Well, we’ve reached our last full day of tour. We only performed two short sets today, and we can really feel tour coming to a close now, but our day was still packed.This morning we left the homes of our final hosts with plenty of sadness and snacks, and boarded the bus. We had about an hour to explore downtown Portland where Chorale was able to walk around, shop, and eat in the good ol’ Rose City. Some of us embraced full tourist mode and went straight to Voodoo Doughnuts and the Saturday market, while others found some fast food to eat and relaxed.
After lunch, Chorale headed straight to the Grotto and performed a mid-afternoon concert in the Chapel of Mary. The cathedral was beautiful and the choir looked pretty darn dapper too. The Grotto was definitely one of the most breathtaking places we have visited on this tour. Part of it is built on top of a cliff face, and the gardens and general nature around it block out the feeling of city life. It presents itself as being in a secluded spot, when in reality there are streets right next to it. This atmosphere created by the Grotto’s architecture and audience influenced us to sing some of our softer songs, so as to fit the serious and sacred serenity of the space.
Our dedicated and inspirational tour coordinator, Shirley, treated us to dinner at Olive Garden before our evening performance. Shirley is retiring this year from PLU so this is her last tour, so she made it special for us and we had to return the favor. We presented her with a signed frame with a picture of us all, and cards from each section. Though we are sad to see her go, we know that she will enjoy the life of retirement, especially so she can have more time to tend to her garden. Without Shirley’s hard work and smarts, tours like this one would not happen, so our appreciation for her, and the appreciation she has from multiple other ensembles from PLU, is endless. We want to thank her again for all of the work she has put into our ensembles and travel, and wish her the best in her future endeavors.
We ended our night with a combined concert at Marylhurst University with the Marlyhurst Chamber Choir and PCC’s women chorus. PCC began with a set that included a favorite from the movie Pitch Perfect, which revived us from our slight breadstick-induced stupor. We were up next with a small set that included Dr. Paul’s How I Came to Be, which was special for everyone tonight. Marylhurst is actually the university at which Dr. Paul worked before PLU, so this piece of his was premiered in the very hall we performed it in tonight. Also, that was our last time performing it with him. He is headed back to PLU tonight, and the violin solo will be played by Dr. Ronning, a professor and violinist at PLU, in our homecoming concert on Tuesday. Marylhurst ended tonight’s shared concert with favorites such as O-b-La-Di, Ob-La-Da by the Beatles, and Gravedigger by Dave Matthews, both arranged for choir, and both very exciting and impressive.
Tonight Chorale members were able to hang out with each other more, because we are staying at a hotel. Some of us went for a swim, some socialized in the lobby, and others went out or relaxed in their rooms. Overall, one thing that we have all enjoyed about this trip is the bonding. That showed tonight; even though we were tired at the end of another long day, a few of us stayed up late into the night to talk to other members who we may not have known well or talked to much before tour. Moments like those make trips like these even more fun, because not only can you share what you love with the places you visit, but you get to share a little bit of yourself with your peers and become better friends with them.
Tomorrow we only have one performance which is at West Linn Lutheran Church, during their Sunday service. Then we will bus back to PLU and officially be done with tour. Come on out for this final performance at Sunday service if you are in the Portland area, we would love to see you there!
(Photo Credit: Nicolas Roycroft)