Variation and Praise Singers By Angi Highlander | April 1, 2011 | RSS Knowing there is nothing to do but homework on the weekend can be quite a disappointment, but for students in Variations or Praise Singers, some weekends hold the thrill of going on a mini-tour. BC students Jackie, Angi, and Cary on a choir tour. All the tours that I have been on in the past two years with Variations and Praise Singers have been both fun and effective, yet this weekend was unique because we were at the same church for three of the five concerts and at a public school for one. Variations and Praise Singers went on a mini choir tour March 19-21 to share Jesus through singing with two churches and a school in Martinsville and Danville, Va. For the first time, the Variations and Praise Singers stayed at a church for two days doing a concert Saturday night and two worship services Sunday morning, one exclusively Praise Singers and the other exclusively Variations. “I look forward to experiencing the diversity of all the different churches and locations we sing at,” said Becca Almazar, a freshman member of Variations and Praise Singers. The other location unique for the choir groups was singing at Magna Vista High School, where singers Tehilliah Johnson, DeMarco King, and Jonathan Penn graduated. “It was kind of weird to have the whole choir there and sing with them in my hometown,” said King. For the other choir members, such as Austin Mathena, singing at the high school music class was a good opportunity to share the message of Jesus, which some students might not get to hear at home or anywhere else . Mathena thought the music class enjoyed the concert. For those of you who have never been on choir tour, you might be thinking: that’s great, but what do you do on choir tour? The top three things you find yourself doing on choir tour are singing, eating, and having fun. Singing may seem obvious, especially since the groups had five concerts in a 48-hour period, but that does not include warm-up and rehearsal time--not to mention all the songs stuck in your head after the concert. This may sound dreadful to some, but to students like Almazar, singing is a pleasure. Almazar enjoys leading others into worship and blessing them with her gift of singing. For Endrakial Johnson, a senior criminal justice major, practice makes perfect, so he does not mind spending time in rehearsals. All the students in choir can say that Bryant Moxley, director of Variations and acting director for Praise Singers, believes in rehearsal because of his desire for the music sung to be well received and to make a difference in people’s lives. However, his favorite part of going on tour is the performance. He enjoys seeing the response of the people to the music. The growth and confidence that builds in the singers during a performance is also a highlight for Moxley. The food on choir tours is something to look forward to because many churches prepare delicious homemade meals with a dessert table, which is my favorite part. “One of the main things I look forward to on tour is being fed by so many different people,” said Almazar. Moxley is always surprised at the generosity of the churches to make so much good food for dinner and then to have more good food as well as a place to stay the night when you arrive at the host families’ houses. “The people are always so sweet and kind, and always have some bit of advice to give,” said Jackie Boyer.” It’s really cool having connections with people all over Virginia.” Ryan Moore, an admissions counselor for the college and a van driver for the tour, jokingly said he gained ten pounds over the weekend from all the delicious food. Having fun and hanging out are the best times for people on tour. The choir does get opportunities to relax, thanks to Moxley, who is aware of the energy students give. Almazar said the best part of going on tour is bonding and getting closer to everyone in a setting different from school. “The people involved get to know each other better when they see each other at their best and worst,” Boyer said. The interaction among students outside of school along with the fatigue of going nonstop can create either a lot of laughter or trouble. Usually fun, laughter and inside jokes emerge as students begin to bond. Most people think that singing all weekend would be easy, but they have not been on a choir tour. “Being in both Variations and Praise Singers means going nonstop and it’s hard, ya know!” said Almazar. “People don’t think of singing as high energy but when you put your a ll into it, it takes a lot out of you.” The challenge to choir tour is having high energy performances despite being tired, but Variations and Praise Singers always rise to meet the challenge. “Getting up early and singing in multiple concerts makes you tired,” said Boyer. “Singing makes you tired!—Especially when you sing Brahms Requiem.” The challenges vary for each person, and for Moxley the challenge is making sure the students are safe and in good health throughout the weekend. The only heath issue on this choir tour was the scenic and shorter trip on the way to Martinsville, when a “small but significant group” got sick, according to Moxley. Leighann Warfe said she felt like she was on a “swerving road towards doom.” Needless to say, an alternate route was chosen coming back.