Student Blog: Spring Choir Tour Experiences
Day 7 - Smyrna, GA
by Brianna Smith '08
Tuesday, March 4th
We reloaded bright and early, with the typical exchange of stories from the previous night. As we were standing on the street getting ready to load, we heard a strange noise. It was the honk of an antique car. Who should we see next, but Matt Newton and Jacob McClain rolling up in the back of their host family's refurbished antique automobile with bright smiles on their faces and cheers from the onlooking crowd. It was going to be a good day.
We loaded the bus once again and headed to Smyrna (not New Smyrna or Smyrna Beach, just regular Smyrna), the home town of our Kat Tierney. We stopped for gas, but due to complications at the rest stop, we used the time for lunch as well. A number of students also used this opportunity to expand their artistic horizons and before we knew it, there was an epidemic of velvet art on the bus. As usual, gas station kitsch was purchased and Catawba Choir did their part to keep the local fast food in business.
After lunch we made a bee-line for Smyrna, arriving with plenty of time to get all of our necessities inside and still have time to rehearse in both the space we were going to perform in and also in the newly renovated (though not quite yet completed) sanctuary. The sanctuary was an experience unlike any other we had on tour. Due to the very able planning in the space, the acoustics made the sound ring for days. Even without a pitch-pipe or piano we made-do with what we had and played with some of our acoustic pieces. To finish off our time in the sanctuary, before we headed back to the space where we would be performing, we sang “Sing Me To Heaven” in honor of our bus driver (and now friend) and his mother who had passed away one year previous on that day. It was an intense moment for all of us, but one that we were all happy to share with a man who had gone above and beyond what we could ever have asked for as a bus driver (he attended every concert and befriended all of us).
After we returned to the space and finished our rehearsal, we were ready to eat. The members of Smyrna First United Methodist Church gave us ample food to fill our bodies and soon, the only thing standing between us and our concert was the half hour we needed to change our clothes and ready our minds.
The concert itself went very well. The crowd loved the pieces we did and gave us a great response. It was exciting to see a strong number of high school and middle school students in the crowd enjoying what we had to offer. Once we had finished our regularly scheduled program, we invited the congregation to join us in the unfinished sanctuary so that they could hear the beautiful acoustics that we had enjoyed earlier that day. It was an incredible experience for all of us.
As had been the case in concerts past, friends and family of our choir who were in the area came to show their support. Bianca Stokes' aunt and uncle, Mary Alice Nichols' whole family, and Jesse Hunter, a theatre major at Catawba and friend to most of the members of the choir, were all in attendance, as well and Kat Tierney's friends and family.
After the concert we met up with our families, grabbed our luggage and made our way into our host homes in the area for food, family and sleep.
It was another day on tour, and it was good.