ON THE ROAD WITH TOUR CHOIR #4
Tuesday, February 10
Dear families and friends,
Unbelievably, we have come to the final day of this 2015 Regional Tour Choir grand adventure! Over a year ago, I couldn’t imagine this day ever coming. The thought of learning fourteen national anthems, in fourteen different languages, was beyond comprehension. I took a leap of faith, knowing that my partners in this effort would be amazing – 72 extraordinary young ladies and gentleman, and an unparalleled team of colleagues. We leapt together, and have been flying high ever since.
For these first ten days, this Regional Tour Choir has exceeded our expectations in every possible way. They have grown as performers and friends, and especially as citizens of the world. They have conquered so many fears, on stage and off, in hotel rooms and in the community. A few of them are only 10-11 years old. They bravely left their families and have adapted to being on the road with 36 of their colleagues, hotel rooms every night, meals in restaurants/on the bus/in a conference room, keeping up with homework, 3-4 daily performances, and all of this while in the spotlight of the world. We could not be more proud of each and every one of them.
Yesterday brought a surprise when we were visited not only by the Slovenian reporter and camera man, but a Channel 9 news team. Cheryl Preheim came to our school show at St. Clare of Assisi in Edwards. They filmed parts of our rehearsal, the show, and did some interviews. Hopefully by now you have seen the results on Channel 9! The photographer also filmed us at the Medal Ceremony last night. He was at my feet, right down in front of the kids, as they finished the Slovenian anthem. The anthem is the end of the Medal Ceremony, always followed by some rockin’ music. Last night it was a Katy Perry song that the kids immediately started dancing to and singing along. The photographer filmed the end of the anthem, then kept filming as the kids went crazy, and he was totally charmed. He told me afterwards, “One minute they’re standing like angels, singing perfectly in Slovenian, and without dropping a beat they’re ordinary kids rocking out to Katy Perry!” I am so hoping that moment makes the cut for this afternoon’s Ch. 9 broadcast. Though I always have to remember that 60 minutes of filming turns into a 30 second clip! Speaking of interviews, watch the Fox31, 9:00pm, news on Wednesday the 11th. We did an interview with them before we left town last week.
Last night’s Medal Ceremony we celebrated Tina Maze from Slovenia again. We do love that Slovenian anthem! Here is today’s favorite email:
“Dear children, Thank you for singing the Slovenian national anthem so well. Not only that I am proud of our championess Tina Maze, but also your singing made me cry, of course in a positive way.
Greetings from Slovenia, Mateja”
In case you have lost count, the anthem score is Austria, 3; Slovenia, 2; and Switzerland, 1. Today it’s the Nation’s Team Event, starting at 2:00pm. We are eagerly awaiting the results, and selfishly hoping for a US win. It would be waaaaay-cool to go out with the “Star Spangled Banner.”
As I type, the kids are finishing up the last of their homework and working on journal entries. Many of them are really wonderful writers, as well as quite accomplished artists. We have also been sharing some of their favorite impressions of the tour – old friendships cemented and new friendships forged; the excitement of the opening ceremony; meeting new friends from around the world; being interviewed; working with local children; being recognized and hearing “congratulations” everywhere they go; THE SPOTLIGHT!!
Following tonight’s Medal Ceremony, we will hop on the bus and head down the hill, delivering this intrepid group back to their respective parents by 9pm or so. They will be back in school tomorrow morning, the same as two weeks ago, but changed in so many ways. We have talked with them about that transition…and not trying to dazzle their friends, classmates, and teachers with too much stardom!
They have worked diligently on their school assignments, as well as their journals. I hope their teachers recognize what they have accomplished, as their homework and journals tell the story.
As there is no Medal Ceremony Wednesday evening, we will not return until early Thursday morning when National Tour Choir will take their place in the spotlight. They will jump right in with school shows and a Medal Ceremony Thursday night. I’m willing to bet no one will have any idea we replaced one choir with another!! NTC will be here through Monday morning, with the final Medal Ceremony and Closing Ceremony Sunday evening. We will be performing with Hazel Miller and FACE during the Closing Ceremony, which will be held up on the mountain at Red Tail Stadium.
This just in…Austria wins the team competition, and with that we close the book on this chapter. I know they will rock the plaza again tonight. I will look each of them in the eye at my favorite moment of the tour, when suddenly the spotlight comes up on those 35 faces. My heart is full with gratitude and admiration for each and every one of these remarkable young people, and I will never forget our time spent together on this journey.