Monday, 2 May 2011


After we spent three days in Ottawa it was off to Montreal for one of the craziest times of the year for that city: game 6 for the Habs. They were playing the Boston Bruins and no citizen of Montreal let us forget what was happening that night. No doubt there was rioting in the streets when the Habs won but thankfully we were all safely tucked away in the homes of our hosts.

The next day we went to Notre Dame Cathedral in Montreal (not to be confused with the original in Paris) where we performed a few of our sacred pieces. When we sang our voices mingled in that high-vaulted ceiling, blending them together, until Soul soared along with Voice. Afterwards we were given free time in Old Montreal which all of us promptly utilized. The cobblestone streets, old buildings, and misty fog transported us to the pages of an old Dickens novel.

The rest of the day was spent on the bus, driving to Toronto where we stayed at Tyndale University College and Seminary. Bus rides can be long and boring, but with this particular choir (and with Randy Holm's bus games!) entertainment is never in short supply. 

Tuesday, 26 April 2011


It’s been a while since I’ve updated (too much excitement and too little internet access) so let’s get caught up. After Puddingstone Inn, we drove for about 8 hours to Ottawa where we sang at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church on Saturday evening for their Evening Before Easter service. Most of the choir was exhausted by the time the service ended (10:45!) so we collapsed into bed at our respective host’s places.

The next day was Easter and we performed at St. Stephen’s morning service, afterwards we went and spent some time along the banks of the Ottawa River and performed in the evening at Bethel Pentecostal Church (our own dear professor Randall Holm’s parent’s church). Though our choir has a deep love of music and are always happy to sing, the Monday after Easter was a free day spent in Ottawa. We visited the Parliament Buildings, sang in the Rotunda, entered the House of Commons, the old library, as well as the Senate. The afternoon was spent doing various things. Some people went to museums, art galleries, malls and many other things. Or, if you're Mayon and Caleb, you join an Armenian demonstration against the Turkish genocide in 1915, are given signs, walk to the Turkish embassy, and, literally, buy the t-shirt.

I would like to take some time to tell you some of the quirky things I’ve learned about the members of the choir:

Tamera – is the sweetest woman, but has random bursts of rage concerning unusual things
Lydia – the choir’s mother; always looking out for everyone’s well-being
Alanna – is as sweet as the melodies she plays on her violin.
Grace – is the one to go to for lip-gloss, anytime, anywhere.
Esther – always has something to say about any topic
Hannah – always ready with a witty comment
Heidi – is wise beyond her years
Kai – is such a sweetheart
Colin – his collection of his books for this trip filled an entire backpack at one point
Caleb – has a lot of sass
Jordan – swoons over spreadsheets and will probably be Prime Minister of Canada someday
Rob – goes through books like a termite goes through wood
Thomas – always has a beat in his head
Jeremy – knows music theory like the back of his hand and is always willing to talk about it to anyone
Mayon – has absolutely no NONE.
Dan – always seems to be chill with any situation
Aaron – is slightly bi-polar: loud and crazy but wise and caring
Ryan – king of the bad “Dad jokes” and puns
Jon – doesn’t stop taking pictures
Becky – doesn’t stop singing
Kristin – is the most patient choir member
Danielle – has the best “witch” voice!
Susan – does “sketchy” things and then tells her boyfriend about them
Courtney K – her organization skills put everyone (except for Jordan) to shame
Courtney M – is a quiet mystery
Candace – drools over pianos (but not literally because that's really bad for them)

Friday, 22 April 2011


As a continuation of today's previous post (we only stayed so long outside of a coffee shop with free wifi) let me tell you about yesterday.

