Contrary to students who spent their spring break basking in the Floridian sun, members of the chamber choir spent their spring break performing 12 concerts in six states.The choir left on Feb. 21. bound for Illinois to sing in the first concert of their tour and returned on Mar. 1 for a homecoming concert in the Church-Chapel.
For many choir members, Iowa proved to be a memorable state. Greg Yoder, a senior, remembers the time at Iowa Mennonite School as an opportunity to sing for pure enjoyment.
“We sang informally in the halls … for close to a half an hour,” Yoder said. “The men taught the women songs from men’s choir, and the women taught the men songs from women’s choir.”
Jake Miller, a junior, enjoyed singing in a more unusual setting in Des Moine, Iowa. “We sang in a geo-dome,” Miller said. “It had an orange shag carpet interior. It was as if we were singing in a spaceship.”
Deb Brubaker, professor of music and director of the chamber choir, remembered the performance at Salem- Zion Mennonite Church in Freeman, S.D. as one of her favorites. “It was a very large sanctuary, had a roomy choir loft and a massive pipe organ that sounded glorious in the acoustics, as did the choir,” said Brubaker. “It was a very meaningful performance and one of our best.”
The official theme of the tour was “Encountering God’s Hope.” However, the choir also adopted the more informal slogan “the great white north tour.” The choir shared with the audience ways they have found hope in their lives, both through song and personal stories shared by four students.
Apart from reaching out to the community, the choir was able to strengthen their bond as a group. The long bus rides provided an opportunity for students to interact. Jill Kauffman, a junior, said that after returning to Goshen, she felt “a little disconnected without the group.”
According to Brubaker, “Delightful community was created by the songs made up on the bus. The group spoke about how singing creates community, and we experienced that in many ways on the tour.”