(Apparently there’s no public Wi-Fi available at the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church here in Schaumburg, IL, so this blog post is up a little late. Whoops.)
Today, we got to sleep in for a little longer than normal because we only had to ride the bus for a little while this morning. Our drive was moderately boring.
Just kidding! Brittany Manning and Katie Aldrich serenaded everyone, assisted by Freddie Mercury. It’s one of the many tour-related traditions that has happened during this trip so far.
We rode on the bus for only an hour, from Naperville to Schaumburg. When we got there, we immediately went to a nature trail in a park to stretch our legs and breathe in some fresh air – we’ve been told we’ll miss that in Beijing. There was a cabin, a small lake with a large dock, and (somewhere off the beaten path) a “heritage farm.” Afterwards, we took a trip to a nearby mall, intending to buy some of the last-minute items we’d discovered we needed. Not everyone found what they were looking for, but it seemed like everyone had a good time as a whole.
Finally, we departed again for the Friendship Village of Schaumburg. Acoustically, the room of our rehearsal and performance was perfect. Jason Brescia (who will join the WCCB as a first-year in the fall) met us there, and many of us were very excited to see him again. Since it was a Saturday and there were no students available to hold any kind of clinic, we only had a short rehearsal to help us focus on the music we were playing that evening. After Doc seemed satisfied with our practicing, students who had been nominated for WE President-Elect and Secretary were encouraged to come forward and give short speeches; voting is supposed to be on Sunday, before we leave the country. Then, we went to the Prince of Peace Church, where we ate dinner and stored our luggage. After quickly getting dressed, we took the bus back to Friendship Village again, where we prepared for the concert.
If I didn’t know it to be a fact, I wouldn’t have any idea how this trip could possibly get any better. It was unbelievably refreshing to perform for an audience so eager to show us their praise; even during our rehearsal early in the afternoon, an elderly man named Fred had seen our bus pull up outside and was so excited that he came down to hear us practice for a short while. It makes me wonder how the audiences in China and Japan will react – are they going to be more reserved in their applause, or will they be even quicker to get on their feet? I suppose we’ll find that out soon enough, because ready or not, we’re leaving the US in less than 24 hours. As fun as pre-tour has been, it has also been exhausting and gone past in the blink of an eye. Our last clinic feels like it was a week ago already, and it makes the remaining hours pass by even more slowly for most of us.
We’re going to China? And Japan? Bring it. The Wind Ensemble is definitely ready for this.
A huge shout-out needs to go out to Jason. He made practically everything happen for us this whole day: his school loaned us instruments, he and his family made us dinner, and he had done all of the work to make sure we had a place to perform and – just as importantly – a place to sleep! This thank you also extends to his entire family for being so hospitable and helpful to everyone in the Wind Ensemble over these past few days. In case he’s reading this right now, we appreciate it more than we can say and are super excited that you’ll be an official member of the WCCB family soon. Arigato!