Day three was a big one! We finished all our performances for high schools, gave a surprise performance in the capitol building, and had our first collegic exchange. Most of us were very tired by the end of that, but we held it together for our church performance and sang well.
We said goodbye to our home stays early this morning, and drove to Salem to sing a few pieces for McNary High School’s music program. The director there happened to be a huge fan of original compositions, so he loved our performance of How I Came to Be, composed by PLU’s Dr. Paul. Dr. Paul is the chair of our music department, and on tour with us performing the violin solo in his piece. The McNary director took the opportunity to ask insightful questions about Dr. Paul’s inspiration for it and his composition process, which really captured the interest of the high school students. They are no stranger to original compositions, but it was a fine opportunity to have the composer in a room with them answering questions.
Next we went to Sprague High School, for our final high school exchange. They sang a couple impressive upbeat songs that made us fast fans of them. We ended our set with Jabberwocky, and they had the best reaction we’ve seen to that song so far. They laughed in all the right places, and reminded us of what it was like to hear that song for the first time. We are sad we don’t have any more high school choirs to hear and sing for, but singing Jabberwocky at Sprague was a great way for that part of tour to come to a close.
Lunch was fantastic; the sun was warm, we had free time, and we got to eat free pizza outside amongst the daisies growing in the lawn of the high school. A few of us even got in a few minutes of playing frisbee.
It was in the schedule for us to visit Oregon’s capitol building, but the director at Sprague suggested that we ask to sing in its lobby, so we got to give a surprise single-song performance. We were honored to have local elementary school kids in our audience, who sat on the steps and were perfectly polite listeners. The lobby was so satisfying to sing in because of its superb acoustics, and if we could have we would have spent some of our free time singing a couple more pieces there.
After that visit and a couple hours of down time, we had our final exchange of the day with Willamette University. They were fantastic, and Chorale felt that both choirs represented our respective schools very well. Part of the purpose our visit there was to watch them rehearse, so we were able to see their director’s teaching technique, as well as how the students responded and moved forward in their music.
This evening’s performance took place at St. Mark Church, just a few minutes from the capitol building and Willamette University. They treated and fed us very well, and even had coffee and tea for us at dinner. As most of us were pretty tired by that point, we appreciated that part of their generous meal for us very much. We had fun in our performance, and even though we were tired beforehand we were awake as ever during it. (Though, the coffee may have had something to do with that too).
Sadly, tonight is our last night with home stays, because tomorrow we will stay in a hotel. But on the bright side, we don’t have to be anywhere until 9:30 tomorrow morning, so we can still spend quality time with our hosts and get quality sleep tonight too!
(Photo credit: Nicolas Roycroft)