Friday, July 31, 2015

Day 13  Silverdale Washington.  After the ferry back to the US, we had the traditional picnic lunch at a pretty park overlooking the ocean.  The concert tonight was in an LDS stake center.  Our hosts were very welcoming and appreciative of the concert.  It was a good turnout and the kids played another great concert.    Original ringer Chip Sherman and ringer Ann Vogel were in attendance.  Jeanine O’Rourke came to her second concert (our second groupie) and brought her scrapbooks from tour for some great reminiscing.
Reflections from Ringers:

The coolest host home I’ve stayed at so far was last night at the LDS church. We got there and they had a bunch of awesome snacks for us, and after we were satisfied, they took us down to the ocean to see these crazy fluorescent plants in the water that glowed when you touched them. We ended up jumping in even though it was freezing cold, we swam around in the glowing water for a while, and it was amazing.

Cullen Mittelstadt

Days 11 and 12 – Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Oh Canada.  If you ever have the chance to visit Victoria, everyone in the choir recommends you take it.  After a visit to the Dungeness Spit, a very cool spot to see the ocean, we left the bus and bells on American soil and boarded the Coho ferry to Victoria.  On the way over, and back, we dealt with 36 ferry tickets, 36 coast guard forms, 36 immigration forms and 36 people with passports going through customs.  It all worked!  Our hotel was beautiful and the city is lovely.  We had rooms mostly down one hallway with Darlina at one corner and Janeric across the hall so we had the perfect place to gather for group breakfasts and snacks and to listen to CP and Wes play the new song they wrote on the guitar and mandolin. 

While in Victoria we visited Butchart Gardens (amazing!) and Craigdarroch Castle (very interesting).  Both were great experiences.  Half the group went on a sailboat tour, and the other half a sea kayak tour (both awesome!).  The food was great and the locals friendly.  It was a great refreshing and relaxing couple of days. 

Reflections from Ringers:

I have enjoyed all of the wildlife and all of the plants we have gotten to see. The redwoods were really cool and getting to see all the ocean life such as jellyfishes and sea lions has been amazing. Going kayaking in Canada was another highlight of tour so far. Have tons of new memories and pictures to share with family and friends when we return home. – Corey Knapp

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Day Nine – Kenilworth OR to Lakewood WA - After the wonderful service in Kenilworth we stopped at Cartlandia, a gathering of food carts in Portland that includes Voodoo doughnuts.  We had another fun stop planned but ran into traffic problems on our way to Lakewood Washington.  A two hour drive turned into four hours on the bus.  The kids were troopers and after arriving at the church an hour late, and a quick bathroom break, they set up in record time.  The concert was great and everyone collapsed into their host’s beds again in record time.  Former Ringers Jim and Jeanine O’Rourke (their Mom Bev was our host), Zack Fox and Kurt Osojnak were in attendance.  

Day Ten – Lakewood WA to Port Townsend WA - This was our chance to get into Seattle.  We started at the Experience Music Project – a very cool and interactive modern museum next to the Space Needle.  Later we took the monorail into Pike Place market for lunch and then caught a ferry to Bainbridge Island and from there drove up to Port Townsend.  Port Townsend is a cute little sea coast town and we wish we could have spent more time there.  The concert was terrific and the kids earned a couple of days off.  Bobbie’s brother and former ringer Mike Jacobsen came to the concert.

Now it’s off to Canada.  Your next update will come on Thursday when we are back in the US of A.

Reflections from Ringers:

This being my 4th tour I am definitely experienced and know what to expect. I was really excited for this tour because I love the west coast, it is so beautiful and the weather is amazing. I have loved all of the places we have been to but my favorite has got to be when we explored downtown Portland. Although the weather was a little less than ideal it was still very fun to go to the markets. I love Powells book store, I was really happy because I brought three new books to keep me busy on bus days. So far all these tour adventures have been fun and I’m excited for more to come.
Shannon Loveday

Tour is going amazingly! Being one that is constantly seeking adventure, I loved our time in Santa Cruz along the boardwalk. There were tons of fun rides and rollercoasters which are my favorite! I just wish we had more time so I could have ridden all of them! There was also amazing (and very bad for you) food there. I had a footlong corndog and deep fried oreos. Definitely worth trying! I cannot wait to see where else we will go on tour and what other crazy things it has in store for us.
Mady Roberts

