"It's not a bus, it's a MOTOR COACH." ~ Douuuuug (our bus driver)
Just about a month ago, my family and I went on tour with Crossflame Youth Choir, the one my sister mentioned in an earlier blog post. Basically, tour is when the kids in the choir who have been working on songs for the past school year, finally get the program from our choir director, Ron, and go to different Methodist churches all over the country to sing. Of course, the whole trip is chaperoned and everything.
Day 1 of tour: This year (my first year in Crossflame), our tour destination was Toronto, Canada. On Wednesday, June 15th, we got to the parking lot of St. Luke's in Hickory bright and early to load up the bus and head to West Virginia.
When we got there that night after a looooooong, tiring bus ride, the church had a huge dinner waiting for us. After which we ran upstairs, changed into our tour t-shirts, ran back down, sang our first concert, and then were whisked away to the family's homes we were staying at that night.
Our first concert!!!
Day 2 of tour: We met back at Wayside UMC, had our morning devotionals, and set out for our FUN day at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Ohio. OF COURSE, the weather reports that day called for rain, and when we got there it was coming down like a mini monsoon, but strangely enough, just as we were ready to head down to the park, the rain stopped and the day turned sunny! We stayed at Cedar Point 'till closing and had an awesome time!
Sunset at Cedar Point!!!
Day 3 of tour: Niagra Falls, New York!!! After yet ANOTHER early morning and long bus ride, we got to our dorms at Niagra University, had five seconds to get all our stuff off of the bus, and headed to the church to do a concert. That night we had one unforgettable concert. It was the first night when we went out into the audience for our closing song, "Draw the Circle", and joined hands with all the people who had come to see us. It was such an AMAZING night. Then, right after the concert, we took a surprise trip down to see the Falls from the American side. It was beautiful. There was a fireworks show, and it was the perfect way to end the night.
Crossflame members getting to know our audience that night.
The beautiful Niagra Falls. <3
Days Four, Five, and Six of tour: These were our days in Canada!! Our first adventure was crossing the border. Everyone was a little nervous I think, but we made if over without any problems. Then during the drive to the dorms, it was the constant sound of like 50 people going, "OMG! They have McDonalds in Canada???" "Wow look! A Canadian Walmart!" We did a few concerts at two different Salvation Armies in Toronto. We learned some of their youth choir's songs, and they learned some of ours, and then we each did some of our own separate stuff. It was cool getting to know some Canadian kids, and it was equally cool seeing how the Salvation Army works.
Right before our first concert at the Salvation Army, the lights all went out! So we had to do it down in the basement where there were lots of windows. And it was just as good as always! We were accompanied by their youth choir and their band.
The Pastor putting on a puppet show with his pal, Douuuuug-las.
Our Sunday morning concert with the Salvation Army.
Then, our last day in Toronto was spent sightseeing! A lady from the church volunteered to be our tour guide and took us around the city all day. And that night we got to hang out at the dorms and just have some free time with friends, which was also awesome! It was fun hanging out all night, laughing, getting to know each other, just having a good time. That was probably my favorite night of tour.
The whole gang inside a fountain somewhere in downtown Toronto.
Day Seven of tour: That was probably our longest day. There was an incredibly long bus ride to a church in Michigan where we basically got off the bus and sang. The church was hot and pretty much empty, and the whole town smelled like cows, but it was still a good concert, and it was definitely the most elaborate church we sang in. We were all very, very tired though.
The HUGE Michigan church.
Day 8: Our last full day of tour...everyone tried to spend as much time with their friends as possible. We were all exhausted, had sore throats, and tired of the bus. But we were all looking forward to our last concert. It was one of our best, and when it was over, we all realized that was the last time we'd ever sing that program again. We were ready for it though. That night, we stayed in families homes again. We got one with a hot tub AND a pool and had a pretty relaxing night.
Before our last concert of Tour '11 at St. Andrew's UMC.
Bobby's signs to remind us to smile while we sing!
Day 9 of the tour consisted of the drive back to North Carolina. It was a sad day, all of us saying goodbye back in the same parking lot we started in. Over those 9 days most of us really bonded, and we didn't want it to end. But luckily for us, Crossflame starts back up again in August...and...we have next year's tour to look forward too!! I can't wait. It was the experience of a lifetime!!
All of Crossflame from the 2011 tour. =) <3