This is the fifth tour I've taken with this youth choir, and approximately the nineteenth overall if you count church or ministry-based trips. Suffice it to say that I've had plenty of time to think and ponder over the whole concept. The choir tour serves many purposes:
- to give the kids a goal to work toward all year
- to help develop and exercise leadership within the group
- to preserve an aspect of our musical heritage, both in our own church and the churches we sing in
- to allow youth to present and exercise their gifts, both musical and otherwise
- to edify and encourage the saints
- to encourage our own youth, both in peer experience and interaction with the counselors
- to give the youth a musical experience that permeates their spirit in a way that builds the fiber of their spiritual character.
This week has continued as an affirmation of the relevance of "choir tour" as a useful concept. Because the audience continues to grow and change, so do the elements of the tour. For instance, we now routinely schedule stops at retirement homes - it's a guaranteed audience, the kids experience both a good mission project and a good execution/rehearsal of the choir program, and it really touches the hearts of a group of believers that don't get ministered to on a regular basis. I don't pretend to think that we are experiencing the ultimate, absolute best choir tour that could possibly be planned and executed, but I am starting to think that there isn't an acheivable target there. If we were to make it more spiritual, it would be less musical... or if it were more fun, it would be less well planned... not that any of those items are mutually exclusive, it's just that redirecting efforts would detract from other areas. Mark and Laurie do an incredible job of making sure that all of the "chunks" of the tour fit together and interact in the way that creates the most benefit for the students and their audience.
On a less-analytical note - it was fun, and worth it. Now I just have to catch up on my sleep (outside of work hours...)