We drove for 6 hours from Thunder Bay to Wawa where we were greeted by such kind people and delicious food. Our concert that night was one of the best and most emotional that we had ever performed, including the Sunday morning services that we participated in during the school year. There was a gentleman who was weeping our entire concert and many others who cried, particularly during our rendition of the famous hymn "How Great Thou Art", one of my personal favourites. Our hosts that night were so friendly and all of the choir members felt blessed by their kindness. Unfortunately, our darling Colin Hamm, a fabulous tenor, was sick last night and was not able to perform. Let us pray that he recovers quickly and is back to his usual self in no time.

This morning we drove a short 3 hours to Richard's Landing on St. Joseph's Island and now that we are at Puddingstone Inn our spirits are soaring. Let me describe this Bed & Breakfast to you. Are you familiar with Agatha Christie's Miss Marple mystery stories? (If not, you should become aquainted; you won't regret it!) Well, this is the kind of place where Miss Marple would find herself, visiting a niece or an old friend, where a murder would happen late in the evening which she would then proceed to solve in the following few days. Puddingstone is a decorated so daintily, the building is so old fashioned, and the rooms are so quaint, that I feel as if I stepped directly into Miss Marple's world. (Let's just pray that the murders are kept to a minimum.)

Some Adventures...

It's been an interesting couple of days for the Chamber Singers. On Wednesday, April 20, we arrived in the afternoon at Fort William, outside of Thunder Bay, where we were given a tour of a re-creation fur trading post. Our guide transported us back to 1815, to a time where beavers were still worth something and gentlemen wore top hats. At the end of the tour our guide said we were the "liveliest group" he's had ... whether "lively" was code for something slightly less cordial is completely up to you, dear readers.

Our performance that night was another night of stirring music that ended with another standing ovation. (I hope we don't get these every night or our heads will be unrecognizably big by the time we get home!) In the morning we all discuss how wonderful our hosts were the night before. We all feel unbelievebly blessed by the wonderful people we are surrounded by!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The First Day

When one thinks of road tripping they inevitably think of long periods of driving with restless sleep and few pit stops. No doubt this is what all of the Chamber Singers were expecting when, after a stirring prayer from Gus Konkel, they loaded the bus full of excitement and anticipation. However, fate always has tricks up it's sleeve for just after 30 minutes of driving, and just outside of Steinbach, the bus decided to make some rather interesting noises, so they stopped to get it looked at. After an hour and a half of waiting and some frantic calls, a large pink bus came rolling up ready for us to use in order to continue our journey. So, the bus was loaded and we were off at last.

After some interesting conversations, some card games and even an episode of Batman: The Animated Series, we arrived at St. Luke's Anglican Church in Dryden, Ontario, a bit frazzled, pretty late, and with just a few minutes to change before the concert was supposed to start. So, with empty stomachs and blood-shot eyes, we sang to the people of St. Luke's. Mustering energy we didn't know we had we sang our hearts out and felt truly blessed by our audience.

Until tomorrow (or the next time there is internet access) the Chamber Singers bid you adieu.  

Sunday, 17 April 2011

...The Beginning...

If you meet a member of that select club, the Chamber Singers, entering the Providence College chapel for their Monday and Thursday night rehearsals, you will observe, as they fall into their places, that each member has something unique about them. If (supposing that you have the star-defying audacity to address such a being) you ask one of them about themselves, they will most likely politely dismiss you in order to begin practice. You will then retire crushed. But you will leave behind you a mystery as yet unsolved and a tale worth telling.

The Providence Chamber Singers have been busying themselves with practice since September in preparation for this year's tour to Eastern Canada. Their journey has been one fraught with peril, excitment, disappointment, encouragement, and laughter. (Perhaps a bit too much laughter, as Dr. Henry Schellenberg, the choir's fearless leader, experiences on an almost daily basis.) This choir's journey began in September, but for you, fine readers, the journey begins now, under the whimsical writings of me, Nicky Letkeman. I trust, as you follow along, partake in our experiences on tour, and learn a lot more about the members of the choir (perhaps more than you want to know), you will be edified, heartened, and, perhaps, wanting to take a few music lessons yourself.