Sunday, March 13, 2016

Day 7

Our last official day of tour is complete! We started off our day by eating breakfast at the hotel in Winston-Salem and hopping on the bus to Greensboro, North Carolina, where we stopped at a local mall to kill some time. Members of the club walked around the area and went shopping for clothes, food, and other things, including extra black bow ties for the group. Some members of the group saw a movie at a nearby theater; it was a challenge walking that far in the hot sun! 
At 2:30 we left for the hotel and grabbed our concert attire before heading to West Market Street United Methodist Chirch, our final performance space. We warmed up in their beautiful sanctuary, filled with wooden railings and stained glass windows, and proceeded to another room to have dinner, which was pasta and salad provided by the church. Our concert began at 7:00, and went very well! Several alumni were in attendance, including the host of the event and a recent graduate, Tom Diehl. We also received many donations and sold several CDs, which we are extremely grateful for. Afterwards, we went back to the hotel and reviewed the week, talking about what went well with our concerts and all the experiences we had together. Please join us on April 16 for our spring concert at the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh, and thank you for your continued support of the Glee Club! It's been an honor serving as Tour Manager this year and I look forward to what the rest of the spring brings.

Stained glass windows at West Market Street UMC

The organ at our performance space

The Pitt Men's Glee Club at our final performance


Friday, March 11, 2016

Day 6

Today was another day that started out with traveling. We left the hotel in Kingsport at 10:30 this morning and arrived in Winston-Salem, North Carolina just before 3:00 P.M. after stopping for lunch along the way in Virginia. We were able to see a tour of Old Salem, the historic district of the city, where the Moravians settled (from Pennsylvania!) in the 18th and 18th century. Among the exhibits that we saw were a museum on pottery and glassware and a bakery and tea shop, as well as an inn where George Washington once stayed on his tour of the newly formed 13 states of America. We departed for the hotel at 4:30 and left for our dinner at 6:00. Our dinner tonight was at a local seafood place that served a variety of dishes from the sea. Among the options were crab, shrimp, chicken, and oysters. The dinner lasted two hours, and we were able to perform both Hard Times and the Alma Mater for the staff and anyone else in the restaurant. After stuffing ourselves silly we had time to ourselves at the hotel, and many of the guys went to Kilwins candy store a few blocks from our hotel. Tomorrow, we will be heading to Greensboro, North Carolina to perform our final concert and see the last sights on our spring tour!

The Blue Ridge Mountains


Day 5

Today has been the most eventful day of our tour so far! We started the day with an early wake up call in order to get to Bristol Caverns in Bristol, TN, a source of geological wonders and a very nice gift shop. We took a tour of the caverns and were able to sing in an underground room next to a river, which had some excellent acoustics. (The songs we sang were Shenandoah, Beati Mortui, and the Alma Mater.) After the tour we went back to the hotel to grab our tuxedos and relax for about 2 hours. On our way to our concert venue, we stopped at Kingsport Carousel, a new attraction owned by a former student of Richard's. They were able to give us 2 free rides each on the carousel, which featured hand carved wooden figured and carefully created paintings. We departed for Forst Presbyterian Church of Kingsport at about 4:30 and were able to warm up in their beautiful sanctuary. Our concert was held at 7:30 and I'm attendance were several students from Volunteer High School, a Pitt Alumni wearing his Pitt tie, and Richard's orchestra teacher from his primary school days. It was our best performance of the tour so far, and an exhausted and happy group went back to the hotel to revel and prepare for the day of travel ahead. 

