By Payton Clark, Arts Editor
This past week, students may have noticed the absence of many friends, particularly some of those that are musically talented. The University Chorale tour is to blame, and gives these students the chance to travel to performances and make memories that last a lifetime.
From Saturday April 1 to late Wednesday April 6, members of the University Chorale traveled on their annual singing tour. This year, the choir toured Texas, singing at venues in Amarillo, Lubbock, Mineral Wells, Weatherford and Arlington.
“We performed at mostly churches and one high school,” sophomore vocal music education major Olivia Jones said. “What I enjoy most is the opportunity we have to get to know different people at the churches we are hosted by.”
While the tour was for the main purpose of bringing music and the OBU name around the area, Chorale tour is also known for the behind the scenes fun and memories made.
“Our performances range from full concerts (about an hour and a half of music), joint concerts with local high schools, and Sunday morning church services,” Jones said. “[However] this past week, our officers also planned an activity day in Dallas that included going to the Dallas Zoo and the Galleria.”
The locations for performances on choral tours are normally chosen by a relation to OBU according to sophomore vocal music education major Emily Wright.
“Typically for Chorale tour we tour in churches that have connections to OBU, whether it be past alumni or close friends,” Wright said. “We also have opportunities to visit local high schools and perform for them and hear them sing as well.”
Jones credits University Chorale director Dr. Brent Ballweg with the opportunities to relax and have fun.
“Dr. Ballweg does a great job of allowing us quite a bit of downtime on tour,” Jones said. “We try not to rehearse excessively with the purpose of saving our voices for the actual performances while on tour, so we really work to be prepared and have everything memorized before we leave for tour.”
According to sophomore anthropology major Morgan Cherry, the free time in between performances can be both productive and fun.
“Free time looks a lot like laying around the church we sing at doing homework, taking naps or watching Netflix,” Cherry said.
While University Chorale participates in numerous fun events while on tour, one of the most popular is the top secret Chorale Games, started by alumni years ago.
“I don’t want to say too much about it, because it is something only Chorale members can enjoy, so join Chorale,” Jones said. “However, it involves all members, including Dr. Ballweg, Mrs. Ballweg and Dr. Chung, and you are guaranteed to leave with a few pretty intense stories.”Chorale members such as Cherry also enjoy the time they get to spend with their host homes.
“I love staying at host homes, it’s my favorite part,” Cherry said. “Working for a traveling camp during the summer I get to spend a lot of time, a fourth of a year, in strangers home serving alongside them. I love it. It’s a beautiful picture of hospitality in the Church.”
In Wright’s experience, host homes allow the opportunities to make friendships, and music videos, with their hosts.
“There was one host home in Lubbock, Texas, where my roommates Emmalee Ewbank, Daisa Givings and Sabrina Defibaugh could talk to our amazing host homes and have wonderful fellowship with them,” Wright said. “Not only did we fellowship, but all of us roomies made a cool music video to High School Musical 2’s song ‘Bet on It’.”
Wright’s favorite aspect of chorale tour is sharing Christ with many different audiences.
“I enjoyed proclaiming the gospel through music, [and] I loved seeing the faces of the audience when we sang the truth about our Savior,” Wright said. “I also enjoyed being able to greet the audience and hear what they had to say.”
Jones enjoyed the ability to travel with her fellow chorale members sharing music.
“I am incredibly grateful for the privilege of traveling around the states to make music with a choir full of my brothers and sisters in Christ as one voice,” Jones said.