Choir Tour

I might get fired if Dr. Foster ever sees this ;-P
Choir tour this year was interesting.  For one thing, we went to Jackson and Memphis... whereas the last few years I've been leaving from Jackson.  But going to Jackson meant I could walk up to Union (we stopped for lunch half a mile from the school) and visit old friends!  I saw my old voice teacher, a whole assortment of random friends, and most of the music faculty, and I got the great joy of singing with the Union Singers again for a rehearsal.  I miss them so much!

St Peter's Catholic in Memphis
Then we went on to Memphis.  We had three full evening concerts over the course of the week, but mainly we visited high schools.  We did this with Union, too -- we go to a school, sing for them, hear them sing, and then the director works with their choir and there's usually some Q&A time at the end.  Most of the schools are fun, but kind of mediocre (and then there are the groups that talk through everything and don't pay attention) but we had a few stand-outs this year.  Madison Academic is always fun because I know kids there, and they've got a good choir, but the one that sticks in my memory is Overton High School in Memphis.  It had a bit of an "inner-city" feel, but those kids were smart and what is more they were completely invested in their music.  They wanted to be there, they wanted to learn, and you could tell just by their attitudes.

Lunch at Huey's, with Kim :-)
They sang really well, with good technique and with feeling but what impressed me most was the way they listened.  Really listened.  When Dr. Foster asked "Okay, so what did you like about this song?  What did you dislike?" they didn't just answer "It was pretty" the way kids at some of the other schools did.  They would say "I liked what the basses did in this particular section" or "I loved how the music brought out the meaning of the text on these words" and other really specific comments.  When Dr. Foster had one of the boys read the text of a song, they had intelligent things to say about that and they could quote back whole lines of it accurately after hearing it only once.  They were a joy to work with.

There is never a dull moment on the bus... Richard in a back-to-front, belted-on Snuggie!
Dr. Foster told us in rehearsal today that their director had told him the kids were still so excited about our visit the next day.... and all we could think of to say was, we are still so excited about them, too!  It was a pleasure to work with a group of such talented and interested kids.

Waiting out the rain in Starbucks with Justin, who plays my little brother in the opera this spring!
Soon.... pictures of the player piano!  Maybe even a video if you're lucky and my internet connection cooperates.