By: Anna Bailey, senior reporter
Instead of sleeping in or heading home for reading break, Redeemer’s Concert Choir boarded a large pink and purple bus—later nicknamed “Clifford”—at 8:30 AM on Saturday, February 16th. We spent the day listening to music, napping, and learning a few French phrases from the translation committee—all in the pink and purple bus. By the time we got to Quebec City, it was dark and we were ready to leave Clifford.
However, we had to wait a little longer as snow banks loomed as high as the houses and made driving quite difficult. Eventually, our determined bus driver, Danny, got us to the church building where Melanie and Bernard Westerveld, Redeemer alumni and former choir members, awaited us. Mr. Westerveld is the pastor of St. Marc’s, a Reformed church that meets in an Anglican church building. Their congregation, though small, was able to host all of us in their homes for four nights.
The next morning, we sang for St. Marc’s service. About half an hour later, we sang for an Anglican congregation—including a dog that sat quietly on a cushion in a pew, only barking when everyone clapped—that rents out the same building.
After lunch, we were sent off to Chaudiere Falls. We had expected a calm hike; instead, we slid down snow-covered stairs, hiked through feet of snow to the base of a frozen waterfall, hauled ourselves back up, and gingerly enjoyed the view from a suspension bridge. After another dinner at the church, we headed back to enjoy time with our host families.
On Monday, we sang at L’École L’Eau-Vive, the only private Christian school in Quebec City, and one of only three in the whole province. We spent the afternoon at Les Galeries de la Capitale, a mall that included an indoor roller coaster, carousel, and skating rink. Next, we headed to the Church of St. Thomas Aquinas: a simple yet beautiful cathedral with acoustics made for singing.
On Tuesday, we had the privilege of singing at the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre Dame de Québec. Easily the most stunning place we sang in, this concert had only a small audience; we were enjoying the space too much to care. We also got to hear a short, but impressive, performance by their organist, Marc D’Anjou. We spent the rest of the day exploring Old Quebec, enjoying the food, sunshine, and quaint and beautiful setting.
Wednesday offered another exciting opportunity: we sang in a food court at Laval University. Then, we rushed for the bus and drove to Pembroke, Ontario. After a concert at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, we were welcomed by host families. The next morning, we sang at Bishop Smith Catholic School. Our final performance, however, was at a Wendy’s rest stop where we sang one of our favourite songs: “Lay a Garland.”
We were back home on Thursday after dark. Though we were exhausted and our voices were tired, we weren’t ready for tour to be over. If you are roaming the halls and hear someone speaking in very poor, broken French, it’s probably choir members, wishing they were back on tour.