Wednesday March 25: Today was the last day of activities for the 2015 choir tour. We woke up early and drove to Bristol, Connecticut from our hotel in Bradford to sing at Immanuel Lutheran Church. We sang at their Wednesday Lenten service and gave a short concert afterwards. The church was connected to the kindergarten through eighth grade school. It was a small school but they were welcoming and enjoyed the service and our concert! Next we drove to New Britain, Connecticut and sang at St. Matthews Lutheran School, another kindergarten through eighth grade. The school had been around for over 100 years and they had just over 40 students. Even though they were small they were so excited for us to come! They had been talking about us coming for months, the students drew signs for us and even gave an offering for our choir. As soon as we walked in all the kids saw us and got super excited! The school provided us with a fantastic spaghetti lunch too! We performed in their gorgeous sanctuary with great acoustics. And let's just say, we brought it for this concert! Every single member was focused and completely into the concert! Personally as a senior this was my last choir tour concert ever, so I gave it my all. You could just feel the emotion in the room, it was amazing! It was probably one of the best, most unifying experiences as a choir voice I have felt yet! After this awesome concert we drove to Boston and did the Freedom Trail. We split into two groups and were given a tour of the Boston area by costumed guides. We started in the Boston Commons and ended at the Quincy Market. I learned a lot of history and saw some cool historic sights, like the Massachusetts state house! Both tour guides were hilarious and made the tour super fun even with the cold weather! After this we ended the night by eating at the Hard Rock Cafe and jamming out to some awesome music! This choir tour has definitely been one to remember! We have all learned so much and have grown closer in our personal relationships with God, as well as each other. Now for a few hours sleep before our journey home! Lauren Curl, Choir Vice President
Tuesday March 24th: Today we had the privilege of going to two different but equally beautiful campuses: Concordia College and Yale University! We sang at the chapel service at Concordia, where they were celebrating the anniversary of the Selma-Montgomery March. The chapel was a beautiful space with some of the best acoustics we have ever sung in! Afterwards we had a masterclass with the Dr. Jason Thoms, the choir director at Concordia. We worked on a few songs and improved in the short time we had with him! After we had lunch (provided by Concordia) and took a tour of the campus. It was a beautiful campus. Afterwards we to drove to New Haven, CT and took a tour of Yale's campus. It was also a beautiful campus with old buildings...truly a quintessential New England experience! We had dinner and then attended a rehearsal of the Yale Camerata and Chamber Orchestra (http://ism.yale.edu/ensembles/yale-camerata). They were having their final rehearsal before the premiere a new work on Sunday. It was great to experience a working rehearsal with a graduate-level choir and see how it all worked. All in all it was a very educational day and very enjoyable. We are looking forward to our last two concerts tomorrow, as well as some free time in Boston before we head home on Thursday. It has been an incredible experience seeing the East Coast, but we are very much looking forward to coming home to you all! Blessings, Jon Vevia
Monday March 23rd: a quick update, as we are all very tired! We sang two concerts today, at Martin Luther MS/HS and Our Saviour Lutheran PK-12. Both were great concerts with great audiences! It is always amazing to be at other Lutheran schools around the U.S. and see how different, yet similar they all are. We finished our day with a walk through Central Park, seeing the sights and even stopping in a tunnel to sing Lux Aurumque! I feel so blessed to direct these amazing, talented, young men and women, and I am constantly inspired by them. This trip will be a powerful and wonderful memory for sure! We can't wait to sing at Concordia College tomorrow, and see a dress rehearsal at Yale University tomorrow night! Goodnight! Jon Vevia
Sunday March 22nd: What a day! We had a wonderful morning at Redeemer Lutheran Church in the Bronx. It was a beautiful, acoustically pleasant place to sing, and the congregation and pastor were most welcoming. We learned about being servants, and that we should, like Jesus, be a servant to others instead of asking others to serve us. It was a good reminder of why were are on this trip...to serve others by using the gifts God has blessed us with. God is good, all the time! They also treated us to authentic NY bagels...delicious!! Afterwards we went and saw the Lion King, which was AMAZING! The set and costumes are unbelievable! We are crashing at Our Saviour Lutheran School, a Pre-K--12th grade school and church, almost identical in size to us! Tomorrow we have two concerts, both at MS/HS and will then have time to walk around Central Park. Our kids are doing great, learning about city life and every day we see more ways God uses us!
