So, next week, I will be traveling to Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania with the WMU Chorale! I am very excited about this, as it is always fun to write new countries on my list of places that I have visited. So far, I have been to Canada, Ireland, Italy, and Thailand.
Interestingly, almost all of my visits to other countries have been music-related. I have put on concerts in Toronto on two separate occasions. The first time, I sang with a group of my sisters’ friends at a church up there. The second time, I was the director of a community children’s choir. We put on several concerts and saw some great sights, including the CN Tower and Niagara Falls (the Canadian side of the falls are better). I also took my children’s choir to Italy. My goal was to eat my way through the country. In that attempt, I succeeded! The food there was amazing.
For those of you who may not know, my family sings together. We sang and ministered in churches in southeastern MI. People would always joke that we were the von Trapp family. We would respond that we were the von Schneider’s :). Anyway, my family also ministered in Ireland and Thailand through concerts, masterclasses, and lectures. Those were very memorable trips!
Of all the places I have visited, my favorite was Ireland. The country is verdant and beautiful. We got to see so many great sights. We visited the Cliffs of Moher (the Cliffs of Insanity from The Princess Bride), the Dingle Peninsula (one of the few places they still speak gaelic as the first language), and Blarney Castle (I did kiss the Blarney Stone; I don’t know how much gab I was gifted, but whatever).
However, the best and most important aspect of every trip is meeting the people of that country. Forming new relationships is a great experience, and it introduces you to different ways of viewing the world. This might come as a shock, but not everyone has the same worldview as you ;). In Ireland especially, we stayed with Irish families and worshiped with Irish folks. It was a powerful experience that I will never forget and always cherish.
I am hoping this trip to the Baltics will be equally extraordinary. We will be competing in a competition over there. This is a little frightening because of the citizens are pretty hard-core about their choral singing. Their standards are very high. We will also be meeting and singing with choristers in the respective countries. I am looking forward to getting to know them.
I will try to keep you posted as we travel. If you want to hear our repertoire, come to our pre-tour concert at Milwood United Methodist Church next Tuesday, May 16. It will be a wonderful concert. We would be happy to see you there!