It’s a little harder getting up Monday morning, but the promise of a long bus ride to Lakeside with the likely prospect of a nap made it a little easier. We get up, get dressed and are met with another wonderful breakfast. We then loaded up all our belongings and met at the Coburn United Methodist Church. After a quick gathering, we loaded up the coach and began the long haul to Lakeside. The first hour was filled with laughter, stories, and road trip games as we socialized and bonded with those near us on the coach. After that first hour, we began tacet time where we all kept silent and most of us slept.
After a quiet and restful hour of tacet time we were wakened and then treated with a Chinese fire drill not long after. One last hour on the coach and we arrived in Lakeside, sun shining and a slight hint of a breeze rolling off Lake Erie. The members of the Methodist Church in Lakeside gave us a warm greeting, and after unloading our luggage, we took off for the park where a wonderful picnic lunch had been prepared for us. After fighting off bugs during our meal, we cleaned up and made our way over to Hoover Auditorium for our afternoon show on the steps.
Despite the hot weather, the Chorale still performed up to the high standards it holds. Beginning with just a few people sitting on the benches, Jared Norman, a first-year Chorale member, said the best moment for him “was when the people walking by would begin to hear our sound, then stop and come over to listen.” Surely enough, song after song more people began filling the area to listen to the Chorale.
We even had one special guest: Gene! – the Chorale’s coach driver before he had to stop due to health conditions. Of course he recruited yet another fabulous driver for us, but being able to see him even just for a moment warmed the hearts of many returning Chorale members. Accompanying him was his granddaughter, Riley. Ryan Kemper, being notorious for choosing the best people to serenade during the men’s piece, obviously sang to her. During the Chorale’s last piece at the steps, “Song of Farewell”, Gene was even able to join us in surrounding the audience to sing.
After this first performance of the day, the Cardinal Chorale had about an hour to explore and experience the wonderful area that is Lakeside. Obviously this means ice cream, donuts, and mini golf! And maybe even a stop or two to our wonderful hosts’ store, Marilyn’s. Being able to have down time like this is how the Chorale is able to bond, and this bond is what helps create the incredible sound we are able to produce. We are so thankful for the wonderful smiling faces and “hello’s” the people of Lakeside are able to give to us; this welcoming and friendly environment is what has made the Chorale want to return to Lakeside over the years.
There was a moment of concern when we saw that the church had a sign posted that our concert was at 7:00, although it was to begin at 7:30. But the Pastor assured us “I did that on purpose; it’s Lakeside time. You say 7:00, and they’ll be here right at 7:30!” What a wonderful feeling to know he was thinking about us that much to make sure everyone was there on time, and we ended up having a full house; standing room only.
The Chorale yet again performed another astounding concert, just continuing on this great crescendo of ours right to the end! Not a second had passed after our final song had ended that Mr. Snyder dropped his hands and immediately turned to shamelessly recruit the young man sitting in the front row of the concert. Throughout the entire time his jaw was nearly on the floor. And lucky for us, he was the perfect age to be our next recruit—or so we can wish! He was surrounded by Chorale members throughout the night discussing experiences and his interests. We may be good at singing, but shameless recruiting is also a specialty of ours. Much of the audience was hearing the Cardinal Chorale for the first time and filled our hearts with astounding comments that will keep them—and us—smiling for days!
After the concert, we gathered our things once more and left with our hosts. We all went to beautiful homes in Lakeside, and a lot of us spent most of our night telling stories and laughing. Laughter was abundant in all the homes, as we recounted tales of tours past and talked about stories from our personal lives. A group of five boys stayed at the pastor’s home and the night had there was one to remember. This was one of the nights that we would regret when we woke up, but in the end, it was filled with precious moments and memories to be cherished for a lifetime. Though we may have only slept for a few hours, we traded that time for precious moments spent with friends new and old, building bonds that will last an eternity. Love was abounding that night and laughter was the language we used to convey it. Another successful day spent at one of our favorite places, we are so thankful for Lakeside and the time we’ve had there!