The coolest host home I’ve stayed in is with Susan Springer. She was the 11th bell ringer of the Wesley Bell Ringers, which was their second year! – Holden Regnier

The funniest thing was when we went to Portland I told myself I wouldn’t spend any of my money and I would just use it on lunch, instead I wound up buying four books at Powell’s book store. Funny how life works! –Katya Wahl

We love each other, and tour wouldn’t happen without a single one of us, or a single one of our fans at our home church, and churches we have visited and will soon to be visiting. I am having a wonderful time and I couldn’t be more grateful for my parents, and all those who have supported me on this trip. –Peachy Neeld

P.S. May every sunrise hold more promise, and every sunset hold more peace –Peachy Neeld

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A special church service in Kenilworth Oregon

The choir joined the congregation at Kenilworth Presbyterian for worship this morning, in what was a special service for both church and choir.  The church is small - a total of about 50 members, about 30 of whom attend services each week.  Pastor Jewel's excellent sermon focused on the feeding of the 5,000.  He compared human excesses of power, focused on taking more, no matter how much is received, and spiritual power, the boy who shared his loaves of bread, and God who multiplied them, as power focused on what can be given to others.  Justine and Katie were presented with special crosses.  Chaperones were also given a momento of the church.  Justin later told the kids he saw the parallel between the parable, so few, doing so much, sharing generously, and what this small church did for the choir.  This was a special experience among many great experiences on this trip.

Ed also shared a story about a young student he helped who was seeking direction in her life.  Ed shared with her the hymn which we happened to sing in church today, that became of of his favorites:
“O Lord, with Your eyes You have searched me, And, while smiling, have called out my name. Now my boat’s left on the shoreline behind me, Now with You I will seek other seas.”  
“You have come up to the lakeshore, Looking neither for wise nor wealthy.You only wanted that I should follow."
“You know that I own so little, In my boat there’s no money or weapons, You’ll only find there my nets and labor.” 
“You need the caring of my hands.Through my tiredness, may others find resting. You need a love that just goes on loving.”
“You, who have fished other oceans, Ever longed for by souls that are waiting, My dear and good friend, as thus You call me.”
Day 8 - Tualatin Oregon to Kenilworth Oregon

A short travel day today allowed for some great activities in Portland.  We organized into groups and started out at Powell's bookstore, a haven for book lovers, and toured Saturday's market and other spots in downtown Portland.  Our plan was to eat from food trucks, but a steady rain (finally, some real northwest weather!) had us in a food court at a mall instead.  In the afternoon we drove into the Columbia River Gorge and saw the gorgeous Multnomah Falls and the view from historic Vista House.  Jake and Emma recreated a picture they had taken there on a family vacation 15 years ago.

The concert tonight was at Kenilworth Prebyterian.  Our hosts could not have been more gracious. One concert goer asked for autographs! Terry Waite, on a vacation that doesn't involve a bus or teenagers, attended.  All three directors of the choir together at our 7th concert of the 50th WBR summer tour - what an amazing history.  Tom Thompson (#85), his wife Kristen (#83) and Anne-Lise Olsen (#81), all former ringers, were also in attendance.  Tom was a great help in arranging this church for us.  Sue Springer couldn't stay away and drove over to attend her second concert in two nights - a regular groupie.  Katie also had visiting family.

A couple of notes from your friendly chaperones:  First, you can see we picked up some souvenirs by the ocean.  Second, the kids have been great - they only lined up against the wall as a joke.  On a couple of occasions the kids have been let loose in groups with instructions to meet back up a certain location at a certain time.  A couple of times in pretty chaotic locations.  Each time, all 26 kids have been present and accounted at the appointed time.  This is an amazing group of young people and terrific representatives of the choir and CUMC. Finally, it's about time you met Zack, our bus driver.  He has gone the extra mile getting us to all the places we need to be, on schedule.  He's experienced and helpful and everything has gone smoothly with our travel.  Thanks Zack!

Sunday we will worship with the good folks at Kennilworth Presbyterian and then it's off to Lakewood Washington.