Sunday, February 24, 2008

Alto Egos Entertain in Loreto, Mexico

It is a sunny warm day in Loreto and the weather and wind have finally turned warm! It was a rocking party at Del Borracho last night which I will write about next week. I want to express many thanks to my guest blogger, Drew McNabb of FN49. I am taking the day off!

After being a loyal reader of Nellie’s blog for several years, it is now my turn to be a Guest Blogger and give Nellie a well-deserved week off and her audience a different perspective to the “Loreto Experience”.

My wife Cathy and I are spending our first winter in our Loreto home, after taking possession just over two years ago. One of the questions that we get asked often, by people who do not live here is: “what do you do with your time”? To which, both of us have much the same response: “what time, we seem to be busier here than we were working back in Calgary”! While that may be a bit of an exaggeration, we do seem to keep remarkably occupied with the day-to-day necessities of living life in Loreto. Whether it is managing the frequent service visits of the different trades coming to our house to do their part of keeping our house a “hogar”, or the seemingly simple tasks of “hunting and gathering” that it takes to keep food on the table, but which occupies several hours, several times a week.

Having said that, there are some “golden memories” that are the special times that stand out in the very enjoyable routine that is our new life here. Some of these are simple moments of natural beauty, like a sunrise or sunset, seeing a hummingbird bathing in our fountain, or impromptu social events with new friends and neighbours, like a shared meal, an unexpected outing. But sometimes there is a really special event, like what happened here last week and is the real subject of my guest blog.


Back in Calgary Cathy has two singing partners in a trio they call the “Alto Egos” (www.altoegos.com). It has long been a dream of hers to bring her partners Melinda Kondrat and Lisa Cuthill together here in Loreto to perform together. Last Wednesday night was that special day! Originally the idea had been to take over Nellie’s Place for the venue, but when Nellie closed it late last year, we were looking for an alternative. It was in fact Nellie who suggested holding the “gig” here in Nopolo, at the Inn and she provided the introduction to Jorge Obregon, the Groups Manager who immediately agreed to help organize the event at the upstairs lobby bar last Wednesday night.


After exchanging several e-mails and having a preliminary meeting at the venue, Cathy was very impressed with Jorge’s professionalism and attention to detail. We were even more impressed when we arrived the evening of the event to find traditional paper-bagged candles decorating the entrance to the bar area and the fully dressed tables decorated with cleverly designed oil lamp centre-pieces with shades decorated with stylized pictures of the trio. Now that’s attention to detail! On a practical note, special electrical extensions had been provided to power the equipment and extra lighting installed.


We had sent e-mails to everyone we could get addresses for who were in residence in Loreto, and the Hotel added a notice to the information channel on the in-room and residence TV service. We had also put several handbills up around town where “Gringos” typically visited and spread the news by Lynn Hamman’s very effective email bulletin board of news and events affecting the ex-pat community in and around Loreto. But as we made the final preparations for the evening, the biggest question remained, who and how many would come?


We did have a special added feature for the evening that was literally “out of this world”. As fate would have it, last Wednesday was the night of a full lunar eclipse, a “heavenly” sign if there ever was one! With the generous assistance of friend and neighbour, Kelli McDill, we had the use of the largest telescope in Nopolo and were able to provide dramatic views of the eclipse throughout the performance, truly celestial icing on the cake!


Our uncertainty about numbers was quickly calmed, as a couple of dozen friends and neighbours were seated before the first notes were sung. These early birds were quickly joined by several dozen more, and within the hour there were well over 100 enthusiastic fans dancing, enjoying attentive bar service and great snacks by the Inn staff and, of course, the talents of the evenings entertainers, The Alto Egos! As an added benefit to a great evening of entertainment, we offered those attending an opportunity to make a contribution to supporting the Internado (residential) School in Ligui, about 20 km south of Nopolo, where the need is great and few sources of fundraising exist in the remote area around the school. At the end of the evening we were overwhelmed with the generosity of those attending, collecting over 6,500 pesos which will go a long way to providing some much needed extras to the students of Ligui!


After three sets, the completed eclipse cycle and one of the biggest nights of entertainment in the Inn’s history, the trio said good night to their newest fans, amid promises of a future return date, when the stars align again, the evening wrapped up with much enthusiastic praise and compliments from the fans. And so ended one of our most memorable nights in Loreto, and hopefully a model for many future evenings of fun and entertainment by other Loreto Bay residents.


Two things are certain, after our first attempt at organizing “home-grown” entertainment here in Nopolo; there is a great appetite for music and a fun opportunity for neighbours to get together, and the management and staff of the Inn are ready and able to help stage a first class event at that facility in the heart of Loreto Bay. Watch Nellie’s blog for news about future events!

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