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Friday, August 10, 2018

Our day started off with a flash, in that the sun rose and shone its flashing rays all about our room, waking us from our restful repose. That was especially true for the men in my dorm, as our windows seemingly face the east. After our normal morning routines, we converged upon the cafeteria at or around 8:00. Kenny said this about his breakfast, “Ah, the breakfast. It was good. It was hors d’oeuvres style in that you made your own sandwich and ate it. And there were well-cooked scrambled eggs which were included.”

We have been having a lot of meat, cheese, and bread for our breakfasts. And some people are getting tired of it. It’s not quite at the verbal complaining point yet, but it might be getting close. Mr. Lloyd said this about the breakfast, “The scrambled eggs were good this morning. But my guess is that you will miss bread and cheese a few days after you get home.”

After initial warmups, we had a devotional by Mr. Titus. And then, the recording began. Edward, our recording engineer, had a really cool t-shirt on that he wore specifically for us. Unfortunately, today felt less focused, and we struggled with staying in key more than yesterday.

The first song we recorded was “Do Lord.” After several really good takes, a few ladies next to me described their morning in one word. Alissa: “Too-brilliant.” Carolyn: “Weary.” Rhoda: “Bored.”

After that, we recorded “Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross.” Unfortunately, we consistently flatted this one. Regarding this, Dervin said, “After singing it so many times, it feels like the meaning of the song isn’t there. Yet I want to achieve the goal of the directors.” Good for him. Chris said, “I’m pretty much speechless. What do you want me to say? Also, lifestyle changes are best made early in the morning.”

The rest of the morning consisted of guess what? Recording! After a good lunch and some personal work on “Abendlied,” we got back to recording. We successfully recorded “Abendlied” in pretty much two takes. Good for us!

After a while, Mr. Lloyd’s brother and wife from Spain, arrived and we sang “Happy Birthday” for him. Since we improvised such a beautiful rendition, we decided to put it on our CD, as there are very few recordings of that available. (just kidding!)

The rest of the afternoon consisted of guess what? Recording! Spirits sagged slightly, and the building temperature increased. “Oh, it’s so hot!” was a phrase that I heard coming from my left throughout the afternoon. After a snack around 3:30, spirits rose, the heat seemed less intense, and joy levels increased. Recording finished by 5:50 or so, after which we had a scrummy supper.

At 7:30, we reconvened in the chapel for a talent show. We were entertained by poetry, barbershop music, a real Greek Tragedy, stories about Mr. Lloyd from his brother, and much more. After that, people simply hung out, maximizing the extended curfew. One major discussion related to starting a Mennonite monastery. Any takers out there?

Pray for energy and grace to finish the tour well and that the seeds that will be planted through the CD will bear much fruit in God’s Kingdom!

 

Written by Jonathan Miller

 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Baptist Seminary

Today was a long day,
With no time to play.

Mics were set up in a beautiful chapel with a high peaked ceiling.
We sang, and re-sang, and did that over again and again.

Here is what choir members replied when asked, “How did the recording go for you?”

It was boring, but i don’t have to be entertained all the time.

It was tiring, we have to really concentrate and put on our best.

It’s going well.

It went much better than two years ago, there is not as much sharping.

I like it because we can move.

I don’t like it, it’s so strenuous.

It went pretty good, i have never done this before.

It’s kinda fun, but tiring.

It’s taxing, but great.

I would not want to do this often, it’s intense.

We made progress.

It’s going well, i enjoy it for the most part.

We are in a peaceful setting among many trees, in a quiet village not too far from Warsaw. But we had to stop singing when a plane flew overhead, a truck went by, a car started up, the floor squeaked, and happy children played.

Lloyd’s wife Mary walked in to listen. Someone commented, “Here comes the queen.”

