Summer Tour is one of the most important components of the Choir School Program. On tour, choristers grow in so many ways – as musicians, as team members, and as independent, confident young people. Summer Tour 2019 will take us to Knoxville, Chattanooga and Sewanee, and will give us the opportunity to perform and lead worship for hundreds of audience members and parishioners.

The Episcopal Church of the Ascension | Knoxville | June 14 | 7:30pm Concert
The Church of the Good Shepherd | Lookout Mountain | June 15 | 7:00pm Concert
St. Martin of Tours Episcopal Church | Chattanooga | June 16 | 10:00am Service
University of the South/All Saints’ Church | Sewanee | June 16 | 4:00pm Evensong

June 14, 2019 – Day One: Charlotte to Knoxville, Tennessee

Day One of tour is always exciting as we meet early in the morning, organize all the personal and choir items that we will need throughout our trip, load the bus and say goodbye to our family ready for our exciting new adventure! New friends, new places, audiences and new host families.

Below are a few pictures from our day for you to enjoy. Lunch is a time for us to get to know each other in our group better- this is our family for the week. Arriving at the Museum of Appalachia we enjoyed a musical presentation and some history of the local area. The museum consists of a large number of original buildings of the era that were moved to the site to teach and honor their history. Inside many buildings were artifacts to view including toys, weapons, musical instruments, etc. The highlight of the trip seemed to be the animals; from cats to chickens to goats and peacocks!

Arriving at our host church, The Episcopal Church of the Ascension, we set up for the concert, moved suitcases, garment bags and backpacks and went to work. The Choir School has sung at Ascension several times throughout our history and the audience is always large and welcoming! We enjoyed singing for our friends.

After the concert, we met our new friends, our host families and headed home to rest and prepare for day 2 of our 2019 tour adventure.

June 15, 2019 – Day Two – Tennessee Aquarium and Church of the Good Shepherd Performance

Day Two is typically the time to demonstrate personal growth. We meet early, retuning from their host homes with their belongings. Their uniform garment bags were to return re-packed with all of their uniform pieces present and hung neatly, so all would be ready for the next concert. This can be challenging for all, but it was great to see the kids accept responsibility for themselves and their possessions and grow in the moment.

The kids had plenty of wonderful stories to tell of the care they received and the fun they had with their host families. Gracious thank you notes were written quickly. it’s fun to see them succeed in the challenges of a handwritten thank you note.

After a short bus ride to Chattanooga, we arrived at the wonderful Tennessee Aquarium! This has long been a favorite tour stop over the years. This time we were treated to a special animal encounter led by an interesting teacher explaining much about opossums and black snakes. While many took the opportunity to touch the snake, all found the presentation interesting. Leaving the presentation, we proceeded to the “River Journey” exhibits following the water flow from the mountains to the rivers and the species that are found in each area. After lunch we went “behind the scenes” to see from the top one of the huge animal tanks in the “Ocean Journey” building that held over 32,000 animals! While most animals stayed at the bottom of the tank, we did see sharks, stingrays, fish and a large sea turtle up close! From there we proceeded through the remainder of the exhibits through the “Ocean Journey”. Of course, all had to visit the gift shops once during the day! From there we headed to our next performance stop.

The drive to the top of Lookout Mountain to arrive at Church of the Good Shepherd was thrilling and the views were fantastic! Once again, it was time to unload the buses, set up the church for a concert and begin rehearsing. Each church we visit is different. Acoustics are experienced and logistics are planned and learned. Everyone must find their spot and remember their route to get there. Music was refined from the night before, soloists were announced and concert time came quickly. With every performance comes musical growth and this was no exception. The audience was thrilled with the performance and we appreciated their enthusiasm.

After the concert, we once again met new host families and began the process again, with the anticipation of continued growth, personally and musically!

June 16, 2019 – Day Three – St. Martin’s of Tours and All Saints’ Chapel, Sewanee

We began the day demonstrating a key pillar of the mission of The Choir School at St. Peter’s. Our program is modeled after the centuries-old Anglican Choir Schools in the great cathedrals of England. We learn music from the Anglican repertoire and lead worship services regularly. On Sunday we met at St. Martin’s of Tours in Chattanooga ready to lead their worship service. Prior to the service, we rehearsed the service music, anthems and hymns, found places for everyone in the choir loft behind the altar and reviewed the logistics of the processional in that setting. After vesting, we were ready to enhance the services and inspire the congregation. We sang “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” as the benediction to conclude the service, and the congregation showed their appreciation with spontaneous applause!

After a wonderful lunch provided by the parish, we were back on the bus to ride to Sewanee, TN to lead Evensong at All Saints’ Chapel on the campus of the University of the South. The Chapel was an amazing place to sing- similar to experiencing Duke Chapel and the National Cathedral or the Cathedrals of England. The choristers worked quickly to vest, rehearse and learn their logistics of Evensong and performed well! At dinner on campus after Evensong, a variety of people approached us to thank and compliment us. A great tune up for these chorister’s adventure in England in 2023!

After dinner it was back to Chattanooga for our annual hotel night and pool party!

June 17, 2019 – Day Four – Lake Winnie Amusement Park, Traditional “Bennie Award” presentation and drive home

A few pictures from our day at the park! This family owned, historical park was wonderful. We enjoyed our time before returning to the bus to drive home. Due to timing, weather and traffic we had our annual “Bennie Award” presentation on the bus, celebrating a fun, unique moment in each of our choristers’ lives while on tour! Arriving home and connecting them with their parents, we look forward to seeing all our choristers in August, as we begin our next season!

35 Tours, 35 Gifts

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