The Choir's final concert - St. Paul's Cathedral, London

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Saint Louis

After a smooth and uneventful flight across the Atlantic, and another quick flight from Chicago to Saint Louis, we arrived safely home around 3:30 yesterday afternoon. At least I think it was yesterday - it's now 4:00 a.m. and I'm wide awake, of course! I've got a start on the laundry, am going to look at the mail, and start the return to reality.

The past two weeks have been incredible. The journey was different for everyone, and it is my prayer that all who went, and all you who followed us via the blog, have had eyes opened, minds stretched, and souls fed. I need a few days to digest everything and work out some thoughts on paper. I will share more on this site in the coming days.

I'll leave the blog up through the end of the month so the travelers can enjoy the photos and posts. Thank you, dear readers, for traveling with us these past days.

So, when and where will we take our next trip??

Peace be with you, and glad to be home!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Our Last Day

In less than 12 hours we will be at Heathrow Airport waiting for our flight back to the States. It's hard to believe that our tour has come to an end.

Today was fantastic! We left the hotel mid morning, drove through some scenic and well-known parts of London, and arrived at St. Paul's Cathedral late morning. The Choir was allowed to use the cathedral's choir room for a rehearsal (see photo below). Their rehearsal room is in the lower level (Crypt) and has vaulted ceilings, a small pipe organ, and fabulous acoustics. It was an emotional time for me and many others, knowing that we were not only preparing to sing our final concert, but under the great dome of St. Paul's, England's state cathedral.

We were escorted into place, introduced by one of the cathedral vergers, and sang our concert. The Choir rose to the challenge of singing in this immense space, under the massive dome, and performed their absolute best concert of the entire tour. Margaret, our escort from the Cathedral's music department, was effusive with her praise and congratulations. Well done, Choir!!

I found myself in tears on many occasions today: realizing that we were rehearsing the choir room of St. Paul's, where countless choristers and incredible masters of music have practiced and rehearsed over the years, realizing that we were to sing in the Cathedral itself, realizing that our time in the UK was coming to an end, yes.....but more importantly I shed tears of joy because of the countless blessings and gifts those on this tour have brought to each other, and especially me. I am beyond words.

We rise early tomorrow (5:00 a.m.) to begin the journey home. Please pray for us as we make our way back across the pond, and we look forward to seeing you and sharing our stories and experiences!

Much love, peace, and many blessings from us to you,
Bill and the Choir

London continued

I apologize for not writing a new post or publishing photos last night. We went to the theatre and didn't get back to the hotel until after midnight!

Yesterday was our first full day in London, and our group covered a lot of ground. We drove around the city in the morning then attended Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. After that, some left the city and toured Canterbury in the afternoon while others explored London on their own. Last night was at leisure and several headed to the West End and took in a show. It was a beautiful day and evening for everyone.

We just finished breakfast and depart in an hour for St. Paul's Cathedral to prepare for our final concert. I am experiencing a good mix of nerves and excitement for this performance at the state cathedral of London. I'm also a bit melancholy knowing this is our last performance, and tomorrow at this time we will be at Heathrow awaiting our flight.

The experiences on this tour have far exceeded any expectation I had. Everyone has been jovial, flexible, gracious, caring, kind, and fun. I am so proud of our Choir and the entire group.

Scroll down to see some photos from my day in London yesterday, and I'll post again this evening.

Blessings from London!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


It has been a long but remarkable day for us in the UK, friends. We left Oxford early this morning. The sun was shining and there was a wee bit of frost here and there. We first stopped and walked around Stonehenge. There was not a cloud in the sky and we enjoyed the beauty of this ancient stone formation in full sun.

We then drove to Winchester, a lovely town whose cathedral boasts the longest nave in the UK. The Choir performed their forth concert of the tour, and in their director's opinion, it was the best performance yet. We had time to rehearse on the chancel steps, and the rich acoustic was grand to sing in! We had an appreciative audience, and many enjoyed a tour of the cathedral after the concert.

Winchester Cathedral was founded in the year 624 and the current building dates back to the 11th century. Jane Austen is buried in Winchester Cathedral. Following lunch and a sunny Sunday stroll through Winchester, we boarded our coach and drove to London, our final city of the tour. Several of us took the Tube into Picadilly and had dinner.

Tomorrow we see the city sights, some will tour Canterbury in the afternoon, and some will attend London theatre in the evening. Our final concert is Tuesday midday.

All is well and we are happy to be in London! Scroll down to see lots of pictures from today.


Saturday, October 16, 2010


Oxford. The town name alone conjures up countless visions of students bustling about in black capes, medieval buildings, grand halls and libraries. Oxford was all that and more!

We left our lovely Inn in Coventry this morning and drove south, enjoying beautiful country scenery (it's still very green here) in the sunshine. We made a short stop in the quaint village of Moreton-in-Marsh, drove through Stow-on-the-Wold, and continued to Oxford. We had time for a leisurely lunch, during which time we treated the "Choir Queens" to a thank you lunch for all the work they did with fund raising for our trip.

We had a walking tour of Oxford in the afternoon. Oxford University is comprised of 38 colleges, many of which date back to the early 13th century. The architecture is amazing, and each building was more stately than the previous one. We concluded the tour at Christ Church and walked through the great dining hall, the very one where Harry Potter and his friends dine in all the movies! Yes, Hogwarts was filmed at Christ Church College in Oxford!

We toured in the rain today, and it was hard to believe that we had no rain until Day #9. The weather has turned much colder as well. Tomorrow we make a stop at world famous Stonehenge, then continue to Winchester Cathedral where the Choir will present a 1:00 recital.

Scroll down for some new photos. Peace to you from Oxford!


It is a cold but clear and sunny Saturday morning in Coventry. We are preparing to board our coach and drive through the Cotswolds to Oxford.

Several of our travelers and singers are getting sore and scratchy throats, which is not at all unusual. However, we still have two concerts to sing: Winchester tomorrow and St. Paul's Cathedral, London on Tuesday. I am asking for prayers and good wishes from our devoted and loving followers from the States that our throats will be soothed and anxieties lessened. I'm hoping that the gorgeous sunny weather will help, too!

Other than these few minor health issues, spirits are high and everyone is still having a marvelous time.

More tonight from Oxford,

Friday, October 15, 2010


We enjoyed a relaxing day after much travel and singing the past few days. After sleeping in and a late breakfast we drove to Stratford, stopping en route to visit Anne Hathaway's house. This wonderfully preserved home dates from the early 16th century and contains a few pieces of original furniture. The gardens surrounding the house still have blooming flowers, vegetables and all sorts of beautiful flora.

Stratford is still a vibrant city, and in the middle of town is the home of William Shakespeare. After a tour of the bard's childhood home we had the afternoon at leisure in Stratford. We returned to the hotel early and saw rain for the first time late this afternoon. Dinner will be enjoyed again tonight at our lovely English Inn.

Tomorrow we head for Oxford. Blessings to everyone reading this across the pond in the States!

Peace and blessings,