Student Blog: Spring Choir Tour Experiences
Day 8 - Dalton, GA
by Brianna Smith '08
Wednesday, March 5th
Our last day on tour started like a gunshot and never slowed down. We met at the church, loaded our stuff, and prepared to embark on the first portion of our fully-loaded day of shopping, special lunches, traveling and performing.
Since we were near the Atlanta area, we did not waste the opportunity to enjoy some of the sights. We split into three groups for the morning: those who wanted to see the aquarium, those who wanted to go to the World of Coke, and those who wanted to just wander in an outdoor shopping area. I went with the shoppers to just wander and let my eyes do more work than my wallet. It was brisk outside, but a cup of coffee and friends made it alright. However, I did almost run head first into a big metal bar. If I ever needed a reminder to watch where I'm going, stopping myself half a second before I was about to plant my face into a red-and-white striped pole was the reminder I needed.
After an hour of wandering, buying, and (in some cases) dancing in the market, we headed back to the bus, picked up our friends at the World of Coke and headed to the long-awaited lunch at the Varsity restaurant.
I have never seen so many people trying to buy so much food at one time ever in my life. Once I got my food, I understood why. We ate for free (Thanks Catawba!) and enjoyed every second of it. We got all kinds of delicious all-American food and Varsity hats as well. At this point, the group was as tight-knit as ever, and everyone was taking the time to sit and enjoy being together off the bus before the last push through to the end.
When we ascended the stairs of the bus this time, we were headed to Dalton and the First Baptist Church.
When we arrived just a few short hours later the whole routine played out like clockwork. After eight days of touring, we knew where we needed to be and exactly how to get there. We rehearsed, met members of the congregation, performed a sound check for the microphones and then set our sights on the the home-made goodness we would be filling our stomaches with while in Dalton.
Once dinner was over, we went down into the youth area that had been reserved for us. We still had a fair amount of time before the concert, so we took full advantage of our surroundings. We played fooseball and ping pong and used the keyboard to do last minute preparations for the concert. When the time came to focus, Matt Newton lead us through a piece that we had been working in rehearsal to solidify the things we had discussed earlier in the evening on our own before Professor Oakley joined us. By the end of the run-through of the song, Professor Oakley was down in the youth area with us.
He reminded us how important our work has been. How much it means to him and to the school for us to travel around building goodwill and how much it should mean to us that we have become a family in the last eight days in particular. We were ready for our last night. We were ready to be on stage together, in this place. as a family.
The concert was one of our best. Justin Lewis had family in the area who were in attendance so he reprized his rendition of "Come Away, Death" for them and also for this very responsive and appreciative audience.
Once we were finished, we went back downstairs to the youth area, met up with our host families for the evening, got our luggage off the bus and headed out. We grabbed some dinner with our host families before going home (college students are always hungry, especially after a performance). It was an amazing last night of tour in a great house with a great family who were, like all the others we had come in contact with up to this point, kind, loving, open, and fun.
After exploring the house and chatting with our family, a long week and a long day took their toll and we were upstairs in bed by 11 o'clock, ready for sleep, ready for home.