This morning started out on time! Actually we were on time to just about everything today, and we didn't encounter rain. Let's just pause for a moment and take in the importance of that victory.
We loaded up the bust today and headed down to Dallas. We past through Patrick's motherland, although I generally refer to this area of the country as the southwest annex of Arkansas. They don't seem to be amused by that around here (or "around these parts" as they might say).
Our first concert was at one of the Project Transformation sites. Unfortunately, we had yet another minor snag but then again you knew that was coming, didn't you?). It seems the Project Transformation coordinator I had been working with neglected to finalize the plans with the site coordinator. So she wasn't expecting us. Nevertheless, we set up in the gym and sang during snack time and dismissal.
Project transformation is a sort of childcare/school program. I don't have all the details, and I hope to learn more as we sing in more sites the next couple of days. The audience was kids of all ages. Michele took a great picture of some of them...
Also it was nice to meet Carolyn's aunt and uncle at the concert. This actually turns out to be a recurring theme for the day. We just kept seeing people we knew. You know, as I think of it, that's happened more on this tour than any before. We've seen people we know at virtually every concert.
The chaperones have been up to interesting antics lately. It seems they'd like to see the youth choir a bit more animated. They've taken to making signs and dancing at the back of the room. Well I guess that explains the sudden and unexplained smiles that come out of the kids now and again. Hey...if the kids smile, this is a good thing! Take a look below. Scary lot, they are.
Fortunately we were able to hang out with a few of the kids before we left (and before their parents came to pick them up). The youth proved once again (as they have over and over) that they are capable and willing to connect with the people who hear us sing. I've said before and I'll say again: that connection--the time we spend visiting--means as much or more to the audience as the music we make.
I have several sibling pairs in the choir. Some of them get along remarkably well. Some perhaps not so much. Having and older brother and remembering some of what he pulled, I can understand that. Kate and Alex do more than simply exist in the same house. You can see here just how much they love each other. Of course they'll be horrified when they see their picture on here. But hey, if you can't embarrass on the blog, when can you embarrass?
After we sang the concert we went to the Sixth Floor Museum. This is the museum they have made out of the book depository where Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, fired three shots, mortally wounding John F Kennedy, president of the United States.
Or did he? Look at the picture below, enhanced and age regressed. You'll see the choir on the grassy knoll. If you look in the shadows to the right you'll see the outline of a man. While we may never know the truth, we now believe the evidence points to one of two theories. It is possible that it was this man on the grassy knoll. This theory has been explored and debated for years. After extensive and exhaustive investigation (we spent 45 minutes there), we now believe it was the choir on the grassy knoll.
I mentioned that we've had lots of family joining us for concerts on this trip. We had three guests at our second concert. It's always good to see familiar faces. We were happy to see the Patterson's aunt, Anna's dad, and Patrick's mom.
Our next concert was at CC Young. We sang in a very nice room for a pretty big crowd. We were a little more tightly packed. We actually had time to prepare in the space. For these and a few other reasons, this concert was our best yet.
My voice, by the way, is coming back slowly. During the concerts I've had Jonathan speaking for me. I've been told this is not nearly as funny as I think it is.
One of the reasons the concert was better is the presence of a seven foot Steinway piano. Although Mitch asked if we could take in our keyboard (we usually call it the "fun machine"), we insisted that he play the piano instead (sorry, Mitch). Man, it was nice to sing with a nice instrument. I think Mitch was in love.
Of course the youth continued to do great work engaging the residents. I never cease to be amazed at how easily they touch the hearts of the audience. If you look in some of the pictures below, you'll see what we're giving out this year. The folks at Embry Hills (actually one of our singers too) made these 3 inch quilt squares. They have a cross inside that you can feel. There is a knot tied on each square that serves as a reminder that we are praying for them. At every concert, each youth takes one square to hand out (and we always carry a few extra so everyone in the audience can get one).
I had an interesting first at the concert as well. I've never had a heckler before. I explained (through Jonathan) that How Can I Keep from Singing is included in the program because living in constant thankfulness leads one to be thankful even in difficult circumstances. How can we keep from singing? She said, "Well, I guess you could lose your voice!" Everyone laughed. After the concert Beth took my picture with her.
Olivia had a pretty quiet day today. We've started making sure we explain in the concert that she's in Ireland. Some folks, seeing the cutout, wonder why she "isn't with us." This wasn't a problem last time I had cutout participants, so I wasn't ready for that. You should also know (or does it matter?) that Olivia has been disqualified from winning the smile awards at the end of the day because her smile looks like it's been pasted on.
More uncontrollable hand gestures below. I really need to seek help for some of these kids...
And who won Boudreux and Thibodeaux? Well, the guys were warned that if they didn't get with the smiling, we were going to award both mascots to girls. While they wouldn't smile to look pleasant or to brighten the days of the audience or anything petty like that, they would smile to make sure the girls didn't get their mascot. Congratulations, Riley and Daniel!
Today we sing a concert at 9:00 and then head out to Six Flags for the day. Though we finally seemed to emerge from the rain yesterday, it'll probably rain today. It's just how we roll this trip. In any event, have a good one!