Performance days are the best during Westminster Choir tour. The energy of the ensemble is overtly magnified, with all of our energy bubbling to present our musical journey to the audience. Another free morning brought later wake-up calls, breakfast served by the hotel, and quick runs through our music to jog our memories. We checked out of the hotel and wandered around downtown Tulsa until our call to rehearsal.
Our first performance venue was Trinity Episcopal Church steps away from our hotel. Tenor Chaequan Anderson and I grabbed a quick lunch from Jimmy Johns and relaxed around the church. I reconnected with my significant other via FaceTime (technology is a wonderful thing!), relaxed with other members of the choir, and ran through music before our rehearsal.
Our rehearsal began with a brief warm-up and a logistics run through of the second half of the program. Looking across the choir, you can absolutely sense the enthusiasm and excitement for our first performance. I’m the most emotional on performance days, and I cried during rehearsal of Elder’s Ballade to the Moon. After rehearsal, we we’re given a delicious meal of chicken, vegetables, pasta, and salad hosted by Trinity Church. We suited up, congregated with our fearless leader, and gave one of the best performances of our season. We connected with the audience, portrayed the story of our metaphorical women with ease and grace, and moved our audience to tears. Dr. Rick Bjella, director of choral activities at Texas Tech University and visiting artist this past semester at Westminster Choir College, sat in the front row for our performance. It was a wonderful surprise to see a familiar, glowing face in the audience!
Afterward, we met up with our first home stay hosts of the tour. Westminster Choir departed with families and friends of the congregation, and we nestled in for the evening. As I settled into my home stay with tenor Max Nolin and baritone Dominic Lam, I reflected on the beauty of the performance and why I let my emotions get the best of me during rehearsal. I can only think that all of the emotional necessities of life – need, sensuality, love, nurturing – are completely embodied in music. I connected with people in this ensemble who share such remarkable journeys and unique life experiences that transcend all understanding of our brief time on this Earth. I’ll never be able to return to those musical moments, but they will be forever cherished in my heart. We’re on to Oklahoma City in the morning!