Oasis Chorale is on the road again! After a complete hiatus in 2020 and a modified tour that did not involve any bus time last year, we are especially grateful to be able to be on tour. At 8:30 Friday morning we met at Parkview Mennonite Church where we had spent the last three days rehearsing. There we loaded the bus and were soon on our way to Roanoke, Virginia.
We enjoyed the luxury of an unhurried schedule, since we did not have far to travel. Following a nice lunch stop in the town of Roanoke, we arrived at Bonsack Baptist Church in good time. Every venue has a different sound and different logistical challenges for risers and standing arrangements, so it is ideal to have several hours to prepare and rehearse. We worked through our repertoire, tuned our “instruments,” and did our best to be well-prepared for the evening. A half hour of quiet solitude after rehearsal was a refreshing way to recharge and to be mentally prepared.
The kind folks of Fincastle Mennonite Church provided supper for us, and before long we found ourselves standing in front of an audience for our first concert. After the many hours of personal preparation and the days of rehearsal right before tour, it is always delightful to have our work come together at last into a real live concert. Beyond the jittery nerves and stray notes that tend to be part of a first concert, shafts of glorious light shone through. Our audience was warm and effusive in their appreciation.
A choir tour is a place where we experience keenly both the wonders and the limits of our human physicality. While reveling in the beauty of this world, we long for a far better one. As Wendell reminded us on one of our rehearsal days, our pursuit of excellence in the art of music-making is “a work of imagination and resistance.” Even as we acknowledge the brokenness of the world, we push back against the shadows and become heralds of the new creation.
Rosalie Beiler, Alto 2