Voice of Light Chorale

Choir Tour to Romania

Voice of Light Chorale existed to give Anabaptist singers an opportunity to share the Gospel through song in Romania. We sought to help each choir member grow in faith, develop as musicians, and learn through engaging with each other as well as with Christians living and worshipping in a different cultural context.

Voice of Light Chorale completed a tour of Romania in 2018, and was preparing for a 2020 tour which was cancelled due to COVID-19. We have no active plans for future tours.

© Voice of Light Chorale. All rights reserved.

2018 Tour Blog

Day 15

July 16, 2018

Most of us were still awake when midnight rolled around and Sunday changed to Monday. Many, but not all of us went to bed for a nap at some point after that, but by 4 a.m. we were all on the bus and headed to the airport.

After spending a very long time standing in the check-in line at the airport, we moved into the long line for security. After passing through these twin ordeals and getting our passports stamped to exit the country, we found our way to our gate and collapsed in weariness, our luggage, and bodies strewn haphazardly about on the floor.

After a few minutes of rest, we boarded our plane and flew to Frankfurt, Germany, where most of us found something to eat for breakfast. After a two-hour layover, we boarded our final flight to Detroit shortly after 10 a.m.; about 8 hours later, we landed in Detroit just before 1 p.m.

We had to wait in a long line for passport control, but eventually we got through and collected our luggage and went through customs without difficulty. While waiting for the bus, many of us recharged on coffee from an airport coffee shop.

The bus finally arrived to pick us up from the airport, and we piled on for the final leg of our journey. After about five hours of enjoying the familiar sights of gas stations and restaurants that we recognized and road signs we could read, and re-acquainting ourselves with the incompetence of American fast food staff, we finally arrived back at Legacy Christian School. By this time, almost 24 hours had elapsed since we had boarded the bus at our hotel in Bucharest on the same day.
This was, officially the end of tour for Voice of Light 2018. We bade each other fond farewells and departed to various places.

Looking back over the last two weeks, we are grateful to God for many things. In all the flying that we did, we did not have any lost luggage, delayed flights, or any serious complications. We were kept safe through many miles of bus travel, some of it on hazardous, twisty roads. We had good health; nobody ever missed a program. We were able to bless and encourage our brothers and sisters in Romania and were blessed and encouraged by them in return. We made new friends, grew musically, took lots of group pictures, and experienced a lovely country and culture – this was time well-spent. Soli Deo Gloria.

Tim Kauffman

Day 14

July 15, 2018

Sunday morning started with the hearty breakfast from Vienna House hotel that we had come to know and love during our first days in Romania. We then assembled in a timely manner on the bus for our 8 a.m. roll call before heading out for our morning concert at Annunciation Baptist Church (or Good News Baptist Church – the translation is ambiguous). This was an interesting concert for us, as the church building was acoustically dead, and our audience was the largest we had ever had by a considerable margin. These two factors forced us to sing with microphones and speakers, a novel experience for us as a choir. However, although we were somewhat uncomfortable with an array of mics aimed into our faces, everything seemed to go quite smoothly.

We gave our program in several installments, with breaks for congregational singing, preaching, a baby dedication, and a mission trip send-off; the church service stretched on for several hours, finally ending at 12:30. We were then treated to a bountiful Romanian lunch before we returned to the hotel for a Sunday afternoon nap.

We gave our final concert Sunday evening at Golgotha Baptist Church, the same church where we had practiced on our first full day in Romania. We had planned to have an hour for practice and preparation before people started arriving, but when we arrived at the church we found that it was locked and that the person with the key would not be arriving immediately. While we waited in the alley outside the church, we sang various songs that were not part of our repertoire.

Once we finally got into the church, we had only a short time left to figure out our standing arrangement for the evening and touch up some of the spots in our music that could still use improvement. Shortly before the program started, we gathered for our final pre-program devotional and prayer time. Then we found our places in the front of the church and presented our grand finale for this tour.

After the program, we went upstairs for supper. The pastor said, “We thought you’ve probably had plenty of cabbage rolls by now, so we decided to feed you something that is a little more familiar to you.” They then proceeded to carry in pizza, and then more pizza, and then even some more – twenty-five large pizzas in all. We cheered vigorously and then dug in.
We returned to Vienna House Hotel for our final night in Romania. We all gathered in a meeting room, where we had an official end-of-tour meeting. After that, we started with the unofficial end-of-tour partying, which consisted of games in the lobby or coffee and conversation in one of the rooms. (Twenty-some people in a hotel room gets crowded – we now know this from experience). Since we had to leave for the hotel at 4 a.m., some of the group decided that it was pointless to go to bed and simply stayed awake all night. And so ended our final day in Romania.

