Tuesday, March 27, 2012

day seven: fort dodge

My step-dad was kind enough to take some actual photos of the choir performing at their concert in Fort Dodge. Here are some photos before, after, and during.
before going onstage.
the lovely grand view music table set up at every concert.

Lois, accompanying the choir.
performing in St. Paul's sanctuary.
a section of the audience - this was one of our most well-attended concerts.
choir members having dinner with host families after the concert.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

day ten: home

Ten days and ten concerts later, the Grand View choir has returned to Des Moines. Posts from the rest of the trip will be on their way - I wish I could have uploaded them sooner! I'll be posting lots of pictures and videos to make up for it.  I'd like to send out a huge, giant thank you to all the readers out there. It's appreciated beyond belief.
The Grand View choir will be closing out their spring program with a home concert at Memorial Lutheran Church on the Grand View campus Sunday, April 1 at 3 p.m. If anyone's in the Des Moines area, I invite you to hear the choir. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

day five: beatrice

The Grand View Choir made the jump to Beatrice, Nebraska (make sure you pronounce it bee-at-rihs, unlike me for half the trip...). Upon arrival at St. John Lutheran Church, we had an hour to explore the church, relax, or check out the neighborhood. Most of the choir took the opportunity to explore, while some hung back and did hair while watching A Very Potter Musical.
We had a little bit of an off start to the concert, but after dedicating intermission to focusing on the task at hand, we had another successful concert.
Dr. Duffy said, "We had a rocky start, but you did a great job getting it together and pulling it together for a great concert."
That night, the girls and three lucky guys from the choir were treated to a stay in the Victorian Inn Hotel - many members of St. John's were either elderly or had small children at home so they weren't able to host students for the night, but were more than willing to donate for hotel rooms. Although I did miss being spoiled by host families, it was a nice change-up from the routine.

We're on our way to my good 'ol home town of Fort Dodge, now.  New posts will be sure to come when we arrive in Fort Diggity.  :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

day four: st. joe

The Grand View Choir is in Missouri -- the state, not the state of mind.  In fact, they're really having a wonderful time.  After our extended stay in Iowa City, we made the approximately four hour drive to First Lutheran Church in our first city in another state - St. Joseph, Missouri: a nice town with a lot of great history to its name. We were really feeling good about the space when practicing. At intermission, all the choir members seemed to be feeling pretty good, and murmurs of 'this is the best we've done so far' could be heard (and definitely echoed in my own thoughts) throughout the choir during intermission.
More updates on concerts will be on the way!

Here are some photos from our lovely stay in Missouri:
Dr. Duffy asking questions from the Iowa Trivia book.
It's become somewhat of a tradition on spring tour.

hair party with: Steph, Constance, Joslynn, Alyssa, and Ali

Outside the Pony Express museum.

Ali, inspecting historical documents.

Dollie, caught in a lightning storm.

Nick Watson, pumping water like a professional.

Ali, Dr. Duffy, Rachel, and Amanda, checking out the displays

Amanda's really, really excited to be on saddle.

Lois Harms, the choir's amazing accompanist,
posing for a picture because her husband would never believe it.

playing dress up at the Pony Express museum.

day three: iowa city

After a night with wonderful host families in Clinton, we came back to Zion Lutheran Church to perform a few songs at their 8:00 and 10:30 services. The choir performed Wie Lieblich Sind Deine Wohnungen, Be Not Afraid, and Zion's Walls. Prepped with sack lunches, we hit the road toward Iowa City.

After about an hour's drive, we made it to Christ the King Lutheran for our first afternoon concert of the week. The church had cozy space for the sanctuary, ensuring the choir didn't have to work hard in order to be heard.

We found out the music director for the church who played a huge part in putting the details of our concert together, Kurt Juhl, was a Grand View alumni. It was great to know we have these connections to Grand View all over the place.

Since our concert was so early in the day, we got the chance to spend some extra time with our host families. Amanda Flattery, Danielle McKinney, and myself stayed with a family who used to own a camping site, and still live on the property. They dusted off the golf cart and let us take it for a spin around the grounds. The next day on the bus, everyone else had nothing but good things to say about the time spent with their families.

Rachel Dachenbach had a lovely time chatting with her host family, telling random stories and laughing.
"We had, in my opinion, the best host family we've ever had," Rachel said. "We only moved to get brownies and ice cream and iced tea."
Jay's host dad played the mandolin, banjo, and guitar.  The banjo belonged to his father in the 1920s, and he brought out a 1960s 4-string Gibson guitar, a rare find. His host dad admitted he hadn't played in a while, but as soon as he started playing, it was evident his talent still existed within. "It was just great to see a fellow musician," Jay said.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

day two: cedar rapids art museum & clinton

The choir had a pretty nice St. Patrick's day.

