Monday, July 7, 2008

Oregon Tour Update: Day 6

On Sunday, we woke up bright and early to gather and head to a local church to perform. After a quick bite to eat, we boarded the bus and traveled for about 10 minutes to St. Mary's Episcopal Church where we were greeted by the very kind and inviting staff there. We quickly hurried into the chapel to close their 1st service with a performance of "Aint-a' that Good News" which was a hit! After the church-goers cleared the chapel, we situated ourselves in the choir loft and did a bit of rehearsing for the 2nd service of the day. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to perform at three different services, the end of the 1st one of the day, multiple times in the 2nd, and as the prelude for the 3rd. The 2nd service was quite enjoyable for us as we got to showcase many of our sacred pieces including "Praise His Holy Name" which came as a bit of a surprise as we hadn't performed it in months! Post-service, we gathered in the church's community hall for a reception with the church members, all of which were very gracious and curious about our chorus. We then sang as the opening for the 3rd service and headed back to UofO to further prepare for the gala concert.

We arrived back on campus and headed directly to lunch. Afterwards we had the opportunity to meet-and-greet with singers from the Oregon Festival Choirs, who will be touring to Boston next summer! We're very excited to have them visit us. We got to know each other and then sang Jim Papoulis' "Can You Hear?" a song that both BCC and OFC know and love! After saying goodbye to our new-found friends, we had a group meeting and then broke into small groups for the afternoon free-time. Some chose to go the Duck Store, where much UofO apparel was purchased. Others opted to relax in the courtyard. Everyone enjoyed taking a break from the music for just a little while.

Later in the afternoon, some BCC singers joined Mr. Tk on a trip to visit the Youth Choral Academy, a 10-day program which occurs in Eugene at the same time as Piccfest. We were kindly greeted by the staff and singers there, and were in awe of their beautiful sound and clear commitment to choral excellence. We had a welcomed and unexpected opportunity to perform, which we took with glee. We sang "We Are" which yielded a standing ovation from the 85 academy singers, pleasing for us. We also were invited to demonstrate our solfege abilities, starting in the key of C, modulating to MANY other keys, and magically finding our way back to C again. A true feat! We left the Academy feeling confident in the abilities of a small group of only 9 or 10 to represent BCC as a whole, and also amazed by the impressive things occuring at YCA.

After a speedy dinner, we boarded the buses to the Hult Center, our performance venue for the final gala concert. The very organized Piccfest staff got us into a fourteen row formation, and then lead us into the Center where we lined up on stage. After being on our feet and rehearsing for almost two hours prior to the actual concert, some BCC members began to feel slightly lightheaded, but of course our fantastic staff helped keep everyone well. When the final concert began, every BCC member gave it their all! We (all 350 festival singers!) performed a stunning performance and felt empowered by the beauty that can be created through choral music.
Exhausted, we booted our way out of the final pizza party as quickly as possible, after of course saying loving goodbyes to the new friends we had made at piccfest!

Guest Writer: Casey Accardi

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