While the Chorale’s legacy is still being written, touching the hearts of audience members – and each other – seems to be a constant.
England, Wales, and France: June 27-July 8, 1998…
Toward the end of the tour, we sang a concert at St. Bartholomew the Great, the oldest parish church in London. By chance, a musician from Germany was in our audience. After our performance she introduced herself and shared, “It is rare that one sees musicians so completely engaged in making music. Their singing comes from full hearts. One never hears singing like this in Germany, and never have I heard it here, either. I am so glad I came here today! My heart is full.”
After loading the coach before leaving for the airport on our last day, Gordon Harradine, our amiable guide, and his wife Jackie welcomed the Chorale into their home to reflect – in the tradition of the Chorale’s tour circles. We shared memories of our time together and what we had learned. As we listened to the stories, we were given a new understanding of our influence; not from parents or Chorale supporters, but from first-time listeners who were basing their impressions on America, American music, and American youth on us. At the end of the gathering, Gordon spoke with me, “I’ve taken lots of groups on tours over the years, but none more unusual than this one, both musically and in the way they get along. They obviously care very much for each other.”
Fast forward to September, 2015…
A few weeks ago I was in Lakeside for some vacation, and was walking out of the Lakeside United Methodist Church after worship. I stopped to wait; I wanted to speak with Pastor Shepherd, who had been our host for the concert there on this summer’s tour. A gentleman in the line was looking at me questioningly. Then a smile of recognition lit his face. He pointed at me and exclaimed, “Cardinal Chorale!” He and his wife stepped closer to talk about their delight at being in our audience, and their joy in housing three Chorale gentlemen. “We’re becoming real Chorale fans,” he added.
A few days later, a store clerk at Lakeside smiled as she gave me change. “I hope you bring them again!” she said, relating how much she had enjoyed the concert and her time with the four Chorale women she hosted. “They were so personable, responsible, and appreciative,” she added. “What a joy it must be to work with such remarkable young people!”
Recently I relayed the Lakeside stories to Colten Eberhard, a member of this summer’s tour Chorale, who is currently studying in Scotland. Let me share his articulate response:
“It makes me smile to know that the Chorale impacts people even long after our performances. It is one thing to be impacted in the moment, but a whole other thing to still be impacted months down the road. I know this wouldn’t be true if we didn’t have a leader and mentor to show us the way into peoples’ hearts through music and all other forms of communication. Without that, we would have been just another choir that came to sing. The extra love is what makes us sound amazing and stand out from all the rest.”
Thank you for the important part you have played in the Chorale story!
In our enduring fellowship,
Thanks to Byron Harrison, who wrote much of what I’ve shared from our European tour. He penned the tour reflections on the way home from England, and we included highlights from his journal in the programs at our home concert in Pickerington.