Firstly, I have to say it was a pleasure to meet Tony award winning producer Louise Beard and to spend time in her house in Birmingham. She told me that she reads the blog and that she was happy to see how small I am in real life (I really am quite small). Thank you for your incredible hospitality Mrs. Beard!
On to Atlanta. We stopped for lunch in this amazing modern market place with lots of interesting food choices and shops. We chose to slurp up some delicious ramen noodles (I’m afraid I am one of those terrible people who is unable to use chopsticks, I’ve tried multiple times but alas, I cannot get the hang of it).
There was plenty of time to rehearse once we arrived at the church, and so we spent some time working in detail with Kim Arnesen’s Even when he is silent. We went into depth into the meaning of what we were singing. The text he uses was found on the wall of a concentration camp, words that hold on to hope, love and faith even when life is dark and isolated.
I believe in the sun even when it’s not going shining.
I believe in love even when I feel it not.
I believe in God even when he is silent.
We talked about the text itself, as well as what Arnesen’s setting of the text adds to the meaning. We don’t simply want to sing well in this program. We are trying to communicate and to connect with the people who give their time to watch us perform.
As a result, the performance that night felt stronger in terms of emotional connection, particularly in the Arnesen piece. Sadly, we have some nasty illnesses going round, and not all of us were well enough to perform the whole program, but we are doing our best to just keep calm and carry on!
Matt Van Dyke, a conducting graduate and Westminster choir member from last year, came along to our concert, and it was so nice to see him again and catch up briefly. Congrats again on the wedding! Our homestay was at a lovely house with the lovely Cindy, and we managed to get boring life things like laundry done while we were there. Clean clothes are important!
The next day was mainly a travel day, but first we stopped off for a high school clinic with a very talented young choir at Starr’s Mill High School. Watching Dr. Miller working with the high school kids is truly like seeing a wizard at work with the sounds he’s able to encourage from them! I hope we were able to give them an insight into how choral music can be dynamic and engaging as an art form.
They very kindly provided us with a choir’s worth of Chick-fil-A and with that we were on our way to Tampa, Florida for the FMEA conference. The journey took seven hours by bus, so I found myself alternating between restless and fidgety, to fast asleep. What was amazing was our stop off for coffee once we were in Florida. January in the U.K. is nothing short of miserable weather and temperature wise, so I had never experienced such pleasant weather like this in the winter. We’d had such a cold time for the rest of the tour that the warm weather was both exciting and thoroughly confusing.
The first evening in Florida was a relaxing one; no concerts to perform but a new area to explore. I can just tell that Florida is going to be a blast…
Today I will smile at everyone I meet
– Atlanta audience member