First of all, I must state that I LOVE CHOIR! It’s just one of those places where you always feel at home, where everyone’s welcoming and where you’re always sure to have an awesome time. St. Thomas’ Liturgical Choir is no exception, and after our annual Lit Choir Retreat this weekend, hosted at Gainey (YAY!), I’m happy to report that we’re even closer than we were before!
We arrived at Gainey on Friday afternoon and participated in some of the most entertaining icebreakers ever, then sang table prayer, fueled up with Gainey’s five star food and headed outside to participate in perhaps the greatest Lit Choir tradition: the Apple Tree. The tradition dates back to the beginning of Lit Choir and I don’t think it’s possible to do it justice with simple words, so I’ll try to paint a picture of it.
Imagine all of choir standing in a close circle around an apple tree on a clear fall night under a picturesque starry sky. Our faithful president, Frances, started us off and said what she was thankful for, then took a bite from an apple from the tree and passed the apple on. The next person said what they were thankful for and took a bite, then the next and the next, all the way around the circle. It was such a beautiful tradition because we couldn’t really see each other, which made it more prayerful and serious, and just being out there under all the stars and realizing how blessed we are to be in Lit Choir was an experience we’ll never forget.
Friday night ended with a bonfire and some great fellowship, then after an amazing night’s sleep in Gainey’s awesome beds, we had a five star breakfast and all sang a really wonderful morning prayer.
There’s got to be some singing on a choir retreat! :)
We listened to an inspiring speaker from the National Association of Pastoral Musicians Section for Youth (join their Facebook page!) and had a final delicious meal, followed by the choir picture and pair walks! Those were very fun because we had to find someone we didn’t know, and talk/walk with them for forty five minutes. Yay for new friends! (And thanks for the pics, Amanda!)
We ended the retreat with one of the greatest events of our time: Choir Olympics. The first event consisted of a game called Clumps, where everyone “mingles” (aka jogs around in random patterns) until someone calls out a number, then there’s a mad dash to get into groups of that number. If you don’t find a group, you’re out, and let’s just say that only the strongest survive. Or, if you’re Abby, you just grab onto another person so tightly that there’s no way you’re getting shoved out. It was hilarious to watch and if you ever need a good game, Clumps never fails.
The second event was the grapefruit pass, where each team had to pass a grapefruit from person to person using their necks. Our team had some troubles with that one but Team Apollo quickly avenged our defeat in the third event:
(dun dun dunnn)
The Relay Race. This was the relay race to end all relay races. We were in teams of eleven and the first three people had to put their head to a croquet mallet (which was basically two feet off the ground, aka quite difficult) and spin around six times, then run (or fall) down to the other end and back. The next two people had to run to the other end with a balloon between them, then two more people had to walk with a spoon in their mouth with a cotton ball on the end. Person eight had to chug an orange Fanta and person nine had to eat a whole bag of pretzels, then try to whistle. The last two people were a piggyback team that sprinted to the finish! And Team Apollo did not disappoint. We were awarded the second place medal and the legacy of those games will never be forgotten.
We loaded the bus and came back to St. Thomas then all had dinner together and ended the retreat with the Coffee House! Whoever wanted to could sign up to do an act, and the night was filled with hilarious selections, from Power Rangers to an all-knowing being with four heads (one of them about a foot shorter than the rest), and a “Bad Romance” rendition on the contrabass clarinet, an instrument lower than most voices and taller than most people (google it if you don’t believe me!).
All in all, this weekend was such a great experience and brought our Lit Choir family even closer together. We’re off to sing at mass so remember these two vital lessons:
1. Go Team Apollo
2. Lit Choir kids are the coolest.