It was sad to wake up the last day and begin packing, knowing that all too soon we would depart. After some quick packing we headed to breakfast for the last time. After eating, we grabbed our music and made our way to rehearsal. Most of our work was spent polishing the pieces we were going to perform that night. It was amazing to see how far the group had come from the beginning of the week! A lot of the pieces we were singing were very difficult. The arrangement of “Secret Love” we were singing was arranged by Roy Ringwald and originally performed by Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians. Other songs posed varied challenges, but somehow we overcame the obstacles and were prepared for the concert that night.
After rehearsal we went to lunch where the kitchen staff had prepared an amazing surprise. About halfway through the meal the staff brought out a delicious sundae bar. We were joined for lunch by Dylan Parker, a student at Muskingum, who had been our host that week. Dylan quickly found a place with the Chorale, and we all grew to enjoy his jokes and stories. Lunch today was no exception, with Dylan telling made-up tales of why a lion was etched on the ceiling of the dining hall. After lunch was over, we thanked the people in the kitchen once more for their kindness and went back to our rooms to finish packing. It was sad to pack, but there was excitement mixed with the sadness as we thought ahead to the concert that night.
The Chorale gathered in Caldwell Hall, where we would later give the debut concert for the 2015-2016 Cardinal Chorale. Our primary goal of this rehearsal was to get a feel for the concert space we had and run through songs that we felt we really needed to solidify. Anticipation was beaming from everyone in the room and you could tell we were all starting to hit our grand crescendo as our pieces were coming together more and more. As tired as we all might have been, each Chorale member was not letting that factor bring us down. After a successful last rehearsal, we gathered for our last meal together. At this point in the week, every member of the Chorale had gotten to know almost, if not, everyone. Finding different friends to sit with at dinner was no longer an issue. The chatter and laughter that filled the room was a moment of pure bliss. As Mr. Snyder had pointed out later in the evening, it’s hard to find people our age who can sit at a meal together and not have to be on our cell phones; we simply rely on each other for entertainment and good times and that is something special. The Cardinal Chorale is without a doubt a special group of people who can change the name of our generation – just by witnessing a meal time with us.
The 6:00 concert call drew near and we gathered together for reflections before the performance. Stories were shared and the bittersweet feeling began to gather within all of us. For a normal Cardinal Chorale debut, the Chorale prepares about four songs, two of which they had already known. However, this Cardinal Chorale had a little under five days and we successfully learned 27 songs. It was a task that seemed like the impossible dream at the beginning of our time together, but the Chorale is known for pulling off the unexpected. The concert came and went quicker than most would have liked. All week the new Chorale members have heard returning members talk about those “wow” Chorale moments we all experience when singing together, and I believe that all of the new members finally understand what we were talking about. And this is just the beginning! We have our Pickerington Christmas Concert, reunion, and the 2016 summer tour; the grand crescendo has only just begun and there are plenty more of those wow moments in store for this Chorale.
Thank you, Muskingum University for being the Cardinal Chorale’s new home. We will surely miss your beautiful campus, delicious cookies at meal times, Dylan our wonderful friend from Muskingum, and even the treacherous hike up the hill to the dorms.
Remember, “There are two ways of spreading light- to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.” – Edith Wharton