Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tour 2010 Day 10

Day 10:  Oh, my.  Checking out of the hotel was complete chaos.  We had to be on the buses heading to church by 7:30.  Kids who were up most of the night did not exactly rally this morning.  A few forgot to re-set their watches and set their alarms an hour behind.  Breakfast wasn’t put out until the last minute, so there was a frenzy at the buffet.  After boarding and doing a head count we realized we were missing about a half dozen kids.  Some were literally rolled out of bed and onto the bus.  After we arrived at the church, some chaperones went back to the hotel and retrieved two large bags of left behind items - clothes, cell phones and some other rather interesting items.  

From 2010 Tour - Day 10
We sang and performed for two services at First United Methodist Church in Lexington.  We only had 15 minutes to unload the instruments, set up and prepare.  It was quite a scene.  We were pretty worried - especially looking at the fatigue on the kids’ faces, their rumpled shirts, uncombed hair and sneakers that replaced dress shoes (which aren’t exactly lost but could not be immediately located).  But these kids never fail to amaze us.  When it is show time, they are on the money every single time.  Getting through two sermons was a challenge for some, especially when the choir loft faced the congregation and their every yawn and head bob could be seen by everyone.  For those seated directly behind the pastor it was especially difficult - and it was all captured on video.  During the second service we were actually asked to do an encore.  As the pastor put it, “Please sing one more anthem - their faces just don’t look like this when I preach!”  
After we have a quick lunch we will be packing up one last time and heading for home.  Exhausted, exhilarated and spiritually charged.  Amen to that!

Click Here for Pictures of Day 10

Tour 2010 - Day 9

Day 9:  Amazingly, we made it through the night without incident, were checked out and on the road less than an hour behind schedule.  It was a rather long ride through Tennessee and across the Kentucky border.  We also rejoined the EDT zone, losing the hour we had previously gained.  Most of the kids made great use of the time to catch up from just a little bit of sleep deprivation.  Several hours into the trip we were in significant need of a rest stop, so we pulled off the Bluegrass Parkway in search of facilities.  After a fair amount of searching we found a Marathon gas station, literally in the middle of nowhere, with exactly two “facilities.”  We made two orderly lines and raided the convenience store.  Forty-five minutes later we resumed our journey.  We lunched at the lovely Masterson Station Park in Lexington, KY.  Pre-ordered boxed lunches were waiting for us when we arrived and they were quite delicious.  
It was only a short ride to the Kentucky Horse Park, a sprawling and immaculately manicured park described by the locals as “The Jewel of Kentucky.”  It was really very interesting, with lots of exhibits and horses of all varieties.  Many of us took the horse-drawn trolley, pulled by two massive draft horses, to get the lay of the land.  The Hall of Champions was a big hit.  The “horse people” loved meeting the celebrities - Cigar, Funny Cide, Da Hoss, Gypsy Supreme.  The who’s who of winning horses.  There are a number of former champions buried here also, including Man O’ War.  Lots of equestrian events are held at the park in various show rings, stadiums and arenas.  There is also a jumping complex, a steeplechase course and dressage complex.   It is really a lovely park - and thankfully many of the exhibits were indoors.  The sun was brutal!  
Our next venue was a little different for us.  We had the privilege to sing at the Cathedral of Christ the King, a very large Catholic church in downtown Lexington  The church was not only spacious and beautiful, its acoustics were amazing.  We had a smaller than usual audience but they were so appreciative.  Every person who was there was touched deeply.  Several approached us to ask about buying CD’s.  Some very generous donations were made.  They all approached us to ask more about our youth music  program.  One elderly couple had met us at the horse park while we were waiting in line for the trolley.  When we told them we were performing a Christ the King, they lit up and said they might try to be there.  Not only did they come, they sat in the front row, led the standing ovations and lingered to lavish their praises on us.  This was probably our best concert so far, and even better because we know how deeply meaningful it was to those who were there.  

From 2010 Tour - Day 9
Another night in a hotel, this time the Best Western.  We somehow seem to catch our second wind no matter how tired we are.    Never too tired to swim, socialize, play cards and talk the night away.  It’s hard to go to bed when we’re having such a great time, especially on our last night of the tour.  It was a very late night! 

Click Here for Pictures from Day 9