Tim Kauffman

Day 13

July 14, 2018

Because we had a light schedule planned for Saturday, we did not have to be on the bus until 10 a.m. We were able to sleep late if we wanted to, and still had plenty of time to enjoy our breakfast (which turned out to be one of the lightest meals we ate on the entire trip).

After loading the bus and doing roll call, we embarked on the first leg of our day’s travel – a less-than-an-hour-long jaunt through hills, forests, and curves to Peles Castle. This castle was the summer residence of Romania’s royal family in the pre-communist times when there was a royal family. It is now a tourist trap, and since we were tourists, we stopped in. It is a nice castle. We didn’t go inside since that costs money and takes time, and we didn’t have an overabundance of either resource. We did, however, take a group photo in front of the castle. There were some souvenir shops here, so some of us took the opportunity (our last one) to buy some mementos of our trip.

From the castle, we had another hour to drive before reaching the Elim Baptist Church in Ploiesti. Our hosts here served us a hearty lunch, and then we used the democratic process to determine whether we should rest before practicing or practice before resting; the majority voted for the second option, so we took our stuffed stomachs to the auditorium and spent the first part of the afternoon rehearsing and improving our songs. After practice, we had an hour to spare before we needed to get ready for our evening concert; many of us used this time to sleep in the auditorium.

This concert was slightly unusual for us. It was the only time that we did not have a place to sit in the front of the church, so we filed in in a semi-orderly fashion at the beginning of the service; typically, we have simply found seats on the stage a few minutes before the service begins. We also filed out for intermission, another first. And, instead of the sermon that we have become accustomed to during intermission, there was only a congregational song and then we re-entered and finished our program. This was probably the shortest service that we’ve participated in.

Another interesting note – at the end of “Famine Song”, which begs for rain and finishes with the word “rain” being repeated seven times, it actually started raining.

After the service, our hosts provided us with another delicious meal. We then boarded the bus and traveled another forty-five minutes to Vienna House Hotel near Bucharest, where we had stayed the first two nights that we were in Romania. After spending some time in the lobby discussing deep theological issues, Justin’s cat, and various other pertinent topics, we went to bed to dream happy dreams of the delightful breakfast that we knew we would experience in the morning.

Tim Kauffman

Day 12

July 13, 2018

After enjoying breakfast with our host families, we assembled at our bus near the center of Sighisoara. Our plan for the day was to spend the morning exploring Sighisoara before traveling to Brasov, where we would see Castelul Bran.

Our host for the tour of Sighisoara was a certain Dr. Peter, who had hosted some of us in the empty rooms in his clinic the night before. Dr. Peter, who had met with President George W. Bush on several occasions, was eager to impress us with the attractions of this beautiful town. He spent time telling us about of the history of the town (it was settled in the 1100s by Germans, and some of its populace still maintains their German heritage and language).

He then turned us over to the joint custody of a traditionally costumed tour guide and the organist from the medieval German church that sat atop the hill in the center of town. The organist took us to his church, a beautiful Gothic building that was completed a few years before Columbus discovered America. We took advantage of the amazing acoustics of the church to sing several of our songs and then enjoyed a very short private organ recital. The piano players among us enjoyed the opportunity they were granted to try their skills on the organ as well, and the rest of us enjoyed listening as they played.

From the church, we went back down the hill to the main part of the old town, which consists primarily of restaurants, gift shops, and museums lining cobblestoned streets that were used almost exclusively by pedestrians instead of vehicles. By this time of the morning, most of us were primarily concerned with finding the nearest public restrooms, which turned out to be squalid little rooms that we had to pay two lei for the privilege of using. After taking care of that issue, we spread out for a while to do some shopping for drinks, snacks, and souvenirs.

When most of us had regrouped, our tour guide beat his drum and told us to follow him, then led us into some of the museums, including a torture chamber and a watchtower which offered beautiful views of the city. After the museums, he again beat his drum and told us to follow him, so we trustingly obeyed. This time he led us to a medieval restaurant, where we were served a medieval feast, courtesy of Dr. Peter. The main course was a huge bread bowl full of a hearty soup, followed by a gigantic slab of a custard cake of some sort. Not one person succeeded in totally cleaning their plates, despite being offered financial incentives to do so.

