Thursday, June 27, 2013

Days 13-15 - New York City

Tuesday morning we boarded a commuter train from Sea Cliff, NY to NYC. This was a really nice train ride into the city. Once we got off the train (we were underground), we headed up the stairs right into downtown Manhattan. WOW!!! What a sight! We've enjoyed two days full of sightseeing. On Tuesday, we dropped our luggage at the hotel, took a subway to Ground Zero, and toured the 9/11 memorial. That night we went to dinner at Ellen's Stardust Diner and experienced Times Square at night! Then on Wednesday we took a back stage tour at Radio City Music Hall (very cool!) and then were able to go to the top of the Rockefeller Center (67th floor) where we had a 360 degree view of the city. We could see the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Central Park. After the tours, we walked some more, some groups had lunch from a street cart, and walked through Central Park. That night we went and saw Cinderella. This morning we are boarding a bus for a tour of other parts of the city. Tonight we fly home to get ready for the reunion weekend and home concert at Abravanel Hall on Saturday night, then the WBR Sunday Service.

Day 12 - Duxbury, MA to Sea Cliff, NY

On Monday morning, we left Duxbury and traveled to Sea Cliff, NY. We visited the Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island on the way. The Breakers was the summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt. We took a walking audio tour where we were able to learn all about the Vanderbilts and the lifestyle of the rich and famous during that time. From there, we drove into Sea Cliff, NY where we were greeted by Steve and Susan Wood. Susan, Steve, Becca and Jeff (both WBR alumni) lived in Sea Cliff before moving to  SLC. The choir played in Sea Cliff 5 years ago. This was our last night in host homes.

Day 11 - Chelmsford, MA to Duxbury, MA

This morning after playing the worship service at Aldersgate, UMC we traveled to Plimoth Plantation in Plymoth, MA (and yes, they did spell it with an "i").  This is a very cool place to go. It is a premier living history museum that has a Wampanoag Homesite and a 17th century English village. You can read about it in the ringers' blog.

From Plymoth Rock, we traveled to The Pilgrim Church of Duxbury in Massachusetts. This is where Tim Hare-Diggs's uncle is the pastor of the church. The folks at this church were so welcoming and the dinner was delicious. This was another night where the ringers got to stay in very unique homes: on the ocean and in restored farmhouses and barns.

Tim and his family in Duxbury
Notes from the ringers:
 Yesterday, all of us bell ringers, chaperones, and bus driver went to visit Plymouth Plantation, the actual city of Plymouth, and played a concert at the Pilgrim Church of Duxbury, MA. The Plymouth Plantation was so cool, and amazing to go to. We got to visit a village of the Wampanoag, the Indians that were there before the English men came to America. There were people actually dressed up as the Indians back then and told us how they lived and such, and answered our questions. The next stop was the English village of the first Plymouth. The people there were dressed as English people. The only difference was the people dressed as Indians, they talked in modern day voices. The people dressed as English people, talked and used body language like the English people back in 1620, with a bit of an Irish accent. Our concert in the Pilgrim Church was so amazing, and so well. It was one of our best concerts on this tour. This tour has been so much fun, and so amazing. I loved making so many friendships, and its now off to New York. Missing everyone back at home.  See you in a few days.

Seeing Massachusetts for the first time has been so fun, but going to Plymouth Plantation, Plymouth Rock, and playing in the Pilgrim Church of Duxbury was extraordinarily fun. Seeing everything  being re-created from when the Pilgrims arrived. I loved seeing the Wampanoag and their little home that they re-created, you could see how they made their canoes, huts, and more. Walking down the small trail to the English village was super green and pretty, seeing the nature was absolutely stunning and peaceful! Entering the English village was awesome they had cool looking chickens, awesome bulls, cute goats along with a baby goat! I loved the way the talked in their accent, it was super fun. Leaving Plymouth Plantation and going to Plymouth Rock was a short and to see the rock being well guard was interesting but I personally thought they over did the barrier its just an important rock, but oh well! It was still fun to see the rock!

