we tell them we will be watching until the moment of viewing. This year, for those under the age of 13, the movie actually shown was Hayao Miyazaki’s “Howl’s Moving Castle” and for those 13 or older (and brave hearted), we had an optional viewing of the PG-13 horror/thriller movie “Insidious”, directed by James Wan. This film is a spine-tingling journey into the paranormal as a family battles to save their comatose son from the grasp of malevolent spirits. On Sunday morning, after sleeping in a little, a delicious breakfast and final game of Capture the Flag, we headed back to Oakland.
It was a true pleasure to direct retreat this year, and I cannot stress how thankful I am to our wonderful parents for sending your children on this excursion. I’ve heard great feedback already, and I hope to continue to hear more. We took many pictures at Retreat. However if your child came home with a Polaroid photo of some kind, please thank Sean Hammond, who was our self-appointed photographer in residence for Retreat.