Day 5 – The Way Home!

On Monday morning, Dr. Doerries monitored the early morning breakfast crowd because the boys had been waking up at 6:45am for the 7:00am breakfast…but, only 4 people showed up! Everyone else slept in! After everyone flew through a late breakfast, we loaded all our bags back onto the bus and headed to Saint Meinrad for our last recording session. We had three psalms to record, one hymn, and few odds and ends.

(Aside: Each day on the bus, a mug with a note telling the story of the ‘Muggins’ appeared in Dr. Doerries bus seat (several with different had writing). At first, Dr. Doerries thought he just forgot to bring the initial mug inside the hotel each, but on Sunday night while he was packing he noticed that the mugs had multiplied and that he had a set of four on his dresser! Now he thinks a few of the singers were playing a joke on him!)

After the rollercoasters the previous night at Holiday World, our voices were a little scratchy and there were several singers drinking hot tea with honey. But, we got through our music and headed to lunch. We had fish sandwiches, salad, fruit, and chocolate cake and then boarded the bus to the gift shop of Saint Meinrad. Before getting on the bus we assembled for a group picture with Ms. Abby as this was her last event with the choir. We gave her a big group hug after we posed politely for the picture!

At the gift shop, after we explored the casket shop (the monks are known for making simple, yet beautiful caskets) we each picked out a few presents for family and friends and boarded the bus. We also got cards for two of our choir family members who got sick and had to return home a day early. We sent them get-well-soon cards as well as a few gifts from the shop! (They are already feeling better as of this posting.)

The drive on the bus was just under six hours. We watched Disney’s Tangled and sang along to the songs. After a quick bathroom stop in Westfield, IN we had dinner on the bus and started our final leg home. We had a few people to recognize for reaching the five-year-mark as members of the Notre Dame Children’s Choir; a huge accomplishment and we are very proud of all our recipients! Then we held an extended evening prayer where were reflected upon the entire trip. There were lots of tears when Ms. Abby closed evening prayer with kind words to our singers and thankfulness for having had the opportunity to spend the past two years working them. We hope she finds a job near South Bend and comes to visit often!

With tears in our eyes as we said our goodbyes to old and new friends, we exited the bus into the embrace of our families.

It was an extraordinarily moving experience to spend five days with such kind-hearted singers, incredible musicians, spiritual monks, and dedicated parents and staff. The Notre Dame Children’s choir is our family away from home!

Thank you to all the parents, chaperones, staff, directors, Monks, audio producers and engineers, and new friends we made along the way for making our trip a success. Stay tuned for next year’s trips to Los Angeles, England, and Texas!