Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Let's all get Mile-High

In exactly seven days, I — along with the other 100 or so active members of my chorus, Voices in Harmony — will descend on Denver, Colorado to compete in the Barbershop Harmony Society's International Chorus Contest.

It's been six years since I last attended International. My previous chorus, from which Voices in Harmony evolved via a merger with another Bay Area men's chorus, made three consecutive appearances at International — Anaheim (1999), Kansas City (2000) and Nashville (2001) — finishing as high as 16th. VIH approaches its first-ever International ranked seventh, and we're working like mad to climb into the top five.

Obsessive soul that I am, I like to find out as much as I can about places to which I plan to travel. Thus, I've been combing the 'Net for the past several weeks, learning the ins and outs of Denver. My family and I passed through Denver once on a cross-country auto trip back in the 1970s, but this will be my first substantive visit to the Mile-High City. So far, here are some of the more intriguing infonuggets I've plowed up.
  • Denver was founded in 1858, and named after James William Denver, the governor of what was then the Kansas Territory. The idea was that naming the town after Governor Denver would predispose the bureaucrat to designate the newly populated burg as a county seat. By the time the news of his namesake reached the governor's mansion, however, Mr. Denver was already out of office.

  • At the turn of the 20th century, Denver was the third-largest city in the American West, after San Francisco and Los Angeles. Today, it ranks 27th in population among U.S. cities, although Denver International Airport is the fifth-busiest in the country and tenth overall in the world.

  • Denver's professional basketball (the Nuggets) and hockey (the Avalanche) teams play their home games in the Pepsi Center, the same venue where our International contests will be held. I am not certain whether there will be a blind taste test at the door.

  • The 2008 Democratic National Convention will also be held in the Pepsi Center. Apparently, Republicans prefer Coke.

  • The University of Denver boasts a number of prominent alumni, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; Peter Morton, founder of the Hard Rock Café; Peter Coors, CEO of the brewing enterprise that bears his family name; and the comedian known as Sinbad (whose real name is David Adkins, and who, to the best of my knowledge, has never been a sailor).

  • The late country-pop singer John Denver was not actually a Denver at all. He was born Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. On the other hand, Robert Osbourne "Bob" Denver, the guy who played Gilligan, was a genuine Denver, although not from Denver (he was born in New Rochelle, New York).

  • In 2005, Denver became the first major American city to legalize the personal possession of less than an ounce of marijuana for personal use. But I believe it was known as the Mile-High City long before that.

  • I was shocked to discover that you do not get officially inducted into the Mile-High Club by having sex in Denver. Apparently, you have to do it on an airplane, many of which travel at altitudes far higher than a mile. I'm not clear on why that is, but I'm told that those are the rules.

Labels: , ,

2 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Sank offered these pearls of wisdom...

OK, Now I'm getting curious about similarities... I spent 4 years singing barbershop in Stockton years ago. Miss it now..

5:18 AM  
Blogger SwanShadow offered these pearls of wisdom...

Sank: Did you sing with the Portsmen? It is indeed a small world. Their current director's son is a member of our chorus (albeit inactive; he's focusing on becoming a world-class quartet lead).

There's sure to be a barbershop chorus within driving distance of you. You should drop in on 'em sometime.

11:57 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home