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2012 Chamber Singers Choir Tour to the UK

A reflection from 3rd year student Heidi Martens

Having the opportunity to travel to Britain with the choir is most likely going to be an experience I will think and talk about for the rest of my life. Travelling to Britain is great in itself, but travelling to Britain with a large, diverse group of fellow choir members and staff is even better. With endless memories to mull over, and almost as many photos, there are several highlights.

I will fondly remember driving through the green, orderly, sheep-spotted hills of England and Scotland. The views were scenic and the company inside the bus energetic. Spending time on the bus with others is an example of community if there ever was one. I will remember the choir discussing Karen's "word of the day" and listening to the live music coming from the rowdy back of the bus (sometimes trying to block it out too!). I'll never forget our idyllic stay at the WEC headquarters, where we worked up a huge appetite by moving over 1000 chairs for a conference! This had to be done outside, and seeing as it was spring, most of us ended us running around barefoot. Although we always had the common goal of singing well, it was neat to have a different common goal. Sightseeing was a blast, of course, but some of my warmest recollections are the conversations, walks and great meals I shared with friends.

Strolling around the WEC gardens and others such as the Chatsworth house property, are peaceful moments in which I tasted yet another sprinkle of God's goodness. Exploring castles such as Windsor, Stirling, Edinburgh and the ruins of Dunnottar and St. Andrews was a breathtaking look into the tumultuous history of the United Kingdom. Reading stories of royalty and uprisings helped shape a chapter of the past in our minds. And although every Cathedral has it's own character, the Evensong services were the most impressive to me. I recall the service at Trinity College in Cambridge. The choir sang a riveting piece based on the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. The phrase "where there is discord" was a terrifying snarl led by the men and I wanted to sink into the wooden pew. However, the phrase was redeemed by the gentle prayer that we would "bring harmony." A collective sigh of relief was sensed as the selfishness and raging portrayed just seconds earlier seemed to be wiped away.

The choir tour itself was a chance to "bring harmony" into people's lives. We were welcomed into varying congregations (most of which had tea prepared for us as we walked in) and although we were often told a bit about the church, for the most part, we did not know what struggles they were going through corporately and individually. Each piece we sang had a different purpose, and I catch myself humming varying phrases. Music is very accessible in our culture, but it is not very well known or understood. I am immensely thankful to have had the chance to be a voice in such a well-led choir and although music is not my area of study, I hope to share a love of thoughtful music with others.


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