EOU CHAMBER CHOIR TRAVELS TO ECUADOR, WITH LOVE
The EOU Chamber Choir traveled 24 hours in each direction to get to Ecuador, sang 11 concerts for more than 6,000 Ecuadorian audience members and learned what singing at 9,000 feet of elevation really feels like.
"Our bodies and voices did not rest much during the tour, but our hearts and love of the Ecuadoran people continued to grow each day," choir director Peter Wordelman said.
Over the 12-day tour in late March, the choir's schedule consisted of early morning breakfast or travel, lunch and some daily sightseeing, followed by getting ready for the evening performances. Most of the evening concerts began at either 8 or 8:30 p.m.
"We would often eat dinner following the performance, so our late-night schedule seemed to never end," Wordelman said. "We would get a few hours of sleep and then move on to the next city early the following morning."
The chamber choir traveled with another Ecuadoran University choir from the ESPE. This is a technical university and the students sing because they want to; it is not part of their major requirements. The two choirs combined formed a 75-voice choir. The choirs rehearsed together and many new friendships were formed, Wordelman said.
The tour covered the cities of Quito, Manta, Puerto Lopez, Guayaquil, Machala, Ibarra, Otavalo and a return trip to Quito.
The biggest musical highlight for Wordelman was when the U.S. consulate in Guayaquil spoke to the choir following its performance. He said "that in all his years, he had never seen a better cultural presentation from the U.S."
"That was exactly halfway through our tour and gave us the needed boost to keep on singing," Wordelman said.
The other memory that stands out in Wordelman's mind is the choir's concert in the village of Peguche. The choir was hosted by the mayor with several local performing groups taking place in the concert as well.
"It was more a time of sharing than that of performing," Wordelman said.
Following the concert, all of the choir members were served lunch potatoes, corn, beans, and a slice of cheese.
"The meal was very typical for the region," Wordelman said, "but the mayor was the one delivering the meal to each and every choir member. We truly were his guests on that day."