Friday and Saturday January 6 & 7

I know it been a few days, don’t blame me. We had some internet connection challenges, so I am doing two nights in one!

Friday. Friday morning I went to see the Grand Ole Opry, the original, with some others from the choir. It was neat. That hall has played such an important role in American music, so it was humbling to see the place where many stars got their start. The hall had beautiful acoustics; it’s said that they’re second only to the Mormon Tabernacle and better than Carnegie Hall. I don’t know about that, but after the backstage tour we sang the Lutkin to an empty hall. It was all right.

The tour ended around 11, and we had until 2:30 to do whatever we wanted. So I got on the public transit and went toward Vanderbilt University to Centennial Park to see the Parthenon. It was a near perfect replica. Who needs the acropolis when you’ve got Nashville? While I was on the bus a man asked me if I was a doctor. I was flattered, but I told him I was simply a music education major who is going to be a teacher after I graduate. He asked what instruments I played, and I told him that I study singing. He then asked if I sang like Michael Buble or Mariah Carey. I assured him I sound like Buble. “That’s my man,” he said. Yes, that’s me.

We left at 2:30 for St. George’s Episcopal Church, just outside of Nashville in Belle Meade.

It was a lovely neighborhood, and the church was absolutely gorgeous. It was really comfortable and the acoustics were stunning. My favorite place we’ve sang in so far. I can’t even explain what an honor it was to sing in that space for that audience. They had great energy and really appreciated our concert.

After the concert we had a homestay. Ryan Brown, who is a bass in the choir, a fellow sophomore and shares the same birthday with me [March 25th], and I stayed with a lovely women and her husband. She sang in the church choir at St. George’s and also sang with the Nashville Chamber singers and a Baroque choir. She really knew about choral singing and was so appreciative and interested in our performance. She had a lovely home, and Ryan and I appreciated her opening it up to us. Also, I loved her cat Jack who shared the bed with me.

Saturday morning Ryan and I had breakfast at our homestay overlooking the Natchez Trace and gorgeous mountains. I wouldn’t mind waking up to that every morning. Tennessee is a beautiful place.

After waking up at 5:30, having breakfast at 6:30, we left on the bus left at 7:30. We watched The Help and after four hours we arrived in Oxford, Mississippi. Dr. Miller and Ryan Cassel played a little basketball in the parking lot of a shopping plaza. When we boarded the bus I started to get a migraine. It went away when we started to rehearse; that resonance must release some pressure in the head. Who needs Advil when you’ve got Rachmaninoff?

The Ford Center for the Arts at the University of Mississippi was a really nice large theater. The acoustics were very different from the night before. It took some time to get used to the change, but our choral technique came into play and things went smoothly. It always helps if we brush our teeth…

The audience was a much different demographic for the most part than at St. George’s. They were much younger. In the audience were some Westminster Choir College alumni. In fact, one was a student at Westminster under the founder, John Finley Williamson. It was so cool to sing for her.

A lot of good things happened at that concert. After the concert we met up with our homestays. Ryan and I had a wonderful homestay. A young couple, Jimmy and Molly, were remodeling their home. So, they dropped us off at her parents’ empty condo two blocks from the square (the center of town). So Ryan and I had a four-bedroom house to ourselves. We went into town and went into some shops then went back the house and watched a little television and went to bed. In the morning our homestay came to pick us up and bring us to the bus.

About Westminster Choir

Westminster Choir is composed of students at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, a center for music study in Princeton, N.J.
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One Response to Friday and Saturday January 6 & 7

  1. Jerri Clark Wagner says:

    Drew, thank you for publishing this blog about your choir trip. It has been fun to follow along. I’m also really impressed with how much you are packing in on your south of the Mason Dixon line tour. I was so happy to read the part about Nashville because that is where my brother lived much of his adult life and wrote many of his songs there and even worked at Opry Mills, so thank you thank you thank you for writing this. I am enjoying following along! All the best. You are a cherished person in so many people’s lives and I can tell why.

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