Sunday, May 3

A Busy Sabbath

Today was interesting and eventful. :)

Since we haven't been staying with host families we had to improvise a little for sacrament meeting this morning. It was the first and last time we'll probably ever have sacrament meeting in a hotel suite but it wasn't lacking in spiritual nature. Dr. Staheli presided our meeting and Nick Bishop conducted. We had an opening hymn, prayer, a few announcements and went straight onto the sacrament. As the prayer was said and the coarsely broken sourdough bread passed around on a china plate, I couldn't help but think of the early members of the Church in New York not so long ago. Were their sacrament meetings much like this? Small groups with an intimate sacrament passed around on dinner plates? And then that led me to think of how much the Church has grown in the last 170 years. It started with just a few members have meetings in someone's house and now it's 11 million strong- with people all over the world. I felt so overwhelmed with gratitude for my ancestors who believed and brought my family the truth so early on. It's a great blessing.

That sacrament meeting was a great prelude to the Sunday services we did attend that day. We had the opportunity to participate in a local Catholic Mass in Cork. We sang the traditional texts within the mass (Cantate Domino, Kyrie Eleison, Alleluia, Gloria) and also added some of our own sacred pieces during communion, etc. like I Know that My Redeemer Lives and I Feel Like I'm on my Journey Home. It was amazing to perform for the audience but it was also amazing to see how many faithful people were there. Ireland is one of the most religious countries in Europe and there were plenty of people there to prove it. They were so grateful for our singing and after the services, they fed us very well indeed :). There were (of course) little finger sandwiches with cheese and ham, but there were at least twice as many desserts. And I think I tried every single one! Let's hope that trend doesn't remain consistent for the next 3 weeks.

After the services, we had a few hours to relax at the hotel and maybe grab some lunch (but I doubt anyone was hungry). Anthony and I had good company with Nick and Chrissy Bishop and we just chatted while they borrowed our computer and internet. Once 4:30 rolled around though, we were off to City Hall again to receive the results for last night's performance. They kept us waiting and riveted by having a traditional Irish musical performance before announcing the winners (but it was a step up from the dramatic reality shows). The reason we were invited to compete was for the Fleischmann Trophy with 11 other choirs competing as well. BYU really want us to win 1st because that would have been a big influence on the festival and probably the community. But we didn't get 1st, we actually got 2nd, but the festival also issued additional awards for excellence in other ways. And to our surprise, we won the PEACE trophy along with 2nd place, and these were his exact words:

Festival audiences are many and varied. They are represented not just by those who attend the Gala Concerts and Competitive Sessions, but by those who listen to choirs in their church visits, and informal performances throughout the week of the festival. This year the PEACE Trophy is awarded to a choir who touched the hearts of all who heard them and exemplified the intentions of the trophy's benefactors, the P.E.A.C.E. Movement, Cork.

Wasn't that our initial goal? Seeking to express rather than impress? It was the perfect award for us and one that we were unintentionally trying to achieve.

Cork City Hall

The day wasn't over though. Once the awards were given, we were called back to the Cork City Hall and every choir that competed sang a lighter program for the Gala Concert. Each choir was allotted about 5 minutes and they were allowed to perform anything they wanted (keyword, anything). A few were very good but overall... I felt like I was back in high school. One choir actually sang Smells like Teen Spirit by Nirvana...? (we just won't go there) But luckily we were last and were able to save the concert by closing with Leonardo Dreams by Eric Whitacre. It was definitely a crowd pleaser and we didn't even have to "head bang" to get it. Who'da thought?

So now, it's late, we're tired but we're sadly leaving Cork tomorrow morning at 11am. We are staying in a hotel, but I can't promise that we'll have the internet. We're planning on visiting Blarney Castle tomorrow, perhaps kiss the stone, and see some other little villages on the way.

And a video to prove that Ireland is cooler than the US :)


Kristi said...

Congratulations on doing so well at the competition. And I love your hair done like that. :)

Cathy said...

First of all, angie how is your head. I couldn't see anything but did you have your bangs down for a reason. Just worrying and wondering. It sounds like the festival was a great success you all had the spirit with you and they felt it. I can't wait to hear these songs. Did I ever tell you guys you have the most amazing smiles.

Dad said...

I am so proud of you and your accomplishments. You are so happy together it makes others happy just to watch you. I am very pleased with the results of the competition and honored to be a parent of so many "Singers."

Other DAD said...

Yea, what Dad said

Ashley Stepp said...

Wow! Look at all those places you're going to visit! Take lots of pictures so that I can see them, too!!! And, if you get the chance, Iceland isn't very far from Great Britain...

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