Dr. Peter had also decided that we should see the Sighisoara synagogue, so that was our next stop. The local Jewish community had abandoned this synagogue about thirty years ago, but it was restored several years ago by one of Dr. Peter’s friends, a lawyer from Washington, D.C. who was there at the same time we were. Dr. Peter spent a long time here telling us about the history of Jews in Romania and about the history of this synagogue and encouraging us to make efforts to befriend those who are different from us. We sang “Unclouded Day” here, then thanked Dr. Peter for all that he had done to give us an enjoyable day. Then, since we had a 2 ½ hour bus drive ahead of us, we all took our turns using the restroom in the tiny house of the old man who lived next door.
Our 2 ½ hour bus ride took us to Castelul Bran, which is popularly known as “Dracula’s Castle”.

According to some, visiting such a sinister-sounding place on Friday the 13th was a frightful proposition. Although folklore has associated this castle with the blood-thirsty vampire tyrant of popular lore, there is actually no connection between the real Count Dracula – Vlad the Impaler – and this castle. It is simply a beautiful, well-preserved castle sitting on a hilltop in the lovely Transylvanian countryside. We got to the castle just in time to get inside before closing time. We had plenty of time here to explore the castle and do some shopping in the souvenir markets nearby. We then had another relatively short bus ride to our destination for the night, a lovely little hotel beside a mountain stream in a narrow valley. Here, we ate a nice supper and then retired for the night.

Tim Kauffman

Day 11

July 12, 2018

Thursday, July 12 – At 8:30 a.m., most of us gathered at our bus near the church where we had sung the night before. Since we had stayed with Romanian host families, we came from various places, some walking, and some driving. We bid farewell to our hosts and to Ken Tucker, and then bid a final farewell to Elena.

Since we had to pick up a few of the guys elsewhere, we rolled off without a roll call. Those of us who were on the bus immediately began to compare notes on our experiences with our Romanian hosts; the cultural differences and language barriers had contributed to some interesting situations for some of us.

We picked up our missing guys a few miles down the road and headed for our morning destination – the Salina Turda salt mines. We spent several hours here; there is a labyrinth of tunnels with walls of solid black salt, and an echo chamber where we yelled Jotham’s name and listened as the tunnels bounced it back to us repeatedly. The main attraction here, however, was a hall so huge that it contained a Ferris wheel and an amphitheater, as well as mini golf and other activities. An adjacent chamber had an underground lake where some of us rented rowboats for short rides.

Since some of us had abundant energy, we also spent some time in the underground play area experimenting with hopscotch variations before racing the very long, steep stairways to the upper level and exit.

From the salt mines, we headed toward Sighisoara, our destination for our evening program. We stopped at a restaurant for lunch shortly after leaving the salt mine; after filling up on a huge bowl of soup, we proceeded to devour the main course of chicken and potatoes, finishing up with some pastries for dessert. Stretching our stomachs has become a normal occurrence for us here.

We arrived in Sighisoara slightly behind schedule and had to walk about five minutes to reach the Bethel Pentecostal Church, where we were to give our program. Since we were pressed for time, we decided to forgo changing into our uniforms, so we had the novel experience of presenting a concert while wearing casual travel clothes. Despite our casual attire, we were able to stay focused well and our program was very well-received by the church. We were fed a huge meal after the service, and then we split up once again to stay with host families for the night.

Tim Kauffman

Day 10

July 11, 2018

We were able to sleep in a bit on Wednesday morning since we didn’t need to be on the bus until about 10 a.m. Our final destination for the day was Cluj Napoca, the main city in the region. Our first stop of the day, however, was at the CAM medical distribution warehouse in Floresti, where Elena works. After a short tour here, the staff fed us a delicious, multiple-course Romanian meal. Elena had told us before our arrival that the cabbage rolls from this region were the best in Romania, and she proved to be completely correct, and our stomachs were stretched to their maximum extent when we left.

We had only a short drive from Floresti to Cluj, where we had the privilege of spending a part of our afternoon rehearsing with Ken Tucker. Mr. Tucker is an American musical genius who has dedicated his life and musical skills to ministering to the Romanian church. He was able to give us some suggestions for improving some parts of our repertoire and helped us to incorporate these things into our singing. We are grateful for his input and help.

