Originally Posted 04/27/2015
Immediately after school on Wednesday, April 8, 2015, the auditioned ensembles of the AACS Upper School Choral Program boarded a plane to Atlanta, GA. The entire experience deepened the relationships among students and chaperones and challenged each person to recognize the value and dignity of every human being. The excitement began on the plane itself when senior Luke Borchelt came on the loud speaker to ask senior Whitney Vandenheuvel to prom. (She said yes!) As the plane made its final approach, the choirs received a request to sing to the rest of the passengers, resulting in a performance of "Hark! I Hear the Harps Eternal" more than five miles up in the sky!
The first full day in Atlanta began with a performance at Campbell-Stone retirement community, where the students sang for a special group of residents who were being honored at a breakfast for their volunteer service in the community. This was a small but excited audience, and God was at work as our students sang arrangements of "oldies" that brought tears of delight to more than one face. (There was even a moment when Senior Logan Belcher's bass voice made one of the residents audibly swoon!) Later in the day, the students toured the CNN studios and performed an impromptu concert in Centennial Park. One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to the Center for Civil and Human Rights, where the students were inspired to by stories of oppression conquered and moved by stories of the oppression that still exists in our world. The day concluded with dinner at Ted's Montana Grill, where many students were brave enough to try out the house specialty: bison!
On the second day, the students visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site. They sang a concert outside of the visitor center and later were invited to sing at the gravesite of Dr. King and his wife, where their performance included an emotionally-charged rendition of one of King's favorite hymns, "Precious Lord," by the Madrigal Singers. After a visit to Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King had served as pastor, the students traveled to Georgia State University for a clinic with Dr. Deanna Joseph. She was floored by the level at which the students were performing, calling them "world class," and saying that they were "better than 99.9%" of the multitudes of high school groups she has worked with. After the clinic, the students headed to the world-famous Mary Mac's Tea Room for some incredible southern cooking and finished the day with an evening performance in the gorgeous sanctuary of Saint Brigid Catholic Church.
Saturday began with a trip to Stone Mountain. The students walked to the edge of the rock and gathered together to corporately read a portion of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech, boldly proclaiming, "Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!" They spent a few hours of free time on the mountain, enjoying its many attractions. The day concluded with a performance at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, one of the oldest churches in Atlanta. After the performance, the students took a quick bus trip to Mount Vernon Baptist Church in the suburbs, where they were greeted by eager host families from the church and carted off to their respective homes for the evening.
For Sunday, the students attended Sunday School and the Sunday service at Mount Vernon Baptist Church. Then, they sang an impromptu concert for the congregation and their host families in the fellowship hall before rushing to the airport and flying home.
For even more details about the trip, please visit the Choir Tour Blog!