Nestled near the geographic center of the state of New York is the picturebook-quaint village of Cooperstown. Founded by William Cooper, father of the famed novelist, James Fenimore Cooper, the charming town is most famous as the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. As the members of the Georgia Boy Choir can attest, it is also home to some of the kindest people on earth. The quiet atmosphere and slower pace was a welcome change to the hustle and bustle and lights of New York City.
The Choir’s tour bus rolled in to town early on Thursday afternoon. First stop was of course the Hall of Fame. The boys could barely contain their excitement as they went from room to room and display to display. The museum is well laid out and interactive. Many boys had a particular player they were looking for. The Hank Aaron section was a big favorite, as was the looping video of Abbot and Costelloâ€™s “Whoâ€™s on First?” skit.
Just behind the Hall of Fame is the historic Christ Church, home church of the Cooper family and site of The Georgia Boy Choir Concert to be held on Friday. The folks at the church welcomed the boys with some of the best pizza they had ever eaten - and plenty of it - and then hosted them in their homes for the next two nights.
On Friday morning, the Choir enjoyed a round of mini-golf and some ice cream, air hockey, foosball, and arcade games - on the house - at a terrific little entertainment center (located in a 150-year-old barn) owned by one of the Christ Church parishioners. In the afternoon the boys and young men enjoyed a picnic at Glimmerglass State Park. A dip in the picturesque, but chilly Lake Otsego provided a welcome relief from the unseasonably warm afternoon sun.
As that sun went down, it was time for the Choir to get down to the business for which it came - a concert in the beautiful, storied sanctuary of Christ Church. As the choristers progressed through their program, sometimes to the accompaniment of the lovely pipe organ, sometimes with the piano, and much of the time unaccompanied, the audience grew more and more enraptured by the beautiful singing. There were smiles on all the faces, and tears in many eyes. Following the concert the wonderful hosts provided the boys with a delicious and well-deserved ice cream reception.
It was back on the road early next morning, destined for Buffalo and Niagara Falls. For the majority of the travelers, this was their first time at Niagara. The awesome power of the Falls is staggering to the imagination. It was tremendously exciting to take an elevator down to the base of the Falls and walk out on a boardwalk almost under the cascading torrent. The flimsy ponchos which were distributed did little to keep the water out, but nobody seemed to mind getting wet. Everybody had a wonderful time.
Dinner that evening was provided by the music department of St. Paulâ€™s Cathedral in Buffalo where the Georgia boys were scheduled to sing next morning. This time the pizza was accompanied by â€“ what else? â€“ Buffalo Wings. Once again, the traveling singers were treated to some very wonderful hospitality.
The Cathedral has a Choir of Girls and Men as well as a Choir of Boys and Men. It was The Georgia Boy Choir’s privilege not only to sing alone during the Sunday morning services, but also to collaborate with each of their fine ensembles, the boys during the early service and the girls during the second service. It was marvelous to see and hear the combination of the Girls and Men of St. Paul’s along with the Boys and Young Men of The Georgia Boy Choir as they sang Paul Manz’ beautiful song, “E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come.”
After church the St. Paulâ€™s and Georgia Choirs enjoyed a splendid dinner together in a nearby restaurant. As they bid farewell, all expressed the sincere hope that we might sing together again in the future.
Until next time,
The Georgia Boy Choir
Carnegie Hall/ New England Tour Team