Wednesday evening, we gave a program in Ken Tucker’s church. After the service, we dispersed to spend the night with host families from the church. For most of us, this was our first time in a Romanian home, and it produced some interesting experiences.

This was the last day of the tour for two important members of our entourage. Our bus driver, Mihai, who had skillfully navigated us through city streets, mountain switchbacks, and village alleys, left us to go on vacation in Greece. He was replaced by Abraham, who will be our driver for the rest of the tour.
While Mihai’s departure was planned, Elena’s was unexpected. She received the news that a dear friend in Ohio was on her deathbed, so had to abruptly change her plans and make preparations to fly across the ocean. We will never know all the work that Elena did behind the scenes to make this tour possible; we will miss her deeply, and we thank her for all that she has done.

Tim Kauffman

Day 9

July 10, 2018

Tuesday was primarily a day of travel through the beautiful Romanian countryside; since the outstanding feature of the day was the scenery, I’ll take the opportunity to describe some of the variety of scenery that we’ve traveled through in Romania.

If you can imagine vast, rich, flat farmland, planted in a mosaic of crops – deep green corn, bright yellow sunflowers, golden wheat, and purple-green alfalfa in alternating strips – then you can imagine the main features of the countryside between Bucharest and Braila, which we saw during our first day of travel here.

As we moved farther north, the scenery was still dominated by farmland, but now the mosaic of crops was spread over hills instead of flat land. Dotted throughout the countryside are hundreds of villages – a collection of stuccoed houses, some large, some small, usually painted in various colors such as pink, aqua, yellow, and white. Most houses lack lawns, and instead having tiny fenced gardens filled with vegetables, grapevines, and fruit trees that almost obscure the house. The skyline of each village is dominated by the dome or spire of a beautiful Orthodox church, with the red or brown tile or metal roofs of the houses filling out the scene. As you drive through the village, you might see a huge stork nest perched on one of the electric poles along the road. Outside the village, you’ll see villagers working their fields – harvesting hay by hand, loading it onto horse-drawn wagons (or sometimes car-drawn wagons), and piling it into tall mounds that dot the landscape. This is what we saw as we traveled through the northeastern part of Romania toward Suceava.

This brings us up to date on our the areas we traveled through during our first six days in Romania. On July 10, our ninth day together and seventh day in Romania, we headed southwest from Suceava. The rolling hills soon began to grow steeper and taller, and crops soon started giving way to forests. Within a few hours, we were in a landscape dominated by mountains covered in some large species of fir or hemlock trees.

Our first stop for the day was at Agapia Monastery, an Orthodox nunnery nestled into these mountains. We spent most of our time here admiring the nuns’ horticultural handiwork. The monastery was built as a rectangle around a large courtyard with a church in the center, and the courtyard was filled with beautifully patterned flowerbeds full of geraniums, marigolds, and a variety of other flowers that were blooming profusely. The porches of the buildings around the courtyard were filled with more flowers in planters – geraniums, petunias, and fuchsias, with their bright colors standing out in brilliant contrast to the white buildings behind them. We also took some groups photos here (and in the process got thoroughly scolded by a nun for being too noisy), and bought some of nuns’ handiwork in the form of snacks and knitted caps and scarves.

After leaving the monastery, we continued to travel deeper into the Carpathian Mountains, and the mountains continued to grow taller and steeper. Our next stop took us slightly off our main route, up a hill and through some switchbacks to the top of a large dam, where we spent some time admiring the scenery around the lake behind the dam and in the valley below the dam. We stretched our legs by walking across the dam and took lots of photos despite signs (in Romanian) that forbade it (a security guard later assured us it was allowed).

Returning to our main route, we continued to wind our way deeper into the mountains. We soon found ourselves traveling along a small mountain river, which we followed upstream as the mountains on either side grew steeper and closer. Rounding a curve, we suddenly found that that the steep, wooded slopes of the mountains had given way to sheer rock walls and we were traveling through a narrow gorge. When we came to an area where the gorge widened out a bit, we pulled off and disembarked to do some exploring. The immensity of the place is impossible to describe in words or to capture in a photo. The walls of the gorge towered so high over our heads on either side that at some places we had to crane our necks to see the clouds that were threatening to dump rain on us. The whole area was filled with the roar of the river falling over a continuous series of cataracts.

