Last Friday, May 22, the boys and young men of the Georgia Boy Choir gathered once again in the atrium of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in order to bid farewell to their families and set off on another adventure around the world. This year’s destination is all the way on the other side of the world in China. They will give concerts in Beijing, Jinan, Xuzhou, Shanghai, and Kunshan, and share the gift of their singing with thousands.
But before going to the orient, they first flew up the East Coast to the historic city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a little personal business: one of their own, founding member, Duane White was celebrating his nuptials and the Georgia Boy Choir was there to add to the beauty of the festive occasion with their singing.
The Choir arrived in the City of Brotherly Love just in time for the wedding rehearsal. Afterwards they met their hosts for the weekend – families from the Keystone State Boychoir who had graciously agreed to house the Georgians while they were in town. Before the ceremony on Saturday, the boys had an opportunity to enjoy an organ recital on the famous Wannamaker organ – the largest playable pipe organ in the world – housed in Macy’s (formerly Wannamaker’s) Department Store.
As the wedding guests began to assemble in the beautiful sanctuary of the historic Tenth Presbyterian Church, the Georgia Boy Choir began to work their magic – singing songs chosen by the bride and groom to bring meaning and significance to the ceremony. The boys in the Choir wanted this particular performance to be one of their very best because they were singing not only for the guests, but also for Duane and his bride. Indeed they turned in one of their best performances ever. Click here to see their performance of The Red, Red Rose by James Mulholland. Those in attendance were overwhelmed and while it is not uncommon to see tears of joy at a wedding, the sublime sounds of the Choir started the flow of tears before the bride even made her grand appearance to the majestic strains of Gustav Holst’s O God, Beyond All Praising.
Healey Willan’s haunting setting of Solomon’s words to his bride, Rise Up, My Love was most fitting as her father gave her away, and Gerald Finzi’s ebullient My Spirit Sang All Day was perfect as they enjoyed their first kiss as husband and wife. At the presentation of the couple the Choir responded with the magnificent Alleluia from Edward Bairstow’s Sing Ye to the Lord just before the bagpiper sounded Highland Cathedral to escort them out of the sanctuary. Many in attendance claimed it be one of the most beautiful weddings they had been to, largely because of the wonderful music the Georgia Boy Choir provided.
The boys were back in the choir loft of Tenth Presbyterian again on Sunday morning to sing for two morning worship services. Given just a few hours left in town, that afternoon they made their way down to the historic district of the city to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. They enjoyed some ultimate Frisbee and an ice cream cone in Washington Park before going back home with the Keystone boys for one last night.
Monday morning, Memorial Day, they assembled early for the three-hour bus ride to JFK airport in New York where they would board a plane for a nearly sixteen-hour flight to Guangzhou, China. There they will have a two-hour layover before one more three-hour flight to their destination, Beijing. Yes, that’s a total of 25 hours of traveling!
As we make our way on this odyssey we will keep you apprised of the Choir’s adventures by sending periodic travelogues. Be sure to share them with your friends. If you feel compelled to join the chorus of outstanding supporters, you may do so by going to www.GeorgiaBoyChoir.org/support/
Until next time,
The Georgia Boy Choir Team