- It’s surprising how many people think I’m nuts for doing this. I hear it quite often. You’re taking a hundred people to New York? Whoa. Have fun with that. Well, thanks. I will. Ninety-nine percent of the people going have never been to the #1 tourist destination in the US, and I love seeing and hearing their reactions as I experience it with them.
- Although I don’t sleep much at all, it’s still fun. You’d think that after enduring the 10-hour bus rides at night, the risky weather, the worry about obvious big-city safety issues, the Lincoln Tunnel traffic, seeing Phantom on Broadway, Times Square, Grand Central Terminal, Little Italy, Central Park, Rockefeller Plaza, or Medieval Times in Lyndhurst — all for the umpteenth time — I’d be sick of the whole mess. But that’s never the case.
- Performing in our venue is unforgettable. Many choral directors do the “workshop” type thing when they take their choirs to NYC. Those are great and educational and fun, but they’ve never been my style — probably because of my decades-long, iron-fisted death grip on control. I’d rather schedule a place for my singers to perform, do the gig as early as possible, then get to the partyin’. I can’t think of a more beautiful venue to sing in NYC than the Cathedral Church of St. John, the Divine. Awesome place, in the most literal sense of the word, as folks are truly in awe when they first walk in.
- The memories are truly special. I’d need several hands to count how many times I’ve seen and heard former students talk about what a life-changing experience choir tour was. That has to be one of the best feelings for me about the whole thing. I once became a bit upset during a performance at St. John because I looked up to the back row while conducting and saw a couple of basses (both great kids, leaders in the section, beautiful voices) grinning, ear-to-ear: peculiar and basically unacceptable behavior while singing Lenten music. They immediately sought me out after the gig and said, “We are sorry, Jax, but we were just blown away by our sound in this place. We couldn’t believe it.” I’ll take that.
I’m always “on” my choirs about professionalism, behavior, class, respecting the music, recognizing the beauty in things, and being a blessing to people. Sometimes I forget how much of a blessing (in good times and bad — especially the times when they want to see me take the long walk off a short pier…like, you know, now) they are to me. Tour usually brings that to bear in many good ways.
And that’s all the nicey-nicey I got this morning. Coffee, the shower, the road, the school house, in that order. TGI flippin’ Friday.
Have a great day, fiends!