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      CONNECTED on Tour

      I'm taking a break from Calendar Girls today. The HG Choirs are heading south for our annual performance tour. This time we're heading to Washington D.C.  We began taking these tours around 20 years ago and they provide some of the fondest memories of choir for the participants. Whether the trip is to Prague or Rio, or Toronto or NYC or Cleveland, or West Virginia or Philly  or any of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania, the choir functions as a choir: traveling, eating, sleeping, putting up with smoking buses (outside Rio), rushing off the bus to walk right into a gymnasium full of waiting elementary kids, joining with the Newark Boys Choir or the Hamilton Ontario Children's Choir, or experiencing a show or a museum, the choir is and becomes even more wonderfully connected.

      That's sort of our theme this year, as it seems to be everyone's theme: we need to develop and nurture and strengthen our connections with others. And the more “other” the other is, the better. We hosted the MLK celebration in January and many of our songs embrace his mission and message: we need to walk hand in hand through trials and triumphs. We're going to be singing at the MLK memorial in DC and one of the song's texts is MLK's favorite “Let justice roll like a mighty stream.” How can there be justice if we aren't connected and can't walk with the “other.” Injustice is a result of NOT doing this, yes?

      I love working with the HG choirs. I love the rehearsals and I love making music with committed young singers. I love choosing songs. I love planning the tour—as exasperating as it becomes sometime. I love singing in schools where the choral teacher and principal see the choral exchange as a valuable thing for their students. I'm grieved that we have fewer singers than in past years. I'm grieved that many kids are faced with impossible decisions as to what will occupy their time and energies. I'm grieved when parents don't understand or value commitment and don't pass that on to their children.

      We have 28 wonderful kids going on this tour today along with 9 adults.Thank to all the parents who help make this happen. We're prepared to sing over 20 songs—without sheet music. We're singing in four schools, one retirement community, memorials, streets, restaurants, one church. We're connected, and getting connected with others. It's a good thing.

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