by Ruth Gaylord, Becketwood Member
As a member of Becketwood’s Excursion Committee, I suggested a trip to Winona to hear the renowned Dale Warland Festival Chorus as part of the Beethoven Festival in July 2016. To make that happen, we would need to stay overnight, though Becketwood had never before undertaken an overnight excursion. The reasonable questions were: How would we travel? Where would we stay? What would the cost be? I took on the challenge.
In April, I made the call to find out about ticket availability and tentatively reserved a section of seats.
The high cost of renting a luxury bus was out of the question. I found out that Brad, our bus driver, was available, and that the air-conditioning on our bus was in good repair, so I decided to shine up the windows of our own Becketwood bus and travel in style along the Mississippi!
I began calling around the Winona area for housing and, of course, hotels were too expensive. Then I thought of the two colleges in Winona. At St. Mary’s University I found reasonable prices, easy accessibility, and spotlessly clean rooms, with bathrooms for each room. We would stay in a fairly new dorm with two twin beds per room and have access to a party room besides! Our housing would be located very close to the concert site. Booked!
Food, of course, would be a big item. I checked with the St. James Hotel in Red Wing, a nice stop on our way, and found that they could provide lunch. Reasonably priced catering at St. Mary’s would provide the rest of our meals.
All this seemed quite possible to do at a per-person price below $200! So I put out a sign-up sheet and, within a few days, 32 Members had signed up.
We were a high-spirited group traveling down Highway 61 to Red Wing. After a delicious lunch at the St. James, we attended the Red Wing Summer Arts Festival, where we were delightfully surprised to find that Lisa Kildegaard, daughter of Fylla (a former Becketwoodian), was reading poetry from her newly published book. She was so pleased when she spotted us in the audience!
The Saturday evening concert proved to be all that we could have hoped for. Dale Warland himself conducted it in the newly renovated Chapel of St. Mary of the Angels on the campus of the former College of St. Teresa (my Alma Mater!).
After breakfast on Sunday morning we planned one more stop, at the Marine Art Museum in Winona. It is stunning and I highly recommend it to anyone traveling there.
We headed home on the Wisconsin side of the river with just enough time to stop for ice cream in Nelson, WI. The trusty old Becketwood bus chugged up and down the rolling hills without missing a beat. Thanks, Brad!
So, where shall we go for our next overnight trip?