It just dawned on me I haven’t posted on my blog in a couple of months. It’s amazing, now that I have some downtime to really reflect on our trip, to grasp how truly rewarding it was in numerous ways. The entire LACS membership had a chance…hopefully…to read the recap emailed a couple of weeks ago. That, indeed, was a fairly comprehensive review of what transpired with the tour group as a whole. However, I’d like to share some thoughts on the impact of the trip on the choir members. Rather than writing in a traditional narrative form, I’m choosing to use bullet points instead, so here goes!
- The singers gained experience in applicable music theory and ear training concepts. Since our entire concert program was a cappella, singers were required to find their starting pitches from the single note of a pitch pipe. Often the note played was not the note on which their particular section started. This process was difficult at first, but by the final concert, the section pitches were being hummed with amazing speed and accuracy.
- Confidence was gained exponentially from the a cappella experience. Singers were forced to sing in tune without the aid of a piano or organ. Not only did their listening skills sharpen, but their understanding of voice pedagogy and specifically vowel placement increased as well. With the smaller choir, singers couldn’t rely on anyone – each singer was solely responsible for his/her voice quality and intonation.
- Having four concerts in the span of six days also solidified the choral ensemble in ways which rehearsals alone could not. We were on stage, in foreign countries, with new audiences, and, in two of the concerts, sharing the stage with a local choir. No one wanted to look bad or to have the LACS name tarnished. Singers really stepped up! It’s amazing what a little “competition” can do to inspire singers beyond what they thought possible. Many were forced “out-of-their-comfort-zones” and met the challenge.
- Sharing our national anthem with the male choir and folk in Wales was beyond description, so I won’t try. When they sang their national anthem for us, it was clear Wales is a country united. Their singing was emotional, robust, convincing, and fervent. You’re not going to read about this as a possible experience in a trip brochure from the travel company. You had to be there to experience it firsthand. Fortunately, we were!
- The concert acoustics we enjoyed are like no other. The non-mic’d reverberation in those cathedrals was so encouraging for a cappella singing, and we took ample advantage of it. Hearing the chords linger at phrase endings allowed our singers to form a memory we would have never experienced if we hadn’t gone. We just don’t have performance facilities like that in our area.
- New friendships were made within the choir. Those friendships can share the common bond of having traveled and performed together forever.
I’m sure there are other testimonials and reactions to the whole concert/trip experience, and perhaps some will share those thoughts by writing a reply to this posting. I’d like to close with a quote from Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did.” Hopefully, those who were able to travel with us on our 2016 Ireland, Scotland, and Wales concert tour are glad they went…I know I am. Thanks for making this such a wonderful, musical, rewarding, and artistic memory for me.