Waking up the second day of tour is the easiest, after a long day of rehearsing we are exhausted and fall asleep almost immediately after reaching our hosts’ home. The delicious scent of breakfast cooking in the kitchen easily rouses us and we rise, refreshed and ready for a new day. This breakfast is the beginning of the hordes of food that comes the Chorale’s way on tour. Arriving early at the church in Coshocton we gather in the lounge and form a circle to discuss plans for the day, hopes for tour, and other exciting topics. We met our new coach driver, Rick, an energetic, comedic, and compassionate man who we know will quickly become an integral part of our tour.
After loading up the coach, we depart for church at Amlin. As we drive, the sky finishes clearing and the sun begins to shine, a beautiful start to our first real day of tour. Arriving at Amlin United Methodist Church, we leave the coach and gather for worship. Despite the earliness of the service, we wake ourselves up and give the best we can for the service.
Reverend Putka delivered a meaningful message about fathers and thought provoking discussion of the tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina. After the service, the chairs in the sanctuary were quickly scattered and almost immediately replaced by tables. In almost no time at all, a wonderful church potluck was set before us and we gleefully partook in the feast set before us. Some members of the congregation stayed for the meal and we were delighted to be able to talk more with them and hear what they had to say.
After a bus ride of laughter and games like “Heads Up!” the Chorale was en route to Zanesville for the evening concert at Coburn United Methodist Church, where we would sing our final concert of the day. With the help of our lovely host and fellow singer, Darren Wallace, the hospitality at the church surpassed all expectations! As well as a fantastic dinner, the church goers provided us with an energetic audience which allowed the Chorale to give back the same energy they were receiving.
Being the first evening concert of tour, we had briefly touched up on just a few songs we would be performing for the evening. However, even on these conditions the Chorale was still able to give one of the greatest first concerts in its history.
Some outstanding moments of the concerts began during the men’s piece, “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” when a few of the men get to serenade folks in the audience. Several songs before, they begin to target people they want to sing to, and it’s almost like they are called to those who need it the most; some experiencing hardships, and that serenade is able to pick them up on their feet again. Some more moments included the women’s piece, “Go ‘Way From My Window”, and of course, “This Is My Father’s World”.
After the concert, we returned to the gymnasium to meet our host families. Soon after departing, a few of us were offered the chance to eat at a wonderful local diner called “Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl” – a quaint little place with great food and even greater service. To our pleasant surprise, we realized that all of the voice parts were in attendance with us at the diner, so a plan was hatched to sing for the staff. After the diner had closed and we were the only ones left we told the staff that we would like to thank them for their kindness in the best way we knew how. So we sang them a thank you and they all gathered to hear. After we had finished they smiled and applauded and it was clear to see that their night got just a little better. Their smiles reminded us of the unparalleled joy we experience when we use our voices to bring happiness. And with a smile on our faces and a song in our hearts we went home to socialize and eventually sleep.
Other groups, about three host homes actually, had stories of a pool party. The three homes gathered at one house where they had a night of pizza, s’mores and swimming! Of course, there were many other stories similar to these, thanks to our wonderful hosts in Zanesville. We couldn’t have asked for more outgoing and welcoming people to celebrate a great first day with.
We are so grateful for both the Amlin United Methodist Church and the Coburn United Methodist Church for providing excellent hospitality, both in concert and meals! Hats off to a great first day of tour, we are now on a ride that only goes up from here.