I completely forgot to mention our lovely host mom for the evening in my last post. Constance, Monica and I had a relaxing night with Kris, and Romeo and Jasmine, her two super cute cats.
 It's a tradition on the bus to pass around the mic and share host family stories. Ali Hook and Lizzy Feilmeier were excited to share about their host family. A rare occurrence in March, their family had a bonfire for them and made s'mores. Dollie Pinnegar was also excited to share that her host family's house had a secret passageway. I'm looking forward to hearing more interesting stories about the brave families that choose to take us in for the night.

Monica got to spend a little quality time with one of our host-cats.

Host family's provided sack lunches for choir members to take the next day;
Ali and Lizzy easily had the most unique sandwiches on the bus.

While still in Cedar Rapids for the morning, we took a field trip to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, home of a fantastic Grant Wood (of American Gothic fame) exhibit. We had about half an hour before the museum opened for the day, so most of the choir spent that time in the sculpture-type garden right across the street – giving me the perfect opportunity to capture photos of everyone in their festive St. Patrick's Day outfits.

Keyla Spahr and Ryan Scott looking exceptionally green.

Alyssa has her host family to thank for the shamrock head band.
Fun fact: March 17 was Alyssa's 19th birthday. :)
Leah Scharfenberg, Lizzy Feilmeier, myself, Joslynn Martin, Stephanie Venner,
Katie Striegel, Ali Hook, and Alyssa Phillips
Jay Peasley and Ali Hook - the classiness level of this photo is off the charts.
We had a little over an hour to explore the museum. Along with Grant Wood, the museum housed an exhibit dedicated to local artists, art in Roman life, and some photography. 
Jay, honing his art appreciation technique.
After the museum, the choir took to the bus for the road trip to Clinton, Iowa.  With Ali Hook, a Clinton native, as our informal tour guide, we spent some time before our concertat Eagle Point park, one of Clinton's most famous points of interest. It was an absolutely gorgeous park with a great view of the Mississippi river. And did I mention it had a castle?
Once we completed our exploration of Eagle Point, we got down to business at Zion Lutheran Church.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

day one: cedar rapids

Spring tour 2012 has officially begun. At approximately 1:35 p.m., we were sent forth by President of Grand View Kent Henning and Pastor Russ Lackey from Luther Memorial Church on campus.
 President Henning stepped on the bus and gave the choir an eloquent send off, utilizing the in-bus microphone system. He spoke about the choir's power to impact everyone we come in contact with, and what's in store for these choir kids over spring break.
"There will be a lot of joy, a lot of time together, a lot of silliness," he said with a laugh.

silliness - exhibit a.
Constance Jones and Monica Bollenbough just before warming up for the concert.

Speaking on our concerts, he said, "You make a real impact on your audiences,"
Henning's send off made me remember something I often forget -- that choir is so much bigger than the individual self. It's about the group of people you share the music with -- fellow choir members and the audience.
The mic was passed to Pastor Lackey, who spoke some comforting words to the choir.
"I know when you go, in God's name, God goes with you."
He lead the choir in the lord's prayer, benediction, and a spirited "go vikings!" -- with that, we were officially seen on our way.
Lizzy Feilmeier and Ali Hook are pretty stoked to be on this bus.

In the experienced hands of our driver, Arnie Mills, who's been taking the GV choir all around the country for years (even before Dr. Duffy, our choir director, has been conducting the choir), we made it to First Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids around 3:30 p.m.  Everyone was impressed upon walking into the sanctuary -- and the acoustics of the space were equally as impressive as the church itself.
After practicing in the sanctuary and getting used to the space, members of the church had prepared a super delicious dinner for the choir to enjoy.
At 7:30 p.m., we had our first concert of the week. With a set-list comprised of about twenty songs, the choir sang to a modest audience of over forty people.

Overall, everyone was pretty satisfied with our performance for the first night.  Of course, first performances are never as perfectly perfect as we'd like -- room for improvement is a given.
Monica Bollenbough, soprano senior member of the choir has some previous tour experience to compare. "This may be the most prepared we've been for a first performance on tour," she said.
The Grand View Choir will be hitting up Cedar Rapid's Museum of Art tomorrow, then making their way to Clinton, Iowa for a concert at 7 p.m.
Keep checking back for more updates on the journey.