Saturday March 21st: Day 2 of sight seeing was a blast! We started off the morning with a trip to The Statue of Liberty and got to see Ellis Island as well! When we got off the boat at Battery Park a nice man was there and he sang to us. He incorporated some of our names into his songs and even talked about some things from Oregon like the Ducks and Beavers. We then walked to the Stage Door Deli where we got to truly experience a New York City sub shop! It was slightly stressful, but fun overall! Afterwards we went to the 9/11 memorial and got to see the World Trade Center. It was a beautiful memorial and was a touching and rather emotional experience for a lot of us. We then got on the bus and drove through Chinatown which was pretty cool! The bus then took us to Lincoln Center, a hub of music and performing arts buildings, where we got to go on a tour of all three of the main performance venues and we even got to peek in on a couple of performances going on. When we finished the tour we drove across town, took some group photos with the skyline in the background, and split up into smaller groups for dinner. Overall we had another great day in NYC and we can't wait to see what tomorrow brings! :) Megan Clift, Choir President.
Thursday March 20th
Today was our first full day in New York! We started it off by singing at St. Marks Lutheran Church and School, which was mostly preschoolers, so we had a fun audience! Then we went to explore the town a bit. We went to St. Peter's Church and St.Patricks Cathedral. We got to see Rockefeller Plaza, the New York Public Library, and Grand Central Station. Next we split into groups and got to explore Times Square. Some of us saw M&M World, Hershey's, Midtown Comics, St.James Theatre, and much more! The hustle and bustle and crazy amounts of people was definitely a fun new experience! For dinner we went to Planet Hollywood! Today was so much fun as most of us experienced something completely new in a whole new city! The memories will last a life time! Thank the Lord for helping us get here safely and allowing us to shine for Him here on the East Coast! :) --Lauren Curl, Choir Vice President
Thursday, March 19th. It was a great day today! We had an EARLY morning and there wasn't too much grumbling...more excited anticipation! (although there was still a LITTLE grumbling...) We got through security with almost no mishaps and got on our first plane to Chicago. We had a 35 minute window of time to get to our next flight which turned into 20 minutes because it took so long for our plane to gate. Luckily our next gate was close and we made it just in time. We landed in Newark, New Jersey, met our bus driver, Luke, and headed to our hotel. We had delicious New York pizza for dinner and everyone agreed afterwards: we feel blessed but we're EXHAUSTED!! Looking forward to our first concert at St. Mark's Lutheran School in the morning, and then some time in downtown New York sightseeing St. Patrick's Cathedral, Grand Central Station, Times Square and more! Look for many picture updates tomorrow and thank you for your prayers! Jon Vevia
We made it safe to Portland! A few of us led worship on Concordia University's campus tonight at their student-run worship service. What a great way to start off the trip! It's actually run by a couple of our alumni, Calah Clift, Taylor Stichler and Kelsey Polk, so it was great to see them. Now everyone is trying to get a few hours of sleep before we leave at 4am for the airport!!! Thank you all for your support and prayers, we're about to be off!
Rehearsals have finished, shirts are in, the trip is paid for, and we are excited to get this tour going already!! In 15 hours we will be on our way to Portland to stay the night and fly out the next morning to New York. I am excited to explore the "Big Apple" with these students and to perform this set of music to the many students, teachers, church members, and other audience members we will meet along the way. I pray that God uses us to share His love wherever we go and that the students leave with memories that will last a lifetime. Check back often for updates!