The church we played at last night was truly beautiful and amazing to perform in. I stayed in a host home that used to be a small inn that had belonged to our host’s aunt, who had died at the age of 103 years. Each of us got our own rooms (which is rare on tour, especially at a home with four other ringers), and the room I stayed in had a balcony which I could go and sit on, relishing the cool breeze and fresh air after a long, hot day of sight-seeing and playing bells. Our hosts were so sweet, and it was so interesting to hear about their travels for three weeks in Europe, and meet their adorable golden retriever. It was definitely one of my favorite host homes this tour, and some of the most interesting people I have met so far. I am really going to miss these kinds of experiences.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Day 10 - West Rutland, Vermont to Chelmsford, Massachusetts

This morning after our awesome breakfast at St. Bridget's, we were on the road once more. This time we are traveling to Chelmsford, MA through Boston. The morning was the usual, vitamins, writing thank you cards, a devotion, the bank, and then "quiet time." Everyone LOVES quiet time because you get to catch up on much needed rest.

After arriving in in Boston (with alot of traffic), we ate lunch at Quincy Market. Then we walked part of the Freedom Trail. We were able to see where the Boston Massacre happened, where Samuel Adams, Mother Goose, and Paul Revere are buried, the Old South Meeting House, and King's Chapel, and finally finishing up at Boston Commons. We traveled about an hour to Aldersgate UMC in Chelmsford.  Lisa Arnold,  daughter of Larry and Marilyn McGill, and a WBR alum, arranged this visit. The choir has played at this church before. We had tacos for dinner, a first on this tour!. We have also become great friends with the mosquitoes for the past three days. :)


At Quincy Market in downtown Boston

Walking the Freedom Trail

Mail is always handed out at dinner. Check out this delivery!

From controlled chaos to "ready to go" in about 15 minutes.

Wait - who's that on the bass row??

On Sunday morning (Day 11), we played during the church service at Aldersgate. We played four songs (Joy, Finale, Noah, and Gospel). While we have been on the bus, we have been learning about the Fruits of the Spirit from Galatians. We have received a different colored bracelet for each fruit. The last several days each ringer and chaperone, director and bus driver have picked a colored bracelet and are concentrating on that particular fruit for day. Today, the sermon was about the Fruits of the Spirit, talk about a "God moment!"

Notes from the ringers: 

Boston was a lot of fun. We spent the day exploring Quincy Market and walking along the Freedom Trail. Terry was especially full of Terry Facts in Boston. Did you know that the Chipotle Mexican Grill in Boston was established in 1820 and started the debate on immigration? (In case you believed me, that is a Terry Fact and is completely untrue.) Kelly, Larni and I bought Build-a-Bears in Boston and named them Philly, Yorkie and Boston. The church we played in was kind of small, but the audience was a lot of fun to play for. The following morning we played 4 songs at the church’s worship service and the sermon given was on The Fruit of the Spirit, which coincidentally is also this year’s Ed Devotional.  -Desi                                                                                                                      
Exploring Boston was tons of fun.  We went to Quincy Market for lunch and then went along the Freedom Trail.  On the Freedom Trail we got to see a lot of interesting places from the Revolutionary War.  Terry told us many “Terry Facts” about the city of Boston.  One of these “Terry Facts” was that in the King’s Chapel, George Washington tripped and knocked out all his teeth and that is why he had to get wooden teeth.  (This is completely untrue, so do not tell this to your children and grandchildren).  The church we played in was a tad bit small and hot, but the audience was great and fun to play for.  The next morning we played in their church service.  Coincidentally, the sermon was on the Fruits of the Spirit, which is the theme of Ed’s devotionals.             –Alicia S.

