Friday, March 23, 2012

Rhodes (Chamber) Singers Tour, Day 2

I believe you mean
"Welcome Home to Texas!"
Howdy from Texas!  Day 2 began with the rude awakening of my alarm clock at the unsightly hour of 5:30 AM. My colleagues - fellow director Bill Skoog and accompanist Debbie Smith - stayed at a hotel while our students stayed with families from St. Paul's UMC, so we had to return to the church to pick them up at 6:45 AM. Thank you for the graciousness of our host families who were willing and abel to rise early with our students. We hit the road for Texas promptly at 7:00 AM, and by 11:30 AM, we were entering the the DFW Metroplex. After a brief lunch stop in Rockwall, we made our way through downtown Dallas to Fort Worth Country Day, a private school in Ft. Worth that has a long tradition of sending their graduates to Rhodes College.

Rhodes Singers preparing for
We gave a quick concert at the school for two purposes: more concert experience for us and a recruitment opportunity for the College. We know the school is already sending two of their graduating seniors to us in the fall, and we hope to attract several of next year's seniors for the class of 2017 (realization: that would be my 10-year anniversary of graduating from Rhodes. Oh my.). We didn't do our entire set since this was only a 45 minute concert. Chamber did 3 out of 4 songs - we cut "Angelus ad Pastores Ait" - and Singers did roughly 66% of their rep. It was a challenge to get off the bus after a 7 hour drive from Little Rock and perform a concert with minimal warm-up, but my Chamber Singers were up to the task! Despite those kind of conditions, they performed admirably.

After our performance at FWCD, we boarded the coach and traveled south to First Baptist Church in Crowley, TX. As you see in the picture, they have a wonderful sanctuary with excellent acoustics, so Chamber was able to quickly warm-up to the space. After a hearty meal, we made our preparations for the evening's concert. Clearly the meal and some downtime did my singers well; they were in higher spirits tonight!

Sanctuary at First Baptist Church in Crowley
Tonight's concert at the church was a special one for me. One of our pieces, "Locus Iste," is a short prayer: "This is a place made by God. It is a priceless mystery; it is without reproof." I always tell my audiences to think of their locus iste, their sacred place. It does not have to be an intrinsically religious location, such as a church or temple, but that it could be a natural place, a special time or event, or a group of people. Tonight, I shared my locus iste with the group: dear brother Billy Collins was at the concert. It really meant a lot to me that he came up from Waco to hear our ensembles, and I could tell that he really enjoyed the show. After show, Billy and I were able to connect for about 45 minutes. He's an important person to my life, and I'm thankful for him.

So that was today! Tomorrow will be a little less hectic; we won't have any performances. What we do have, however, are two two-hour rehearsals with the good folks at Broadway Baptist Church in downtown Ft. Worth to prepare for Sunday night's concert. My mother is coming in from McKinney to support our work, and we're going to eat at the famous Joe T. Garcia's for dinner. Should be a fun night.

But for tonight? A much needed night of deep, 7-hour slumber.

Until next time,

Brother Billy and me.

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