Our apologies for the delay in getting out blog out, we had technical difficulties!
On Wednesday we traveled from Atchison, KS to the Mall of America in Minneapolis, MN. After scarfing down hamburgers we were excited to visit Nickelodeon Universe, the amusement park inside the mall. Jam packed with rides from rollercoasters to the log flume and an assortment of flying, tumbling, and spinning machines, Dr. Doerries and a few of the girls decided to warm up to the larger rides by starting with the Carousel (unfortunately, Dr. Doerries was too big to ride the horses!).
The boys (and lots of the girls) rode the roller coasters for hours only stopping for the occasional water and ice cream break. A few of our singers lost their dinners on the roller coasters (we all learned a lessons, just like swimming – wait 30 minutes after eating before riding summer-saulting roller coasters!). Nonetheless, we all got back on the bus exhilarated and ready for bed.
Unfortunately, our accommodations Wednesday night were not what we were promised. We arrived to hot rooms without air conditioning and the occasional bug wandering the hallway. Dr. Doerries and Mrs. Villano stayed up late to secure us a four-star Marriott hotel in downtown Minneapolis for the next night. We opened our windows and did our best to encourage ventilation, but it was not out best night’s sleep.
Despite the dorms being less than we expected, the morning’s breakfast was college-cafeteria style with almost anything you could image made on the spot by the chefs. Thursday was Gwyneth’s birthday (she turned 14) and her father made a surprise visit to see her in Minneapolis and celebrated by bringing donuts for the entire choir! Happy Birthday, Gwyneth and Thanks Mr. Landau!
After breakfast we took the bus to the Basilica and had a breathing and light stretching session with Krista Costin, a professional singer and friend of Dr. and Mrs. Doerries. We learned all about posture and intercostal muscles for breathing.
After warming up our bodies, we proceeded into the Basilica to sing for Mass. The choir stalls are in the apse of the church, a very steep set of seats configured around the organ. The Basilica was built in 1907 and was clearly designed for singing. The curved ceiling of the apse thrust the choir’s sound 500 feet forward into the congregation with crystal clear acoustics. By singing for Mass, we participated in the 1000 year old tradition of young people leading worship.
After Mass the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Minneapolis threw us a HUGE lunch of pasta and salad from Bucco di Beppo! Then we checked into our new swanky hotel. Plush beds, large windows with views of the city, and massive bathrooms and showers were a hit with the choir! We rested for a few hours before dinner and then headed back to the Basilica for our performance.
Instead of singing entirely from the front of the church, we decided to alternate between singing near the altar (visible to the audience) and from the apse where the sound was idyllic (not visible to the audience). Ms. Abby led the choir in the best performance yet of In Living Green AND we performed almost everything from MEMORY! The irony, it was out best sounding performance of the tour, but we were the most tired of the tour.
After the performance we went to the hotel and had evening prayer with out choir families and then went to bed (although we know a few of the rooms stayed up, unable to resist the big screen TVs in the room).
This morning we slept in and had breakfast and morning prayer on the bus as we drive to Milwaukee. We are hoping the weather will be pleasant so we can dip our feet in Lake Michigan before our Evensong service tonight.
Love to our families!