We arrived at Saint Meinrad Friday morning ready to record, but first we had to take in the beauty of the Abbey and the vast acoustic of the Sanctuary, which has a seven-second echo! We spent the morning recording sections of our Evensong taking water and snack breaks to keep ourselves refreshed. Friday was the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and a few choristers and chaperones attended the 11am Mass followed by the noon-time prayer service. The Monks have been chanting mass and prayer services for over 150 years at Saint Meinrad Archabbey.
For lunch we ate thin crust pizzas, ruffage from a plentiful salad bar, optional bagels, and possibly more than one rice-krispey treat for dessert. We had time after lunch to relax so a few singers took a hike of the massive grounds of the Abbey, while the rest of us stayed indoors (it was 93 degrees yesterday!) and played catchphrase, read books, or played go-fish.
In the afternoon, we recorded the rest of our Evensong with beautiful solos by Samuel, Caitlin, and Marcella. The entire choir went to Vespers before dinner and our host, Br. John Mark, gave us a short talk about the way the Monks chant Vespers. It was a little confusing, but we picked up the idea as the service unfolded. It was a serene prayer service of Gregorian chant, prayer, and a reading.
Dinner included fish, peas, pasta, salad, and an assortment of cakes (Lemon, Chocolate, Carrot, and Red Velvet!). After our short bus-ride back to the hotel, we took turns visiting the salt-water pool and spa, as well as relaxing in our rooms before evening prayer.
Evening prayer is always a special time for our choir as we get to process as a group the day’s activities from singing, and prayer services, to the food, and new friendships we are making. Tonight, we prayed for our families at home, brothers and sisters who are graduating, moving, or getting married, and for the continued safety and health of our singers and chaperones. We are grateful to our vigilant chaperones and staff who, with level heads and calm demeanors, soothe and console singer’s angst, as well as share in the joys of our singers’ accomplishments.
As we ride back to Saint Meinrad Saturday morning, we slept between six and nine hours last night. We are a little more rested for Saturday’s adventures, which include visiting and Marengo Caves! We remain in good spirits; a few cuts and bruises cannot keep us down!
Love to our Parents, Grandparents, friends, and pets!