There were, however, some wonderful highlights and stories from the trip:
1) We went to Macon and sang for Emily Edgington's choir. They were the best audience and I was so proud of Emily. It was definitely the best school we visited. She made us sight-read a spiritual with her choir, and Dr. Crabb and I stood next to each other. He was a crazy goof and could not sight-read the spiritual to save his life.
2) The first night in Chi-town we went to a bar next to the hotel called McCormick and Schmick's. It was really expensive and ritzy, but what the hell we needed a drink. We got there during last call, though, and they recommended we walk a mile up the road to another bar called Stoneybrook what-ever-it's-called. We were all a little drunk from our wine at Schmicks and got even drunker at bar #2. Some might even say we were out of control--I certainly was. Then we walked back to the hotel in below-freezing weather, completely wasted. And it was nice.
3) We sang at a beautiful downtown Chicago catholic church. The accoustics were alive and breathtaking. The audience, however, wasn't. There were about 10 people there and they all sat on the right side.
4) Mark and I bought a chocolate cake for Trent's birthday and it was really good. In fact, that same afternoon we had glorious food (white-wine crepes and corn chowder, no
t in that order) that we ate while it snowed.
5) Mark, Ryan, Whitney, and I went to IKEA and had an adventure getting there on the trolly. IKEA is a wonderland of the modern world. I wish I were Swiss.
6) We sang at a Japanese church in Skoke. I got really sick and almost passed out, so I left after the first song and laid down on the floor outside of the sanctuary. The church had terrible accoustics so I'm not upset I missed out on that one. After the concert we had homestays with the church members, and Whitney and I stayed with a crazy old caucasian woman from the congregation named Carol. Carol lived an hour away (awkward). She had one bedroom in her house. Carol slept on the couch while we slept in her bed (awkward). When we got home at 9:30 pm, Carol told us we had to go to sleep, so Whitney and I whispered the entire night, stifling laughs (awkward). Carol told us we had to be up at 7:00 am to make it to our 9:30 am call, so she knocked at our door promptly at 7 to make sure we were up (awkward). Carol bought us new blue towels to use for our shower but did not wash them, so they left blue fuzz all over our bodies (awkward). She made us breakfast that consisted of tiny pieces of bacon and little eggs (awkward). Carol told us that Budapest has a secret underground city that no one has ever heard of. Awkward.
7) Mark and I met Matt Williams at the Art Institute and I fell in love (again) with the Renaissance paintings.
8) We had a tour of the Chicago Lyric Opera House, and it was phenomenal. Our tour guide was an old man named Kit who called Deborah Voight "Debbie" and made fun of her. Mark and Kyle and I were in heaven as we touched Renee Flemming's costume for her La Traviata performance and we went into Thomas Hampson's dressing room. Mark even got to try on a wig made with Yak's hair for Falstaf.
9) Our performance at the 2nd presbyterian church in Bloomington was incredible. Dr Crabb was crying. And Ginny Crabb drove five hours with the Greens to come see her husband, which made me love her even more (she's the world's most perfect person). After the performance we had another homestay, but this time it was with the world's COOLEST homestay family. Dorris and what's-his-name Hill. She was the music director at the church and the organist/pianist for the services. Six girls slept on bunk beds (I love bunk beds) and they made us ice cream a fresh strawberries for dessert as we talked by the fire about life and music and Carol (and her made-up underground Budapest cities). They were perfect and restored my faith in humanity (just like the IKEA store).
That sums up the trip pretty well. We got back into Columbia at 3:30 this afternoon and I've since been trying to find basses for my choir. Oh the life of a choral director...