The privilege of singing in the huge, resounding cathedrals of Ireland was a highlight of the trip! We enjoyed the opportunity to connect with our audiences through music, along with the interaction we had as we met people personally.

Sight-Seeing in the West

A few day trips, touring the West, must not be left un-chronicled. We rode to the top of Pike’s Peak and to the bottom of the Royal Gorge, took the plunge and swung out over the Royal Gorge, climbed rocks in the Garden of the Gods, and toured Focus on the Family’s headquarters.

We concluded the tour with two Sunday programs in Hutchinson, Kansas. It was a fitting end to a wonderful tour. We are grateful to God for letting us minister in this way to the prisoners of Colorado and other people who crossed our paths.

From Kansas to Colorado

The chorale met in Kansas, which was in the thick of harvest. After rehearsing for a grueling day and a half, we drove to Colorado, but not before Wendell arranged for combine rides for the chorale members. The stark beauty of Colorado’s deserts and mountains greeted us in Westcliffe, where we shared a program with the Mennonite church.

Sharing and Learning

Our evenings and some afternoons were given to sharing in song with the inmates at different prisons, we spent our mornings in workshops conducted by Wendell Nisly (conductor), Lyle Stutzman (assistant conductor), and Joe Miller. The subjects included: Philosophy of Music, Sight Singing, Pitch, Vocal Production, Rhythm, and Choral Conducting. All of these proved to be beneficial to the chorale, but perhaps the most controversial and thought-provoking workshop was Philosophy of Music. The concerts in prisons were eye-opening for many of the chorale members. It was saddening to see people, young and old, who had been incarcerated for years on end. Even more sad to witness were their countenances, worn by years of suffering, pain, and sin. What a privilege to bring the Good News to these souls, and to meet the Christians who also were behind bars!

Singing in Colorado Prisons

In the summer of 2004, Oasis Chorale headed west to sing in the prisons of Colorado, working through New Horizons Ministries, a ministry that provides foster childcare for children of incarcerated mothers. Through NHM, we were able to gain access to prisons in and around Canon City that otherwise may not have been open to the Chorale.

Oasis Chorale Personnel 2004

Conductor: Wendell Nisly, KS

Soprano I
Brenda Hershberger, VA
Rosemary Miller, PA
Jeanene Nisly, KS   

Soprano II
Melody Nisly, KS
Cynthia Yoser, VA
Karen Yoder, VA
Jennifer Willey, SC
Charlene Stoltzfoos, PA
Cristi Miller, KS   

Alto I
Christina Gingerich, MO
Susan Lapp, PA
Brenda Petersheim, SC
Rose Stoltzfus, PA   

Alto II
Brenda Kuhns, IL
Edith Mast, MO
Bettina Yoder, VA
Heather Yoder, GA   

Tenor I
Wendel Hershberger, VA
Karlin Miller, PA
Dwight Stoltzfoos, PA

Tenor II
Mannie King, PA
Jason Mast, AR
Dwayne Stoltzfus, PA
Lyle Stutzman, KS

Bass I
Vincent Beiler, PA
Arlyn Kauffman, IA
Vernon Kuhns, IL (IN)
Maynard Swarey, GA

Bass II
Dan Lapp, PA
Gene Miller, KS
Joe Miller, VA
Jeremy Yoder, GA

Oasis Chorale Itinerary 2004

  • June 9   – Meet in Hutchinson, KS
  • June 10 – Rehearsal
  • June 11 – Mennonite Evangelical Church, Copeland, KS
  • June 12 – Youth Offender Services, Pueblo, CO
  • June 13 – Sangre De Cristo Mennonite Church, Westcliffe, CO
  • June 13 – Skyline Mennonite Church, Canon City, CO
  • June 14 – Denver Women’s Correctional Facility, Denver, CO
  • June 15 – Colorado Women’s Correctional Facility, Canon City, CO
  • June 16 – El Pueblo Boys’ and Girls’ Ranch, Pueblo, CO
  • June 17 – Fremont Correctional Facility, Canon City, CO
  • June 19 – Hutchinson Correctional Facility, Hutchinson, KS
  • June 20 – Center Amish Mennonite, Hutchinson, KS
  • June 20 – Cedar Crest Amish Mennonite, Hutchinson, KS