After reuniting the next morning and hearing some wise words from our host Samantha, we boarded
for the next leg of the trip to Portsmouth, OH. We stopped at a travel plaza in Chillicothe for a
planned break to the “necessary rooms,” and some of our members engaged in a deep discussion
(thanks to staff member Josh Senn) about foot traffic on the coach. We enjoyed the results of a Mad
Libs story composed from our word ideas the previous day, and then soon arrived in Portsmouth for
lunch on our own. There were several restaurants in a two-block radius, so Chorale members spread
out to choose their favorites.
At Tim Hortons, the restaurant staff was working hard through their lunch rush, (mostly thanks to
us). Knowing that food service can be a particularly thankless job, soprano Sam Corbett suggested we
sing “Thank You Very Much” as a way to show our gratitude. Faces of the workers changed from
confusion to deep joy (and even a few tears)–one employee said, “sometimes it’s like people don’t
even see us, thank you for being so kind and helping us feel like we matter.” Following lunch, we
were treated to a wonderful tour of the Portsmouth Flood Wall Murals by local artist Sharee Price,
whose first-hand experience working on the murals gave us a lot of historical insight. With the heat
index hovering near one hundred degrees, we were very grateful for our water bottles and for the
chance to step back on our air-conditioned coach.
We next arrived at the beautiful, historic All Saints’ Episcopal Church, thanks to our host, Chorale
alumnus Justin Wiget. We were treated to a demo of the church’s pipe organ, and had a chance to
continue refining some of the pieces for that evening’s concert. Our fried chicken dinner in the
fellowship hall was a special treat, and our performance was well attended – including 5 area high
school choral directors! The concert was a hot one, with added atmospheric accompaniment from lightning, thunder, and heavy rain. We met our host families for the evening, who were wondering
just as curiously as we were whether there would be electricity in the home when we arrived!