College Choir Snapshot Album
by Verna Cole Mitchell
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SMILING EAR TO EAR
Here I am, ready to jump for joy at making it through the tryouts for the choir in our Southern Christian college.
OUR CHOIR ROBES
These might be black, but I felt like I was in an angel’s robe. I was ready to sprout wings.
Here we are in the front seats of the chapel as we learn our parts and the words for the songs in our program. We worked note by note, phrase by phrase, and line by line till we’d mastered every piece.
This is a typical pose with his hands in conducting mode. Oh, his many admonitions:
All eyes on me…Begin strongly…Stay on key…Keep your tones crisp…Make your harmony pure…Let me hear you pronounce each word distinctly…Don’t take a breath in the middle of a line…Hold the note at the end without fading...Keep the tempo up…Smile…All eyes on me…All together now with feeling.
OUR BUS FOR SPRING TOUR
We’re all lined up here, ready to get on the bus. Excitement was in the air as we began each journey to various churches for concerts. On the bus we sang, we joked and teased, we played games, we had heart-to-heart talks, and we prayed together. Sometimes, weary from college studies, we slept. Only the most serious students would try to do any studying in that atmosphere.
SCENERY SHOT FROM THE BUS WINDOW
See the array of color in God’s magnificent creation? Traveling through the Southern states in springtime, we saw unforgettable beauty. A profusion of bright and pastel flowers spread their display beneath blooming dogwood and redbud trees next to hardwood trees, bearing new bright green leaves. All were guarded by tall sentinel fir trees.
Just look at those long tables loaded with delicacies, made by those wonderful Southern cooks: huge platters of fried chicken, fluffy biscuits, potato salad, deviled eggs, vegetables cooked with “fatback,” casseroles of every description, iced tea, and an array of tempting desserts. My, my! I can still taste those mile high coconut and devils food cakes and those cream and fruit pies. (Don’t eat too much—remember you’ve got to sing tonight.)
ONE OF THE CONGREGATIONS WE VISITED
This is a picture of us standing on risers. We looked out at those expectant faces and were determined to present for their inspiration and enjoyment, words and notes woven together in beautiful harmony. The people were always so responsive and appreciative.
THE CHOIR IN ACTION
With mouths wide open, we look like we could catch stray fly balls. One of our first songs was for introduction, where we sang our names. Musically we marched, we danced, we prayed, and we praised God. Between some of the songs several choir members gave personal testimonies. In conclusion, we presented in song the wonderful blessing that the Lord gave to Moses for the children of Israel, beginning “The Lord bless you and keep you…” We were young, we were happy, and we were thrilled to be able to use our talents in this worship experience.
ENDING OF THE JOURNEY
Here we are ready to get back on the bus to end our travels. The dark bus was filled with the sound of quiet laughter and muted conversation, maybe a snore or two, as we sat knee to knee.
COLLEGE GRADUATION TIME
This is a cluster of choir members in robes at graduation time. With full hearts and eyes filled with tears, we said good-by to never-to-be-forgotten friends with whom we’d shared such wonderful experiences.
What special memories these pictures bring to life.
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Oh, Verna, this is great. It brings back so many memories -- high school choir and church choir. A few years back our sanctuary choir toured Europe and sang in some of the oldest cathedrals. It was such a tremendous experience! I can relate to so many of your memories. There's hardly a greater feeling of "family" than a good choir experience where everyone works together to be one voice united in praise and worship as opposed to 100 or so individual voices. The format you chose works to accentuate the myriad of blessings available to choir members. I enjoyed this so much!
Such a creative article! Your vivid descriptions made the accompanying photos unnecessary.
I attended hospital-based nurses' training in the north, but your album pictures bring to mind our similar experiences, as the nurses' choir went out on tour as well. Precious memories, all! Thanks for sharing your album with us!
Verna, you stirred up some beautiful, beautiful memories of my own college days in Nyack College when I was part of the Glee Club which traveled through the South during the Easter break. Everything you describe happened to me. It makes you wonder if choir directors send out a "how to" newsletter for touring groups, doesn't it? What precious memories. I should have my name on this wonderful piece as co-author because I experienced every bit of it, but I couldn't do anywhere near the good job you did in presenting it in snapshot form, a lovely departure from the usual format.