We spent nearly an hour exploring here, taking lots of photos (including group photos) and buying some souvenirs from the tiny gift shops that were sandwiched between the road and the cliffs. Another noteworthy event here was the unintentional submersion of a certain Kauffman baritone in the river!

After we finally got back on the bus, we soon passed out of the gorge but continued to travel through the beautiful mountainous countryside. Since we had plenty of time built into our schedule, we were able to stop frequently to enjoy the scenery and take group photos (I think we probably set a record of some sort). The most notable stop was at Red Lake, which is actually green (it was once red due to tannins in the water from the trees that were submerged when the lake was created by a landslide that formed a dam).

After a long day of traveling and exploring and a long stretch without restrooms, we were all delighted to arrive at a wonderful Hungarian restaurant for our supper, which turned out to be a huge bowl of soup that completely satisfied our hunger. After supper, we traveled a little farther to our hotels for the night.

Tim Kauffman

Day 8

July 9, 2018

Monday? Sure didn’t feel like it! We had breakfast at 9:30, by the vote of the majority. Then we all spun out in different directions. My group went to the shopping bazaar that reminded me pretty much of a mall, except it was kinda different. 🙂 And—oh the joys of the market! I loved that market. The prices warmed my heart and influence me to buy all manner of wares even though the communication with the Romanian vendors in jaunty hats and floppy skirts was mostly smiles and motions.

I don’t know what everyone else did except that Jess and Steven visited the barber shop by all appearances. Everyone was on their own for lunch. At 2:30-ish we bussed our way to this cool little ancient church. And I actually mean ancient. It was built way back in 1478 before Columbus landed on our native soil.

The dear priest that gave us our tour spoke English after a fashion. The important fact was he was a genuine priest very impassioned with the Orthodox church. We sang “Doamne” + “Leaning” inside the church. The unique style of architecture enhanced the sound.

We visited the site of Elena’s childhood home, although not house was there. Elena continues to be an inspiration to me.

We ended up at the CAM base where Sammy, Elena’s brother and Ellis “the riser man” talked to us about CAM’s work. They showed us several CAM presentations and then for supper! We dove into the grilled chicken and everything else that was on the table.

After all that food we played volleyball and made new friends or renewed old friendships with the genial missionaries/CAM workers. Talking with the people at CAM was an eye-opener. Those brave people with all their storybook experiences continue to challenge me and make me probe deeper into the motives of my own life.

A double rainbow graced the sky for a large percent of the evening. It was beautiful. Before we headed “home” we picked up our freshly; laundered uniforms and laundry which Daniela and Dorcas washed for us. We wished them stars in their crowns since it was no small undertaking.
Johnny and Ruth stayed there to help with their week of Bible school. It made me sad. Our loss is their gain, I guess. I feel privileged to have them with us as long as they were.

Ruth Elaine Hoover

Day 6

July 7, 2018

We got up bright and early this morning for our 7:30 breakfast. Our cooks at the Diaconia medical compound served delicious food – sausages, eggs, and the fresh tomatoes and cucumbers that we are having at virtually every meal. Elena gave us a brief tour of the compound before we boarded the bus and set out for Bosanci.

We had a 6-hour drive to our destination, but we didn’t have much of a chance to get bored. Johnny and Elena each put their story-telling abilities to good use and one of our choir members gave us a good laugh by confessing what happened when he tried out his Romanian after our concert last evening. Our kind friends at the medical compound had sent food along for lunch, and we ate on the bus.

We checked in at our hotel, which is something of a different story from the places we were the last few nights. It got nicknamed “the Communist Hotel,” and with that information, you may imagine what you will. (I will simply say that the name fits.) However, we have beds and showers and if we go to the lobby we even have an internet connection, so we would be ungrateful to complain.

Within 30 minutes we were back on the bus, headed to the First Pentecostal Church
in Bosanci. We had time to figure out a standing arrangement and do a bit of rehearsing before our 6:00 program. The program went well, generally speaking. Their choir sang a couple of songs, and the children’s choir sang a song as well. It’s amazing to hear them sing.

After the concert, they served us dinner. Our cook, they said, is the woman who usually cooks their wedding meals and we could definitely recommend her. Lunch was a long time ago and we were quite hungry by that time, so we did justice to her hearty meal. Jotham promised us all uniforms a size bigger for tomorrow, which feels like it could be an unfortunate necessity.
We were ready to call it a day when we got back to our hotel. Our good conductor reminded us that if we look at our itinerary we will see that this night is better to sleep than to party, and as far as I know, we all all heeded his admonitions.

