After lunching in historic and scenic St Augustine, we boarded the bus and headed through Ocala National Forest to our host church in The Villages. Normal bus falderal ensued - greetings, lunch reports, Tom Baldridge reporting historic facts commingled with fake news to hone our skills of discernment.
We understand there are 900 holes of golf to be played in The Villages - you may guess it’s a retirement area. Hope Lutheran Church, where we sang, had a section of their parking lot designated for golf carts.
We unloaded just our concert attire and instruments since we weren’t spending the night there. Everybody always explores the churches when we arrive, and there were many places to check out in this large facility. In the sanctuary, some met Jimmy the AV person, who offered to let Adam Lenker use their three video cameras and audio system to record the concert. We’ll see how it turned out, but Adam delighted with all the state of the art equipment. You should have seen him!
A small group of guys has also been practicing a song on their own, which they did for 15 minutes during free time before the dress rehearsal.
Our group was showing signs of fatigue when we gathered for the dress rehearsal, so we stretched and breathed and tried to awaken our bodies. It worked, mostly. We had time to practice Order My Steps and Child of God with Carol Worrell doing some conducting. It was like a little conducting workshop for her with an awesome choral group, so it was a time of learning for all.
Dinner was cheeseburgers, fries, coleslaw and brownies and ice cream for dessert. They served Arnold Palmers (tea and lemonade mix) because that’s just what you do when you live in a retirement and golfing capital.
The concert went well and was well attended. The choir adjusted well to singing in a space that is designed more for speakers and microphones. Steve played piano all night - not organ. We think they appreciated the Chichester Psalms, but some may have been in shock. The Chichester Psalms treble soloists and solo ensemble are owning it! Troy Moskowitz and Brian LaRosa shared the solos at beginning of Child of God, and Lucas Martinho and Jonathan Works are leading prayers and reading as part of the concert. The audience really settled in and warmed up as we shared What a friend we have in Jesus and some other favorites - Bryce Taylor really worked the crowd in his solo, and Torie Brooks soloed as well.
Pastor Mark announced the offering to benefit UMCOR, and $550+ was collected. We greeted audience members after the concert and discovered that the Snell’s (as in the people who started DR Snell’s Nursery in Mt Airy) were at the concert. Several other neat connections were made.
We loaded back on the bus and headed to Orlando for a two-night stay at the Hampton Inn. An “after hours,” in the dark greeting featured seasoned greeted Annie Elliott and Scott Hembrough, because these extreme circumstances require people with experience!
We overwhelmed the hotel lobby a bit with our numbers and late night arrival, but everyone made it to their rooms and got to bed with visions of Islands of Adventure and Hogwarts Express dancing in their heads. Universal Studios on 6/19!
~ Polly Baldridge - reporting on morning of June 19 from the Starbucks (just finished my coffee) in front of Universal Studios before making the plunge into the park.