Citizenship

In one of my education methods classes, we are focusing on citizenship. Social studies is citizenship education, so my professor asked us today if any of us saw examples of good citizenship over spring break! To be honest, I did not think about it during spring break, but looking back on it now, I can see there were actually a lot of examples of people who demonstrated citizenship to my fellow choir members and I during tour!

1) Our bus driver dealt with 51 college students without a complaint and allowed to us watch loud movies, sing, play some pretty rowdy games, fill up the bus's bathroom a couple times (yuck,) and even drove us through snow storms, always getting us safely to our destinations, 11 days straight. I would never be able to do that, but he did it all and interacted with us, always having a basket of candy (which he refilled at least 3 times during the trip) at the front of the bus for us. What a guy. :)

one of my tour buddy and i's wonderful host families

one of my tour buddy and i's wonderful host families

2) Our host families--they were willing to pick us up late after our concerts (many even came to our concerts!) ;), give us beds to sleep in, bathrooms to use, tons of food to eat (can you spot the lunch bag in the photo on the right?,) :) and many woke up before dawn to bring us back to our bus for the next day. They were amazing, to say the least.

3) One of our road trip lunches consisted of Panda Express. My tour buddy and I happened to be talking to the guy and his wife behind us and he offered to pay for our meals. What a treat!

beautiful jellyfish from the aquarium

beautiful jellyfish from the aquarium

4) Our free afternoon was scheduled to be visiting Yosemite National Park, buuuut it was forecasted to be 23 degrees and snowing 8-25 inches in the park. Needless to say, when we packed for the Southwest, we didn't exactly bring our snow clothes along... :) So all week we had been trying to come up with other options. One of the people who attended a concert of ours the night before our free day heard our plight, and offered to pay for all of us to go see the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It was absolutely gorgeous and such a generous gift.

5) Once we stayed in a hotel since we did not have a concert and host families to stay with that night. We had to be loading the bus and leaving by 6:00am the next morning, but the hotel breakfast was not scheduled to be open until 6:00. Our director asked if they would be able to open it just 10-15 minutes early for us to grab something on our way out. They willingly did. In fact, one of my choir members who had been doing homework earlier that morning said the breakfast lady had opened it already at 5:20am for us! Wow, now that is being a servant. What an incredible, selfless display of citizenship.

Thinking back to these models of hospitality, selflessness, and pure goodness inspires me to want to be a better citizen, too. I'm going to work on that more intentionally the remainder this week. :)

-Hayley

Reflections on Choir Tour

Hey all! It's been a long time since I've posted. I'm sorry about that! Today was our first day of classes post-spring break. For 51 students, this also means it was our first day back from choir tour! I have had the incredible blessing of being part of concert choir this year and over spring break we went on our tour! We had the privilege of singing in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Califorina, and are looking forward to our homecoming concert on campus this Friday. :) As I reflect on this trip, there are a number of notions that occurred to me. I'll give you just a few.

1. Growing up in NW Iowa, in the same town I attend college in, I never understood how students from other states and countries heard of Dordt College. I mean honestly, a town with a population about 7,000, in the middle of Iowa's cornfields? How does one come to know about it? Well going on this tour opened my eyes to the incredible amount of people who knew of and even have connections to Dordt. Every single host family my tour buddy and I stayed with had some knowledge of and/or connection to Dordt College-and we stayed with nine different families in four different states! That is quite incredible. I learned this week that Dordt has 19,000 alumni! The legacy Dordt College is leaving is amazing.

2. I am so incredibly thankful to be attending a college where we can sing praises to our Savior in our choir songs. Some of my favorite pieces we sing are anthems of praise to our amazing Lord. Each school and church that hosted us welcomed us with incredible hospitality and showed us their dedication to their faith and their church body and it was so neat to have conversations about faith with them that we otherwise likely could not have had. Honestly, our favorite places to sing on tour were some of the old churches-their acoustics were beautiful! Being able to do devotions on the bus with the choir each morning, as well as before each concert every night entirely puts my mind and heart in the right space. I cannot imagine being in a choir where we would not have that freedom.

3. Guys, the people I go to school with are so cool. :) I've always felt that choir is one of the most diverse groups of people on campus, encompassing friend groups and personalities all over the spectrum. And it is so incredibly neat to spend 250+ hours with them straight because I learned so much about each individual that made me gain a deeper appreciation for who they are, as well as for the Creator for making us so unique. I'm so thankful to sing in a choir where we can celebrate our uniqueness and yet all come together to make a joyful noise (Psalm 98.)

Basically, this week was awesome. :) Minus a little snow trouble one day, everything went so well, and I had an incredible time. If you're interested in hearing us, I strongly encourage you to join us this Friday night, March 23, and 7:30pm in the BJH! If that's not possible, but you would like to hear just bits and pieces of our concert, I have included a link from one of our tour stops this past week-Ripon, CA. http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/113640025 I hope you enjoy. :)

If you're curious about the facial expression and such going on in some of the photos I chose, I'll just say we have some very fun warm-ups. :) Thanks to Mary VW for the photos!

-Hayley

Psalm 40:3-"A New Song"

As I am writing this on a Sunday afternoon, my heart is so full after an amazing weekend literally packed with both of my favorite co-curriculars.

A handful of the sophomore choir girls. :)

A handful of the sophomore choir girls. :)

As a choir, we had our "fall retreat" and spent all afternoon and evening Saturday singing and getting to know each other, and we able to cap off our time together by joining First CRC in Sioux Center this morning who graciously invited us to sing for their worship service!

I also had a dance kickoff of sorts this weekend, which included a sleepover with not a lot of sleep but a huge amount of fun. :) We were able to watch last year's routines, discuss team goals and where we are going this year, play games, eat food, and really just bond, enjoying each other's company.

Soap box here-over these last two days I became increasingly aware once again how amazing it is to be able to sing and dance for a Christian school.

At our choir retreat, our new director, Professor Smit, helped us memorize our theme verse for the school year, Psalm 40:3. It reads, "He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him." As he is joining our program, and many of us are new to concert choir, we are venturing into a new song, one that the Lord orchestrated for us. We talked about the incredible beauty of being able to sing lyrics of praise to our "great and marvelous" Lord all of the time and to be able to truly mean what we sing, and express it as well!

Most of the dance team after church this morning!

Most of the dance team after church this morning!

Also last night at the end of our dance team meeting, we were able to share joys and concerns and pray over our year together. This was a rough week for the team for a number of reasons, but through devotions Thursday and Friday at practice, and through an amazing discussion led by coach last night, it became aware to me again how much I take for granted being able to dance for a team who desires to bring all the glory to the One who gave us the ability to dance. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!

This was just one weekend, friends. Wow, Dordt is such a blessing.

-Hayley