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Choir Tour Blog

And All At Once, This Adventure is Over

"It's a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what's changed is you." -F. Scott Fitzgerald

Wow. The one word that I think best describes being on a bus with the same 39 people for 43 days getting to experience this beautiful country of ours all while following our passion of singing. Wow.

Coming on this trip was a decision that I changed my mind on several times. Looking back, I couldn't have imagined not going. I, along with lots of others, made new friendships or strengthened old ones. We made memories that we will never forget. Some of us realized that we could start at life after ONU in one of the places we stopped at. All of this wouldn't have been possible without the amazing efforts of Dr. Ayling and Shawn Stevens. They made this trip absolutely phenomenal and we want to thank them 10 fold. 

Now that it is the day after, I am finally allowing myself to look back and think about all that we did in those six weeks. We explored Atlanta, New Orleans, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Anaheim, Hollywood, Portland, Seattle, Denver and Chicago (there may be more that aren't sticking out right now). Some of us spent a day at Disneyland. We got to see the Grand Canyon, really large cacti, the red rocks of Sedona, the Redwood forest, Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helen's, and Mount Rushmore. We stayed with about 30 families that graciously allowed us to stay in their homes for the night and with that, we got to know them and more about the cities and towns we were in. 

There were many tears shed by many singers last night. Some happy that we were making such beautiful music, some sad with the realization that we weren't going to be around our friends tomorrow. Thank you, University Singers, for accepting me as a pharmacy major into the choir as a freshman three years ago. You all have made a true impact on my life and I have made many lifelong friends because of it. I love you all. 'Till we meet again, this is Megan Stephan, signing off for the ONU National Tour Choir 2016 blog.

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."- Dr. Seuss

Posted: Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - 3:16pm

A Journey Ending

"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters in the end" -Ernest Hemingway

Who knew that a 43-day adventure could change your life? When we embarked on this choir tour, I was excited to see all the sites, sing at some great churches for great people, and maybe make some new friends in the choir that were just acquaintances before. Well all of that happened, except it was 10x the experience I thought it would be. And now, on the 43rd day of this whirlwind adventure, we have our last two performances together as this group. 

In a little while, we will head to the OCDA Annual Conference and showcase some of our best pieces that we have performed on this trip. Then we will head back to Ada, Ohio, unpack everything that is hiding away on our bus, and perform our final concert from the comforts of our own stage, the Freed Center for the Performing Arts. 

It's going to be really strange going home tonight to wake up in my own bed, not surrounded by people who have become some of my best friends. If you are able, please come to Freed tonight at 8pm to experience the last performance by the University Singers under the direction of Dr. Ben Ayling. It's a fabulous show and you won't want to miss it!

Posted: Monday, June 20, 2016 - 9:29am

How Many States Have We Been To Again?

One of the most popular questions asked by host families from the churches that we sing at. The answer- I couldn't easily tell you. Maybe somewhere in the upper teens? We have less than 10 days remaining on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure and, while it may seem crazy, I'm not ready to come home. The most stressful thing about touring is when you need to be back at the bus, which isn't stressful at all. We're all able to relax some after a busy semester, all while seeing the United States and spreading the joy of song. Seems pretty great to me!

We were able to visit Yellowstone National Park the other day and see Old Faithful erupt. While our bus driver, John, fabulously drove us through the twists and turns of the forest, we were able to see bison and elk (but unfortunately no moose). Our hotel stop for that night was in Greybull, Wyoming and we were able to enjoy some quality time together with a bonfire and campfire games.


The next day, we ate lunch in the Bighorn National Park and performed in Sheridan, Wyoming. Once we left Sheridan, we headed to Mount Rushmore and got to the see the famous monument. We ended our Saturday with a hotel stop in Rapid City, South Dakota, complete with an indoor water park, which we took advantage of in the hundred degree weather.

Posted: Sunday, June 12, 2016 - 11:01am