We started the day with a concert at a nursing home. It’s an interesting shift to go from a big church to a more intimate setting. Many of the residents had different health issues and weren’t able to communicate easily but — you should’ve seen them when we passed out our shakers. Despite all of their health concerns and limitations, they were still excited to play along and joined us to make music. One man instantly found the beat of our 12-8 piece, and just nailed it. He was fantastic! Their toes were tapping and you could tell that the music had a positive impact on them.
We had lunch and headed to the Howler Monkey reserve! I think the kids are really enjoying these animals. We will be sad to leave our hotel tomorrow and say goodbye to the monkeys who play in the trees outside our rooms.
Then, it was onto San Jose Catholic Church. This community has more Spanish speakers than we have seen so far and I used a translator during the concert. VIP did a great job and when we were finished...
On Day 4 - we went cave tubing! We learned a lot from our guides on a nature walk to the river. Along the way, many kids tried eating termites (they taste like carrot and mint!) and held a giant tarantula!
It was glorious to swim in the cool river. The caves were amazing and just as you might expect, VIP took advantage of those divine acoustics. I was in one of the last groups, so we were probably 10 or so minutes behind the first group. As I descended the final hill down to the entrance to the river, what I heard stopped me in my tracks: it was “Blessing” pouring out of the mouth of the cave. And it was phenomenal.
I’ve heard that piece thousands of times in almost every setting — churches, an ancient monastery in Ireland, under the Chicago bean, in the rotunda of the Texas Statehouse and so many more. Honestly, I’ve done it so many times that I thought its effect had worn off. But this time... this time was different. I was hearing our signature piece, but I wasn’t IN the circle. I got...
I was on the phone with an alumni member of Voices In Praise. Maddie Buckley (VIP Class of 2014) is a Communications Major at Syracuse University and I was asking for her counsel on a few communications challenges.
"What's on our website?" Maddie asked. And there it was - "Our." Maddie didn't ask me, "What's on your website?" or "What's on VIP's Website?"
"What's on our website?" 4 years removed from VIP, for Maddie (and I hope for all of alums), there is still that sense of connected-ness to VIP. Yes, it's ours.
Earlier this month, we lost a dear friend. Dan Boyer was the chorus teacher at Huntingtown High, and a long-time friend to Voices In Praise. He often conducted workshops with us before Tour and provided a steady stream of encouragement and advice over the years.
We were honored to be asked to offer music at a service to celebrate his life. While this was not an easy task, the VIP singers showed up in wonderful ways to offer music that Dan would have loved.
Below are videos from Dan's service. We thank God for Dan's life and trust that one day, we'll raise our voices with him and all the saints in God's heavenly chorus.
Sit Down Servant (arr. Shackley)with Guest Soloists Molly Wilkerson and James Huchla
Every year, we send out a postcard to remind singers about our kick-off rehearsal, which we call "Rally." In the age of digital-everything, it's sometimes nice to get real mail! This year, getting those little cards out proved to be a time-consuming challenge. I thought it would be faster to use a local printer (verus the online company that I typically use). Boy, was I wrong! Printer #1 ended up with a broken copier. Printer #2 lost our order in their email system. Printer #3 had staff who couldn't figure out how to get the cards to actually print.
In desperation, I put in a call to Bonnie Dean, who happens to be our church secretary, a longtime VIP Mom, a dear friend -- and a wizard with our church photocopier. "Can you help me?" I pleaded. And Bonnie, who is a generous soul, told me "Of course." Within a few hours, the cards had been printed. Kim Hynes had volunteered to help with stamps and labels (because she is awesome!) but I was hopeful that I could get this task done s...