Boston was one of the coolest places to visit on tour. In Quincy Market there were many street peformers . One was riding a unitricycle thing, which was three tires on top of one another then the seat. While we went for a walk on the Freedom Trail,  Trudy would at every stop tell us many stories about that one place.At King’s Chapel she told us how it broke off from the Catholic church. These Trudy facts were actually true unlike Terry  facts. There  was a burial ground called the Granary Burial Ground which was very confusing because there were two Paul Reveres buried there so it was weird to see which one was the “real” one. My favorite part was the Robert Gould and the 54th Regiment Memorial. These men were the first African American unit in the Union and they all gave their lives in an attempt to capture a fort. That night we played at a very hot and small church. It was so hot that behind the bass tables there was a water bottle graveyard that contained at least 20 empty bottles. That was our day in Boston.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Day 9 - Gorham, Maine to West Rutland, Vermont

Today we drove from Gorham, Maine to West Rutland, Vermont. On the way we stopped at Lake Winnipesaukee, which is a huge lake in the middle of New Hampshire. There we had the annual tour picnic. It was very peaceful, and the lake was beautiful.  We traveled on to St. Bridget's Catholic Church in West Rutland, VT, where Terry's best friend Brian of 35 years lives. When we arrived at the church we were greeted by Father Vince and his dog Barney. The church was made of marble from Vermont and was breathtaking. The parishioners were from St. Bridget's and Saint Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church, and they worked together to feed us a delicious Italian dinner. The sound of the bells filled the church. One guest was overhead saying about the ringers, "they looked like regular teenagers at dinner, but after dinner turned into professional musicians." After the concert, the ringers gathered in the fellowship hall for cookies, brownies, ice cream and other desserts. We were blown away by the hospitality and generosity of this church. The next morning they fed us a delicious breakfast and sent us with many care packages for the next day's journey. We will never forget this concert and the people we met.
The picnic crew sets up the lunch. This group did all the planning and shopping for the meal. We had a delicious lunch!

St.Bridget's Catholic Church

Bryce heads down the dinner line.

We have had great host homes on the 2013 WBR Tour. Many of us have had the opportunity to stay in homes that were built in the 1800's. Here some of the girls stayed with Kathy. She is a quilter and shared with us her work in the Linus Project.

Terry and Brian - Thanks Brian for setting up this most memorable visit to West Rutland.

Notes from the Ringers:

Well, as my final days as a Wesley Bell Ringer approach I sit on the bus and reflect about all the past moments that I have enjoyed in the choir. My first tour was undoubtedly the best experience I have had in the choir until yesterday. During the day we went to Lake Winnipesaukee t o have the regular tour picnic. This place was absolutely stunning! The whole environment was pristine and painted with a glorious green forest. There was a dock that looked out upon the lake where we all ate our lunch. While eating with my feet hanging off the dock dipping into the water and looking on this glorious scene I began to realize how perfect this day was shaping up to be. After the choir recollected itself at the lake it was off to play a concert in Rutland, Vermont. This church was made out of the purest Vermont marble and had a sanctuary that could rival any you have ever been in. The people that occupied the congregation reflected the  glorious building we were in. They were very kind, and generous with their hospitality. I have never experienced a church that was more willing to make our stay comfortable and was so supportive of our organization. After a catered dinner, the concert we played was fantastic and wholesome as the acoustics lit the entire room with sound. After playing we were presented with a very generous donation. I was shocked by how kind these people have been to us, but they didn’t stop here. After the concert there was a desert bar and in the morning they provided the most delectable breakfast I have ever had. The beauty I experienced yesterday was only a taste of what the whole area has to offer and I crave a longer stay. I will be back later in life to fully enjoy everything this special place has to offer. –Bryce

Today was the day we had the picnic I look forward to every year! Desi, Alec, Alicia G, Shannon L, Braden, and I were in charge of the shopping and we bought a lot of delicious food! We went up to this beautiful lake and ate while we soaked our feet in the lake; it was such a great afternoon. Then we drove to the most gorgeous church I have ever seen! They made us a huge Italian spread for dinner, including lasagna, baked ziti, meatballs and garlic bread! During the concert they presented us with a super nice donation and I honestly couldn’t believe it , I am so grateful for their generosity! They also had a huge desert and a delicious breakfast spread in the morning! I’ve never had a church do so much for us! The atmosphere of the church and the people in it was something I have never ever experienced in my four years of the choir, and I know I will never forget it!  –Catherine