Tuesday, May 29th

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
by Matt Haupert, junior tenor, 2011-12 choir vice-president, and 2012-13 president

Yesterday, I hopped on a bus at an impossibly early hour in Galway, ate breakfast on a plane in Dublin, went for lunch in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, and fell asleep – for what seemed like the first time in days – back home in Des Moines. And just like that, it was over. After nearly twenty-four consecutive hours of traveling, the two weeks that we’d waited for and dreamed about for nearly three years had come to a close, leaving us with nothing but our own memories – and, of course, a few hundred of Dave Collier’s best photographs.

To say that this trip lived up to the months of hype and anticipation would be a vast understatement. We witnessed breathtaking landscapes at places like the Cliffs of Moher and the Ring of Kerry that we could never have seen in the US. We experienced the vibrant cultures of major cities like Dublin, Galway, and Liverpool. We gained a better understanding of the true power of music as we inspired complete strangers from across the world on a nightly basis. Most importantly, we got to spend twelve days in the exclusive company of one another.

It’s not often that you get to take a trip to Europe with sixty-four of your closest friends. In fact, it’s not often that you get to be in a choir in which you can legitimately call every single member one of your closest friends. But that’s what makes Drake Choir special – and if there’s anything we’ve learned on this tour, it’s that this is a lot more than just a choir. It’s a community. Over the last couple weeks, people who were distant acquaintances have become best friends and best friends have gotten even closer. At least for me, it’s these relationships and this incredible bond that has shaped who I am today and will continue to shape who I become in the future.

The end of this tour marked the end of a lot more than just another Drake Choir trip. It marks the end of another year, and for the now-graduated seniors, it marks the end of Drake Choir for good. Each of the seniors shared a few words at our farewell banquet on Monday night, and the rest of us got a glimpse of how deeply important Drake Choir was to each of them. The advice they passed down to us ranged from “Cherish every moment you have in this choir” to “Take risks and live without regrets” to perhaps the most important advice of all, “Never cuss in front of ABC!” A general theme seemed to ring true for all of them – being a part of this choir is special. It is unique. And for the rest of our lives, we’ll never be a part of anything like it again. Without these seniors, the Drake Choir will never quite be the same. It might be better, it might be worse - but never the same. The Drake Choir as we know it has sung its final chord, inspired its final audience, and finished off its final pint of authentic Irish Guinness. 

With every end, however, comes a new beginning. Next fall, new faces will fill the risers, standing on the shoulders of those who stood there before them. These new faces will be entering a community of people who truly care for one another. They’ll be entering a choir that knows how to consistently make music that is powerful and moving. They’ll be entering a group of people with a deep understanding of the incredible ability music has to connect people from across the world. And this is all due in large part to the experiences we had on this international tour.The past twelve days have been some of the very best of my life. And though it has all finally come to a bittersweet end, the memories I made and the relationships I reinforced and developed will continue to motivate and inspire me for the rest of my life. 

====This marks the end of BLOG posts for the 21012 Drake Choir International Tour====

No comments: