On Wednesday, Jan. 21, members of the UW-Stout Symphonic and Chamber Choir left Menomonie for a four-day tour that went from Vermillion, S.D., to Plymouth, Minn.
The bus left early Wednesday morning. After seven hours straight, we made it to South Dakota State University, where we performed for students at the school.
Thursday was a day of sightseeing and learning. The choir visited the SDSU National Music Museum, which houses the largest collection of musical instruments in the country. From guitars played by Elvis to pipe organs from the 16th century, the museum was an incredible journey through the history of music. There is even a room with a collection of instruments from East Asia and India.
A couple of members of the choir were lucky enough to hear a demonstration of instruments from the Javanese Gamelan.
The rest of the day was spent traveling to Sioux Falls, S.D., where we stopped at Sertoma Butterfly House and Marine Cove. The facility houses many species of butterflies and has a small fish petting area where we touched sting rays, sharks and star fish. The butterfly house was like walking into a room of summer. Hundreds of butterflies flew around the warm room, and quail roamed around the floor.
Next we made a quick stop at the beautiful Cathedral of St. Joseph. The church’s organist was practicing during our visit, making the paintings and architecture seem even more special.
That night, the choir performed at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls. The choir collected funds and food items for the food shelf during the concert.
We stayed at homes of church members. We were all incredibly grateful for the beautiful people of the church who took us into their homes for the night.
The next morning Friday the choir loaded onto the bus and made a quick stop at the waterfall that put the “falls” in Sioux Falls.
We got on the road again and headed for Minneapolis, where we visited People Serving People, a homeless shelter that focuses on serving families and helping them find housing. Students learned about how the shelter serves families and gets them back on their feet during hard times.
That night we traveled to Plymouth (Minn.) Presbyterian Church and had our final concert at the family church of our choir member, Mary Kipp.
The final day of the choir tour Saturday was spent at the Mall of America, with a short bus ride home.
We all came away exhausted and ready for the nap of our lives, but it was great fun to share our choir concert with the Midwest.
Here’s to another semester of choral music!