Student Blog: Spring Choir Tour Experiences
Day 6 - Gainesville, FL
by Brianna Smith '08
Monday, March 3rd
Waking in Miami meant walking down the steps of the hotel and looking out over the beach. A few of us woke early to see the sunrise and although it was windy, I enjoyed a short yoga session on the beach as a wake up and preparation for the new day. Some of us walked a few blocks to get breakfast a highly recommended mom-and-pop Argentinian bakery near our hotel (totally worth it) and then we loaded the buses.
We made our way north from Miami towards Gainesville. We made a quick stop to pick up Mason Jewett who had used this opportunity to see family in the area and then again to nab some forgotten items from our stop in New Smyrna (Thanks to Sarah Lund!) and finally for lunch, but then we were in a straight shot towards Gainesville.
As we neared the church that we would be singing at we started to see signs that we were in a college town, signs that made us feel a little like we were home, and a little homesick at the same time.
Because of traffic issues, we ended up eating dinner at the church: pizza! And in a fantastic turn of events, we were told that dinner would be provided for us thanks to Dr. Renee McCachren and the music department (Thanks music department!). Pizza was good and being off the bus was even better, but now it was time to sing.
We made our way into the sanctuary and up onto the risers for rehearsal. The day and a half away from the music made it a little difficult to get back into the swing of things, but we pressed on through and clarified our logistics. Professor Oakley reminded us that we should use every opportunity to better ourselves and the music, no matter how solid we might think we have it.
We left rehearsal to change and get ready for our first completely off-book concert. The concert could not have gone better. In hindsight, it was arguably the best one we had through the whole trip. Thanks to the advice of our fearless leader and the collective efforts of the entire group, we were able to pull together more effectively than we ever had before. It was very exciting to be a part of. When it came time for solos, Cecilia Runge sang "You Wanna Be My Friend" from Closer Than Ever, Mara Stewart sang "Not For the Life Of Me" from Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Alex Will reprized his rendition of "Soon It's Gonna Rain" from the Fantastiks.
Like clockwork, the concert ended and it was time to meet our host families. Cecilia Runge and Alex Will were fortunate to have the opportunity to see some friends in the area while we were in town and spend the night playing card games with them. The rest of us got to go home with members of the congregation and learn more about them as individuals and about their community as a whole. However, as illness and fatigue increasingly made their presence known amongst the group, sleep was inevitable.
Two concerts and three days left.