The final day. The last rodeo. The end. As the time until our last concert waned, the mix of anxiety and sadness increased, along with the excitement of singing, of course. Fortunately, or unfortunately (depending on who you ask), we had our longest bus ride today— a whopping seven hours. Of course I dropped my phone in a lovely New York City toilet on Monday, so I had no escape from the loud bus parties thrown by none other than Mr. Steve King, Mrs. Kay Simpson, and other youth leaders of the choir. There was a Mexican blanket, a NYPD teddy bear named Tony, and “gluten free, oven-warmed, sprinkled” cake being handed out. Obviously quite the celebration. As the chaos continued around me, I wrote an abundance of letters hoping that each one made some sort of sense. We soon arrived at lunch at a mall in some city. I wasn’t feeling super hot, so I avoided Asian food and craved pizza. There was no Italian food anywhere which was disappointing at the time, but Roy and I were able to bond while standing in line for 30 minutes at a New York style restaurant (we were still reminescing). While I stood in line, my friends sat at a table and held “noodle races” that were filmed in slow-motion. After Roy and I finally received our food, I decided to eat on the bus because I had to hold up my end of a bet. You see, we went to a Mets game Monday night, and I was rooting for the Blue Jays. Ben Tallent and I made a bet: If the Mets win, I buy him ice cream. If the Blue Jays win, he buys me ice cream. Ben, without fail, kept me updated on every run of the evening. Of course with my luck, the Mets won. Apparently, victory ice cream tastes a lot better than normal ice cream, but how would I know? As we left the food court, Mr. King with the help of a few trusted fellows, tricked Roy into thinking we were shaving his head. Mrs. Lisa started screaming, and for the first time in my entire life, I watched Mrs. Kathy get defensive as she reached for the razor to take it from Logan. Of course, it was all a joke, so Roy still has a head full of hair and wet shorts. We piled back on the bus and headed to a church in Chapel Hill. We set up in record time, and as dinner rolled around, I learned we were having pizza (shout out to God for that one). Our last concert was so powerful and emotional, and my cousin was actually in the audience since he lives nearby. As I spoke with him after, he told me that he could relate to both testimonies given by Kathryn Payne and Sara Reeves. He was so moved by the whole concert that he decided to start going to church again so he could grow closer to God. A lot of times before concerts, we talk about how we perform for God, but if we touch one and only one person, we’ve done our job. Luckily, for me especially, we for sure touched one person, and that person happened to be part of my family. For that, I am so grateful. This choir has been so wonderful and amazing this past week and for the past four years. Thank you to every member, counselor, intern, and director that has touched the hearts of people all over the country and the world. I would never trade a minute of any Love Unlimited Choir Tour. Thank you for all the prayers and help, it all went to God’s glory!
-Claire Dowling, elected President of Love Unlimited Choir