The 2018 Goshen College Men’s Chorus tour is underway! We set off bright and early on Saturday morning, departing on a bus from the Music Center at 5:00 am. Flying from Chicago’s Midway airport to Portland, Oregon went very smoothly, and we arrived at around 11 am PST. After a brief mix-up where we boarded the wrong charter bus, we managed to successfully make our way to downtown Portland, where most of us went to food carts for an overdue lunch. We satiated ourselves with a copious amount of lamb meat, curry, and garlic sauce, and were left with the rest of the afternoon to walk around the streets of Portland. Many people went to Powell’s City of Books, which is an enormous bookstore, that contained the widest variety of reading material that I’ve ever seen. Taking up an entire city block, the building itself was very cool, with several different levels and a maze of rooms that each were identified by a different color. Other highlights of the afternoon included the riverfront, doughnuts, coffee, and a variety of different stores and shops, such as an upscale men’s underwear boutique.
After a couple of hours downtown, we boarded our bus with bus driver Jimmy (who expertly maneuvered several tight turns and bridges), and headed to Portland Mennonite Church. We briefly warmed up for our first concert, and then were treated to a delicious burrito/haystack bar for dinner. We changed into our concert attire, and got ready for our first performance on tour. The audience fully filled the sanctuary at Portland Mennonite, and there was plenty of nervous and excited energy. We opened with “Zion’s Walls”, the first song on our program, which received a rousing round of applause, which definitely calmed some of my nerves and helped me settle into the program. We sang the rest of our pieces with excellent attention to detail and emotion, highlighted by performances of “Soon and Very Soon”, “Finlandia”, and “Bound for the Promised Land”. My host family complimented all of these pieces later in the evening. The new Goshen College President, Rebecca Stoltzfus, was at the concert, and said a few words about Goshen during the performance.
There was a short reception following the concert where we had a chance to mingle with the members of the church, and grab a glass of water. We were then matched up with our host families and taken to our respective houses. At this point, we had been awake for more than 20 hours (minus any sleeping that had been managed on the plane), so I was fairly exhausted and went to bed quickly. Sunday morning, we return to Portland Mennonite to take part in their morning worship service. Stay tuned to the blog to get regular updates on our tour of the Pacific Northwest!