How much time does it take to record a song?
Gott Ist Die Liebe, 50 minutes.
For He Shall Give His Angels, 40 minutes.
Niech Krol Wszezgswiata, 12 minutes
Hallelujah Amen, 14 minutes

Director Comments,
(Titus) It went well, easier and less stressful than i thought.
It helps a lot with two directors. It does not help to nit pick things to death.
We are over half done.

(Lloyd) Part of this is not fun, and part of it really is.
Both men felt it was a good day, and complimented us for our hard work.


Mary Ellen Beachy

 

 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Apologies for the lateness!

Today we ate breakfast at the pleasant hour of nine, and then started off on a two hour bus ride to Kartuzy.  It’s home to Kashubians, a tribe of people that have lived in the area longer than the Polish people.  They still speak their own language.  I read a poster that said traditional Kashubian cuisine includes zupa z wreka (goose broth) and roasted eels.

We stopped at the culture center and ate a lunch prepared by our non-Kashubian food committee.  They have provided a lot of delicious variations on the theme of sandwiches throughout the tour.

In the afternoon were given time for solitude and meditation.  Otherwise known as time to work on diction for our song “Abendlied.”

Just before the evening program we were introduced to Gregory, a man who recently moved with his family into Kartuzy.  They moved to become a part of what the Lord is doing in the area.

During the evening program I kept thinking of the ever present human component of choir ministry.  We can try our best to spread the gospel or encourage people through our singing, but it’s really difficult unless we make connections by showing that we are regular people.  It’s so much fun watching those connections happen throughout the program.  We can’t always speak the same language, but we can still worship together.

Tonight was the first time I saw someone in the crowd singing along with the Taize songs.

One thing that seems to warm up the crowd is when Mr. Lloyd “introduces” us after the intermission.  People really light up when they see that some of the choir members live in Poland.  Or that Heidi is from Australia, and Yuriy and Alla speak Russian and Ukrainian.

I’m also reminded of the human components of choir tour when less than positive things happen.  Tonight we had to restart a song for the first time during the program because of a weak opening.

Being human, many of us have been struggling with sickness.  It brings all kinds of complications.  Sometimes I croak when I try to sing, and tonight during the program I dropped a tissue.  Before I could think, I had already bent to pick it up.  Of course I froze when I thought through what I had done, only to realize I hadn’t stood back up yet!

It’s also been wonderful making connections with the other choir members.  It isn’t quite as awkward now when we are supposed to make eye contact with each other while singing “Do Lord.”  It’s going to be hard to say goodbye when we have to leave next Tuesday.

After the program we were treated to some incredible perogies.  It was the perfect ending of a good day.

 

Written by Martha Strickler

 

Wednesday, August 7, 2018

This morning’s schedule set a 9:00 breakfast which allowed for a relaxed morning. We did have to pack our bags because we’ll be staying at the Baptist Seminary in Warsaw for the next three nights while we record. After breakfast we sang “Do Lord” and “Neich Król Wszechświata” for our hosts.


Our devotional time on the bus included a story of two friends. The challenge was, “How well do I exemplify Jesus to those around me?” Then we spent a half hour in quiet time.
Because of travel delays/detours we didn’t stop for our lunch along the way as planned, but rather went all the way by a scenic route to Ostrołęka, the city of our concert. When we arrived, we walked a short distance to a mall food court for our lunch. Then walked to the hosting church to change into our concert clothes. From the church we walked to an outdoor stage in the city square. Singing in an outdoor space with choir microphones presented its challenges. It was harder for us to hear each other and the sound system squealed and popped. Pitches drove upward. A water fountain with children playing in it created distractions. However there was a responsive audience and it seemed as though there was a connection made.
After the concert, we visited with the audience a little bit before going to supper provided by the church at a restaurant. Then we walked back to the church to pick up our things and on to the bus for the ride to Warsaw. We hope we can get a good night’s rest before recording tomorrow.
Some interesting things we found out after the concert:
The church there is small. About 30 people. They started in this town 20+ years ago. They are starting a series of evangelistic meetings and we were the first part of those meetings.
Written by Benjamin Barnhart