Bristol Caverns, Bristol, TN

The underground cavern where the group performed

 Kingsport Carousel, Kingsport, TN

A group picture of the men

Our performance space, First Presbyterian Church

 The view from our hotel

Day 4

Today was our adventure to our second state on the tour! We left the hotel in Roanoke, VA at 8:30 A.M. bound for Kingsport, Tennessee, the hometown of our director Richard Teaster. It was about a three hour drive and we arrived in Kingsport at 11:30, where we had a brief lunch at a rest stop and continued on to Volunteer High School in Church Hill, Tennessee, dressed in our white button down shirts, khaki pants and Pitt bow ties. We warmed up in the choir room of the school while some of the students watched and then met with some of the students and their director, answering some questions about our group and college life in general. We performed in the auditorium of VHS at 1:50 P.M., where we did a truncated version of our normal reportoire for the high school and some middle school students as well. After a brief Q&A session with the students, we continued on to our hotel in Kingsport. At 6:00, we drove to Mommas Diner in Kingsport, where we were able to eat an incredibly large buffet dinner. Well deserved after a long day of travel and singing, many members stuffed themselves silly with southern cuisine. We headed back to the hotel and played card games and talked about our day and the high school, while some members played a game of spades with Richard in the lobby. Tomorrow is the day of our concert in Kingsport where we will be seeing several people that Richard grew up with in Kingsport!

Member Benjamin Engel was very tired from a long day of travel this morning.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Day 3

Today was another day full of travel. We left the hotel in Richmond at 9:30 A.M. and passed Charlottesville once again on our way to Roanoke. We arrived in Roanoke, VA at 1:00 P.M where we ate at Mission BBQ, getting a true taste of southern culture. It was both delicious and filling, and the Glee Club was certainly satisfied when we left for the hotel. We arrived at Calvary Baptist Church at 5:00 P.M. and rehearsed in the sanctuary until 6:30. Our performance started at 7, and while there were no Pitt alumni in the audience, they were warm and receptive, and we had an excellent second concert on our spring tour. Afterwards we went back to the hotel, where the guys enjoyed the pool and hot tub on the first floor. Tomorrow we will be crossing state borders and heading to Kingsport, Tennessee- stay tuned for more!

Calvary Baptist Church

Day 2

Today was a completely full day. We started off the morning with a complimentary breakfast at the Holiday Inn in Richmond, which was delicious and filling. We left at 10:15 to go to Charlottesville and were able to walk around the University of Virginia campus. While we didn't see the famous Rotunda, we were able to see many of the prominent buildings and some of the original housing for students. After a quick lunch, we drove to Monticello and were given a tour of the grounds and the mansion. Our tour guide was excellent! He provided a lot of historical background on Monticello and Jeffersons hobbies, and often used silences to think about what he was going to say or ask us next. 
We then drove to Ashland, VA, the location of Randolph Macon College. We met their choir's director at their local chapel and each of us went with a member of the choir to the dining hall, where they used their meal swipes and generously swiped us in for dinner. We were able to meet several students from Randolph Macon and ask them what they thought of their college, their choir, and life in Virginia. At 7:00 we proceeded to the chapel, where we have a small, informal concert for them and they performed several pieces for us. We ended the night by sight reading some of their repertoire with them and taking a group photo in the chapel (which I will post when I get it!). We hopped on the bus and went to the hotel, stopping at a local Wawa on the way ( a first for many Western Pennsylvanians used to Sheetz). Tomorrow we will be heading to Roanoke, VA for our next public concert at Cavalry Baptist Church - stay posted for updates and more photos!


Jeffersons grave

Dorm rooms at UVA

 Jefferson's gravestone

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Day 1

We are now at the end of our first day of tour! Departing from our home (First Baltist Church of Pittsburgh) at 9:00 A.M., most of the day was spent on the road from Pittsburgh to Richmond, Virginia, our first stop. We were able to see beautiful views of Central Pennsylvania and Northern Virginia along the way, and stopped once at a rest stop where the guys were able to eat KFC or McDonalds. We arrived at River Road Church around 4:15 P.M. and immediately started rehearsing in the gorgeous sanctuary. Once our rehearsal was over, members of the church served us a delicious meal of lasagna and bread rolls accompanied with some homemade desserts - it really hit the spot! Our performance began at 7:00 P.M. And lasted an hour and fifteen minutes. Several alumni, friends and family of the Men's Glee Club were in the audience. After the performance, we went to our first hotel, a Holiday Inn on the outskirts of the city. Although today was mostly a travel day, it was a successful first day of spring tour, and tomorrow should be an eventful day!

Our performance space at River Road Church, Baptist

More of our performance space

 Farmland in Northern Virginia

 More of our performance space