For many months, yea, even years for some, these boys have been preparing for this day, the day when they would depart with the Georgia Boy Choir for an international tour. Tuesday afternoon, 25 boys and young men, ages 10 to 20 gathered at Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport to begin this journey. They arrived with fresh haircuts and full suitcases, and dressed smartly in khaki pants and blue dress shirts. After singing, "Happy Birthday" to one of their members, Harrison who was turning 14, there was a word of prayer for God's blessing on their trip, final hugs to Mom and Dad, and the tour had officially begun. They waited patiently while the folks at the US Air ticket counter checked them in, and were then escorted to the front of the Security Line. In short order they had boarded the plane and were off. After a short layover in Philadelphia, they boarded what seemed to be an almost new plane which would take them all the way to London's Heathrow Airport. They really enjoyed the individual in-flight entertainment systems (Jake Mercer managed to defeat all of the rest of the passengers in several rounds of Trivia). The general excitement level made sleeping on the plane even a little more difficult than usual, but most managed to get at least a little shut-eye.
Upon disembarking and gathering their luggage, the Choir members were all glad to meet Clive, who will be their trusty guide for the next couple of weeks. After just a very short drive, their motorcoach took them to the Royal Residence, of Windsor Castle. What a thrill it was to walk in and around this enormous edifice, and see the rooms where the Queen often entertains other Royalty and Leaders from around the globe. It is truly magnificent. Standing on the Castle Grounds is the beautiful Chapel of St. George, a perfect example of early English Gothic architecture. The boys were given permission to "test" the acoustics, much to the delight of all those who were also touring the Chapel at the time. The beauty of their voices belied their weariness as it wafted toward the ancient, fan-vaulted ceiling.
After a welcome bite to eat, in the charming town of Windsor, Clive took the boys to Runnymede, the site of the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, where also stands a serenely peaceful Royal Air Force Memorial honoring the more than 20,000 RAF soldiers who lost their lives during World War II. Here the boys were able to climb to a viewing tower which overlooked the Thames River and the Surrey countryside. They could see Windsor Castle off to the North and the skyline of London in the distant East.
After another short drive, everyone was glad to arrive at the hotel which will be their home for the next four nights; a clean, comfortable Ramada Inn. After a delicious all-you-can-eat buffet, it did not take long for the boys to settle in the beds for some welcome sleep; sleep which will not only help them recover from their travels of the last two days, but will also prepare them for their first performance in England.
Today, Thursday, July 14 the Choir will be heading north of London to Cambridgeshire, where they will be presenting a lunch time Concert.
The Georgia Boy Choir England Tour Team