After meeting at Iowa Mennonite School, we got on the bus and headed toward Sparta, Wisconsin. On our way, we had a leisurely rest stop at a lovely park in the town of Manchester, Iowa.
Before we stopped for our lunch break, our tour manager, Jason Martin conducted a competition quiz asking us to guess the year the French-town Prairie du Chein (our lunch destination) was founded. John Strickler’s guess of 1671 was the closest to the actual year– 1673. He was rewarded with a scrumptious-looking cupcake for his effort.
In Sparta, we had a little over an hour to rehearse before the Midwest Festival Choir joined us to go over our collaboration pieces, “You Are Mine”, “Hosanna”, and our audience participation number “Bless the Lord”. Getting to know other singers and working together on such gorgeous music was very special.
The concert went well, with our focus incredibly tuned on some of our more intense pieces. The collaboration pieces were rewarding and the overall atmosphere warm and receptive.
After concert, we loaded up the bus and drive east to the Sparrow’s Nest at the Abbey, a former Cistercian monastery, where after finding our rooms, we ate a lovely snack provided by the Sparta Mennonite community.