During fall break, Parables, Goshen College’s student worship ensemble, visited New York City, as well as New Jersey and Ohio.
In their possession, the eight students didn’t have much more than a djembe, tone chimes and their personal items when they arrived. However, when they left they were $5 richer, had memories of inspirational performances and had created a strong bond with each other.
The students, seniors Sadie Gustafson-Zook and Galed Praxista Krisjayanta, junior Caleb Liechty, and sophomores Naomi Peters, Emily Stoltzfus, Josh Liechty, Anne Buckwalter and Lukas Thompson, along with Dan Koop Liechty, director of alumni and career networks, left for NYC on Saturday, Oct. 16.
The ensemble toured the city, busking, or street performing. The group busked everywhere: subways, sidewalks, as well as along with local buskers who made a living off of performing on the streets.
“We got about $5,” said Gustafson-Zook.
Stoltzfus jokingly disagreed, “Probably $7 and some change.”
“But taking out the money we put in to begin with, we made about $5,” replied Gustafson-Zook, with a smile. The ensemble laughed.
Besides busking, the group performed at various locations, including an after school program in the Bronx, the King of Glory Tabernacle, a soup kitchen, an assisted living community, as well as Central Christian School.
The soup kitchen, located in New Jersey, became home of one of Peters’ favorite moments.
“A woman came out and said ‘You guys made a woman smile for the first time in eight years,’” said Peters. “That was really special.”
Another one of Peters’ favorite moments took place at the after school program in the Bronx. She said she particularly enjoyed watching Stoltzfus help a first grader with his math homework.
“[Stoltzfus] got him to get into a rhythm and get into the counting by beatboxing and then he started rapping the numbers,” said Peters. “It was adorable.”
“Well, he was beatboxing and I was like, ‘okay, we [have] to concentrate, let’s incorporate this into the learning,’” replied Stoltzfus.
Although the trip was full of beautiful, inspirational moments according to the group members, Parables still faced some challenges.
Thompson said, “Probably the biggest struggle we had was that everybody we would perform for or [everybody that] would host us would give us too many snacks. We couldn’t really eat that much.”
However, many of the ensemble members would agree that too many snacks wasn’t the only problems that Parables encountered.
During an overnight stay in the Bronx, the group’s passenger van was broken into. Although no personal items were stolen, the group’s djembe and set of tone chimes were taken.
The group agreed that the ensemble’s chaperone, Koop Liechty, thrived under pressure.
Stoltzfus said, “When something stressful would happen… like the van being broken into, [Koop Liechty] was like ‘We’ll get it taken care of.’”
Due to the break-in, the group had to stop at an auto shop in New Jersey. While they were waiting for the van to be fixed, the group sat in the sun.
“It was this really nice cuddly, community moment,” said Peters. “We were coexisting with each other. It was beautiful.”
Gustafson-Zook agreed, “I think that’s representative of our entire Parables experience, because there were definitely great moments while we were performing together that we could feel the energy within ourselves and with the audience, but a lot of the best moments were us hanging out or being in the car.”