by Caitlin Carr, senior alto
Today is Saturday, January 18, two days after every member of the Drake Chamber Choir stepped off of a plane from Atlanta to Des Moines. So far, today has proven to be perfect for reflecting on the past thirteen days of our life-changing, yet short-lived, adventure in England.
As an ensemble we have had many conversations about time. Some parts of tour went on for an eternity while others came and went so fast that there was hardly enough time to process them. This ebb and flow of time made it progressively more difficult to remember what day it was, what we were doing the next day, and how many days we had left to appreciate this experience.
In some ways, this lack of clarity in time is unfortunate because we will be less likely to remember specific details regarding our trip as days, months, and years go by. This being said, I believe that there are more beneficial qualities to timelessness than poor qualities. Because we were not worried about time, we were able to live in each moment and take in the feelings associated with each place rather than all of the fine details. For example, while performing Evensong in St. Paul’s Cathedral, I vividly remember standing in front of the massive organ during the service and thinking, “If I don’t take in everything I can from this moment, it will be gone and I will lose it forever.” This occurred multiple times over the course of this tour as it is highly unlikely that many of us will be able to go back to England in the future, at least as members of a choir.
While the spaces we visited on the trip were absolutely breath-taking, there were many occasions in which the people that we encountered accentuated the beauty of our tour just as much. After each concert, we approached individual audience members and started conversations, something that we rarely do in the United States. Each audience proved to be different from the last, but no less invested in our music-making. Whether performing in cathedrals, chapels, or parish churches, we couldn’t have asked for any more love and support from strangers.
Those that we met along the way added greatly to our tour, but those that were with us from the beginning were irreplaceable. Our tour guide, Anita Baker, was nearly flawless in her delivery of endless knowledge about the world around us. Our bus driver, Paul, couldn’t have been more accommodating of our loud group of 35 Americans and our oversized suitcases. Dr. Eric Saylor with his incredible fount of information about the English world, Dr. Dave Collier, Professor Susan Watson, and Dr. James Lundy were the perfect travelling companions, each with their own gifts of time and talents, and all of whom made the tour special for each of us individually. And of course, there’s Dr. ABC, the lady that made this all possible. Not a single event that we experienced over the past 13 days would have happened without the tireless effort that she put in to making it work. ‘Thank you’ will never be enough.
Being back in the States isn’t weird, but waking up each day to realize that tour is already over takes a few minutes to get used to. Our ability to have all hearts and minds in the same place grew easier with each performance and right when I thought we had reached our maximum potential, we exceeded it again. Though the main event is over, I don’t believe a single member of the Drake Chamber Choir will ever forget the laughs of good company, the tears of joy and beauty, or the life-long memories
from the past two weeks. I am so lucky to know each and every person in this ensemble and I cannot wait to see how our music making continues to grow over the course of the spring semester.
Thank you to all that have followed this blog along the way, and, as the English would say, “Cheers!” and we look forward to seeing you at our concerts next semester!