January 19, 2013

Tour Day 11

Last day of tour – no performances today, just a full day on the bus back to Princeton.  The call was early, and a good portion of the choir was upright just long enough to get settled in a seat to go back to sleep.   So soundly were some choristers snoozing that when we made the first coffee stop, Ryan Cassel, tenor, did not wake up to exit the bus.  Neither did any of his surrounding bus mates wake him.  When our driver, Rich, went back to check on the rear of the bus, Ryan gave him quite a start.  Ryan was pretty surprised, too, and a little disoriented to be the only student left! Rich and Ryan are always quipping at one another – they show their love through comedic insults.  Later, when we made our lunch stop, Rich made a special announcement for everyone to help make sure that Ryan vacate the bus, and we all had a good laugh.

To help cover food expenses on tour, Westminster provides a per diem – money per day to cover meals not otherwise supplied.  At the start of the tour, Johnny Wilson and Kyle Van Schoonhoven started yelling things whenever we would stop, like ‘Gonna get some Starbucks with my PER DIEM!’ or ‘Gonna get some cheese curds with my PER DIEM!’  Imagine the announcer yelling ‘Are you ready to RUMBLE?’ and you can audiate the specific inflection of these outbursts.   After a while, this was shouted so often and in so many instances, that the outburst evolved to something like “lululululuululuul PER DIEM!” We can add this to the concert program as part of the soundtrack from the 2013 tour.  

We gave Rich one final prank before the day was out.  During our lunch stop, somehow nearly everyone in the choir had rose petals, and Lena Andreala, alto, had a large decoration made from hearts with plenty of sparkle.   It worked out nicely that everyone walked to the bus before Rich, and sprinkled the petals up the stairs and around his seat, and the decoration was placed on the windshield.  Although I didn’t see his face, I know he was grinning like a gruff teddy bear.  When he got on the microphone to make an announcement, he said he knew it was me!!  I swore and will swear again that I didn’t carry ANY of those rose petals or the decoration on the bus. 

We started singing portions of our concert when we pulled on to Route 1 – almost home!  The Nunc Dimittis started with a few voices, and exploded to the entire bus almost instantaneously.  We rocked out to Kalinda, and I was thinking of all of our nights dancing.  When we arrived back into Princeton, the BBC (Back of the Bus Chorale) began the traditional Amen chorus, a la Lilies of the Field.  Thick textured harmony prevailed, and this rendition had all the key changes (purposeful!) that one could reasonably want (or unreasonably, now that I think about it.  A half step on every iteration can be a lot to ask of a high soprano.  No complaints from this mezzo, though. )  We unloaded the bus, tired and happy, sad to say farewell to this journey but looking forward to our own beds and to the Homecoming Concert!

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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