Monday, July 5, 2010

Tour 2010: Day 6

This morning we enjoyed another great breakfast at the Georgetown dining hall and climbed aboard our Dattco bus to pick up our tour guide for the morning, Artie. Artie brought us to the heart of our Nation's history by giving us the inside scoop on all of the major landmarks that we toured. One especially moving moment was when we gathered at the very spot that Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech on the Lincoln Memorial. Feeling such a strong personal collection to the location helped us to give an emotionally charged performance of U2's "MLK" for an attentive audience on the steps. We also toured the capitol building, and with the help of a great tour guide, were able to check out all the Massachusetts specific statues in the building. See video below!

After lunch, we were given some free time to check out DC museums. Some singers visited the Air and Space museum, others the Natural History museum, and others the American History museum. Everyone enjoyed being able to enter such interesting and engaging museums free of charge.

We then headed over to the Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church to perform with the Children's Chorus of Washington. Our performance tonight was the last one of this tour, and the last performance for this year's graduating seniors. Needless to say, we left nothing behind. Every song was performed with more energy and inspiration than ever. The seniors chose "Up To the Mountain" as their last song, and as the tears started to roll down everyone's faces, it became apparent to all just how powerful and important BCC is in the lives of its singers.

Back at the dorms, we celebrated our successful tour and our seniors by having a late room check, giving us lots of time to bond with each other. Seniors were also hard at work making superlatives, a tradition we uphold every year in which each person receives a loving "most likely to..", based on their actions on tour. After some late night Dominoes, it is time to rest up for our last day of tour.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Tour 2010: Day 5

This morning we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast in the Georgetown Dining Hall, and then headed over to Saint John's Church in DC to perform in the Sunday morning service. Saint John's serves as the Presidential Church, every president since James Madison has attended at least one church service there. Singers enjoyed checking out the presidential pew (number 54) and taking pictures seated in the pew. We performed a variety of religious and patriotic music, and especially enjoyed collaborating with the Saint John's Summer Choir, Organist, Timpani, and Piccolo player on "Battle Hymn of the Republic".

Following our performance and lunch, we headed over to the Kennedy Center, where we spent the afternoon relaxing and rehearsing. It was almost 100 degrees in Washington DC today, so we were glad to be able to stay inside and avoid the heat. At 6pm became our big Kennedy Center debut! We performed on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center for a very large audience, and our performance streamed live on the internet and is now available in the Kennedy Center's web archive. Check it out here.

After performing and dinner, we gathered in the grass outside of the Kennedy Center and watched the 4th of July fireworks. It has been such a privilege to be in our nation's capital for the Fourth of July. Nowhere does patriotic better than Washington DC! Looking forward to collaborating with the Children's Chorus of Washington tomorrow.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tour 2010: Day 4

This morning we said farewell to Saint Joseph's University and embarked on mission: three cities, one day. After a three hour drive, we found ourselves out of Philadelphia and into Frederick, Maryland, home of our accompanist, Emily Howe. We arrived at All Saints Episcopal Church, and were greeted by singers from the Chamber Choir of the Frederick Children's Chorus, who provided us with wonderful walking tours of the city and ample shopping-time in downtown Frederick.

We rehearsed briefly, and then took to the stage for our concert which was well attended and received by the local Frederick community. After the concert, the Frederick Children's Chorus hosted a wonderful dinner, and performed two pieces for us, "The Storm Is Passing Over" (which some BCC members joined them for) and a uplifting song that they commissioned for their 20th anniversary. We then taught them a favorite song of ours, "We Are Together" which we all sang together. It was wonderful to meet them and we are so grateful that they hosted us so kindly.

Following dinner, we again boarded the bus, and have since arrived and checked in a Georgetown University (making Washington D.C. our third location of the day!). The dorms are lovely and we are very much enjoying our stay thus far. Looking forward to the Campus Tour on Monday. We are headed to bed early as we have a big performance tomorrow -- performing at St. John's Church (Obama's Church) in the morning, and then performing at the Kennedy Center in the evening. Can't wait!

Tour 2010: Day 3

On Friday, we had a great breakfast and then gathered outside our dorm for a Campus Tour of Saint Joseph's University. We were escorted into the SJU Chapel for a presentation about the University and then then broke up into small groups for a campus tour. Our tour guides informed us that SJU's campus recently gained a lot of land and increased in size by 58%, allowing them to add a new music center. Pretty cool! After our tour, we boarded the bus and headed over to the NBC Philadelphia station, where we rehearsed briefly and then entered the studio to tape a performance of "God Bless America". The taping went wonderfully and our performance played later that day on NBC Channel 10.

After performing, we headed back to Saint Joseph's for lunch and a little bit of rehearsing for our evening performance with the Wanamaker Organ. Following rehearsal, we traveled over to the African American Museum in Philadelphia for an African Dance Workshop. We got along wonderfully with our instructor, and believe it or not, weren't even half bad at some of the dancing! Although we got sweatier than anticipated, everyone really enjoyed themselves. Perhaps we'll perform our new moves at a concert soon! (Don't hold your breath for it..)

Following our workshop and tour of the museum, we arrived at Macy's Philadelphia, home of the Wanamaker Organ. The Organ is HUGE -- it has 28,500 pipes! We rehearsed with the fabulous organist, Mr. Conte, and then gave a performance for the shoppers of Macy's, many of which stopped shopping to listen to us sing. It was an awesome experience to sing with such a well-known and massive organ.

We then headed over to Buca de Beppo, a favorite Philly restaurant of ours that we visited when we came here for ACDA East. Upon arriving back at the dorms, we packed up and prepared to give a fond farewell to Saint Joseph's University, as Saturday brings us a trip to Georgetown.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tour 2010: Day 2

Today we arose bright and early and had a nice and nutritious breakfast at the Saint Joseph's University dining hall. After gathering our belongings, we boarded our beloved Dattco bus and headed over to Independence Hall where we performed patriotic music for a special Naturalization Ceremony, during which 26 people representing 19 different countries were granted U.S. Citizenship. Above we are pictured with Ale Mayorkas, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). We really enjoyed meeting him!

Following our performance, we headed over to Independence Hall for a very informative tour and then broke for lunch, during which small groups of singers got a taste of local Philadelphian cuisine. After lunch we made a liberty bell visit, and then we met up with our fabulous tour guide, Ryan, from the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. Ryan led us on a walking tour around Philly, showing us various murals, and explaining the background and significance of the murals and the Mural Arts Program, an organization that unites artists and communities through a collaborative process, rooted in the traditions of mural-making, to create art that transforms public spaces and individual lives. We stopped to sing in front of a mural, which Ryan recorded for a Mural Arts Program initiative and said he would put on the internet soon. It'll be blogged when it's up! Pictured below is the mural we sang "We Are Together" in front of.

After our tour, we walked to the City Tavern, a restaurant that serves authentic 18th century cuisine in a history filled building Dining in a favorite hot-spot of John Adams and friends made us feel apart of history. Following dinner, we headed over to the Penn's Landing area, where we bonded on the boardwalk for some time before heading back to the dorms for a good nights sleep.