The effects of the storm continued through the night, and we learned the next morning that nearly
120,000 Ohioans were without power. As we gathered in the church hall, we were glad to have
fully-functional running water and electricity, but soon discovered that the coach was not starting.
In an example of the amazing flexibility and “can-do” spirit of the Chorale, we set up chairs for an
impromptu rehearsal on some songs that still needed a little TLC. About an hour later, our driver
Scott and staff member Mark Wagner had solved the problem, and we could get on the road! We
knew the trip to Fostoria would be our longest span of time on the coach, so we were all excited for
a bit of Chorale “Tacet Time” – designated silent time to study music, write notes of friendship, or
catch a few extra Z’s.
At one point, it seemed that the coach had stopped on the highway for quite a while, and we became
aware that there was heavy traffic from a road closure. Our prior plan to stop for lunch in a
Columbus shopping plaza was seeming more and more unlikely, but we knew we were in good hands.
Thanks to the quick thinking of Mark Wagner, we rolled into a travel plaza to choose our own drinks
and snacks, and he soon boarded and saved the day with 10 pizzas from a nearby Little Caesar’s: true
Chorale improvisation and ingenuity! With sated tummies, we continued directly to Fostoria,
including some extra Tacet Time, only about an hour behind – pretty good timing, all things
considered. Our coach company, Bliss Charters, is located in Fostoria, so the company’s owner Paul
Feasel was waiting for us with a replacement coach. At the evening’s concert, we presented Paul
with the Medal of Distinction for his support of the Chorale over the years.
Returning to one of the Chorale’s favorite venues, St. Wendelin Catholic Church, many veteran
members of the Chorale shared stories about their previous experiences there. With limited time,
we rehearsed a few important elements like the processional and recessional, and then were treated
to a delicious dinner of shredded chicken and loaded mashed potatoes in the Parish Hall. Our
concert that evening was a wonderful experience for singers and audience alike – singing in such a
well-designed room with pitch-perfect acoustics and with such an incredibly receptive audience was
a true joy! We met our host families for the night, and many of us got the chance to meet some
lovable, cuddly pets.