Tour 2014: Houston and Return to Princeton

The end of our tour is nigh! After a night filled with exciting stories from our home stays, we boarded the bus the next morning to head to the Galleria in downtown Houston. Our final installment of “Prairie Home Stay Companion” brought tons of laughs, envy, and overall enthusiasm for our friends’ evenings. We have never been so happy to come together than we were this morning! After spending some downtime at the large mall, we rode to our hotel for a brief period before we returned to Clearlake United Methodist for our final rehearsal and performance.
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Our rehearsal went quickly and dinner came before we knew it. Barbecue was our last hosted meal, with many light appetizers, sides, and peach cobbler with ice cream to cap it all off.
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Our stomachs filled, we ran upstairs to dress and came back down for our brief pow-wow before the concert began. Dr. Miller read no poetry, nor did he give us a motivational speech. He shared his love for us and his appreciation for such a successful tour, and we were brimming with gratitude. The performance was finished before we knew it.
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At the end, the women of Westminster Choir greeted Dr. Miller with smooches on his cheeks, leaving a delightfully placed mark.

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This concert brought an incredible surprise to me: a friend of my from my undergraduate days, whom I haven’t seen in about three years, surprised me at the concert. It’s amazing how music can bring us back together and friendships begin right where they left off.

We loaded the bus to go back to the hotel where we quickly changed for our annual end-of-tour banquet. This banquet consists of the Paper Plate Awards and the Westminster Choir toast. The Paper Plate Awards are voted by members of the choir and consist of categories like “Rookie of the Year,” “Most Likely to Sleep through a Zombie Apocalypse,” and “Choir Mom or Dad.”
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These are just a few of the many categories given to Westminster Choir members voted on by the choir. Tenor Justin Su’esu’e presented the awards and provided great laughs for the choir. After the presentation of the Paper Plate Awards, the toast came to cherish the memories made on tour. This is when members of the choir say what they’re thankful for, toast the choir, and express their gratitude for one another. Many tears are shed for the memories made during tour and throughout our time at Westminster Choir College. Our appreciation for one another burns brightly and spreads like wildfire. The joyful weeping is greeted with pleasant smiles and overflowing love for one another. This is what family is all about.

After the toast was finished, many of us celebrated the end of tour at a local spot with pleasant conversation and great drinks. The next morning brought an afternoon call to the bus where our bus driver Rich told us that, in all the years he’s driven for tours, he was incredibly thankful for this group of people. We knew he was a teddy bear at heart! We arrived the George W. Bush International Airport and began our travels back with acceptance and reflection.

As I sit on the plane and write this post, I’m reflecting on the successes this tour brought to all of us. Sure, the performances were magical, the memories unforgettable, but it’s not about traveling to distant lands or promoting the school’s name. It’s about refreshing the soul through the power of music. It’s about the beauty found in all walks of life, through every home stay and concert, through every interaction and social event. It’s about an appreciation for the opportunities given to us and a love for what we do as artists. I will never forget the family that I love and the reasons for why I sing. This tour has been a success because the choir has developed strong bonds with each other and our music, as have the members in the past. This is why we sing; these are the shoulders on which we stand. Thank you, readers, for taking this journey with us and accepting our song with open arms. Until next time.

 

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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