If It’s Monday, It Must Be Naples

Butler University Chorale Tour, 2014

Our week-long trip to Florida began last Friday, with an overnight drive to Clearwater. Three choirs, 37 students, boxes, suitcases and equipment rolling down the highway for 8 days of music-making, hard work, friendship and fun.

After the brutal Indiana winter, Florida's balmy sunshine is a great relief. Arriving in Clearwater Beach Saturday morning, we were greeted with the beautiful blue gulf waters and sugary-white sand beneath our feet. Lunch at a favorite hang-out, Frenchy's Rockaway Grill, was a special treat. Our concert in Clearwater, at Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church, was coordinated by Beth Daniels, and my aunt and uncle Jim and Carol Lankton. Beautiful worship service (singing the Mealor “Ubi Caritas”), yummy lunch catered by the Peace Memorial Men's Fellowship, and a full house for our afternoon concert made the day memorable. The perfect capper was a pool party at my family's home, where they brought in pizza, veggies and LOTS of home baked yummy treats!

Monday's concert in Naples was equally rewarding…nearly 400 in attendance, and First Presbyterian Church Music Director (and my buddy from grad school) Brice Gerlach accompanied us on their 6,500+ pipe five manual organ for the Faure “Cantique de Jean Racine.” The homemade lasagna dinner was scrumptious as well, thanks to Brice's wife Michele and her team of experts.

Today we head to Fort Myers Beach for a day in the sun, followed by our evening performance at Faith Presbyterian Church in Cape Coral. We sang there two years ago, and look forward to seeing our friends from last time.

These tours are incredible work for all of us…organizing, learning/polishing music, plus giving up our spring break to travel and perform together. But holy cow, the chance to sing, night after night, such rich works as Schutz, Faure, Whitacre, Victoria…that makes it all worthwhile. I'm proud that the Butler musicians with me show such openness to growth and new adventures. Watching them learn at each performance…no two concerts are ever the same…is one of the most gratifying aspects of my job. Sharing my students and their musical gifts with friends new and old…that's a pretty good way to spend a spring break!