Rose Anne Hoover

Day 5

July 6, 2018

Friday dawned bright and cheery. With it being our very first concert day, it was time to get down to business! We packed our bags, ate a delectable hotel breakfast, gathered in the lobby to sing our “Thank-you” song for the hotel staff, loaded the bus, and headed off to our next destination.

We traveled for around 3.5 hours with a couple of pit stops for bathroom breaks, snacks, and trampling through sunflower fields, etc. We arrived at the church complex in time to eat a wonderful lunch that had been prepared for us. (Ever had eggplant salad?)
Following lunch and a bit of rest, we headed into the actual sanctuary of the church for an afternoon of rehearsal. This Baptist Church was absolutely beautiful with a high dome ceiling and several levels of balconies. Needless to say, we were completely spoiled with incredible acoustics for our first concert!

Singing for Romanian people in their own language is SO much fun. After practicing for so long, it was definitely time to put our hard work to good use and minister through our music. Being our first concert, it was definitely not without its flaws, but it held a lot of meaning and we left feeling very blessed!

After gracefully inhaling our supper we took a walk down to the Danube River. A few of the Romanian youth from the church came with us, and despite a bit of a language barrier we were able to have a time of singing and worship down by the river.

Our itinerary had said that we would be sleeping in the church complex, which made some of us think we might be stretching out on church benches using our bags as pillows. Contrary to that assumption, the church complex was right beside a medical center which is where we were actually staying. The medical center was set up much like a hotel with a bunch of rooms that opened their doors into a family room type setting in the middle. It even a balcony overlooking the street! The majority of us were lodged in that building and the rest of us spent the night with lovely Romanian hosts and hostesses!

Alissa Myer

Day 4

July 5, 2018

After a wonderfully long night of rest in our lovely hotel, everyone trickled into the dining room of our hotel around 9 a.m. While we may have not been ready to rise yet, we were rewarded handsomely with a wonderful breakfast – eggs, bacon, sausages, cheeses, yogurts, breads, pastries, juices, and coffee to our hearts’ content.

After our Romanian breakfast feast, we loaded ourselves onto the bus, did roll call, and headed back into Bucharest for a morning of rehearsal. We spent several hours polishing our repertoire before being treated once again to a delicious Romanian meal provided by members of the church in which we were practicing.

We spent our afternoon doing tourist activities. Our first stop after lunch was the Palace of Parliament, which was built by Nicolai Ceausescu to stand as a monument to the greatness of Romania. This massive, beautiful structure, made almost entirely of materials from Romania, is the heaviest administrative building in the world and one of the largest buildings in the world; it also contains the largest crystal chandelier in the world, which weighs about 5,000 pounds. We spent about an hour touring the palace, and felt dwarfed by the labyrinth of immense rooms that we viewed. One room had such large windows at each end that the curtains covering each window weighed over five hundred pounds. One large reception room was designed to specifically to amplify applause for Ceausescu, an atheistic tyrant; since he was deposed before the building was completed, it probably never served its purpose.

We were privileged to be able to sing several of our songs in this room, magnifying God in a room designed to magnify a man who hated God. At the end of the tour, we were shocked to find out that we had only seen four percent of the interior of the palace. (Oh, in case you’re wondering, we did take a group picture in front of the palace.)

When we left the palace, we headed to the Museum of Villages. This is a sprawling outdoor museum which displays different types of village houses from the various regions of Romania and from various time periods. It also included some interesting occupational structures, such as mills, wine presses, fishing shacks, and gold mining equipment. There were a number of churches there as well. We were hoping to sing inside the largest one, but since it was locked, we were forced to settle for singing in front of it instead – and since we were already standing together there, why not take a group photo? So we did that, too.

From the Village Museum, we headed to a very large, very modern mall near our hotel. Our main goal here was to get supper from our choice of a variety of restaurants. Some people inexplicably decided that the best way to take full advantage of this trip to Romania was to buy their supper from Taco Bell or KFC; I am pleased to report, however, that many of us were somewhat more adventurous in our food choices, a decision that generally proved to be wise.
After supper and shopping, we headed back to our hotel for another night of rest.

Tim Kauffman

Day 3

July 4, 2018

This day began, for us, somewhere far above the North Atlantic Ocean as we sped through time zones on our way to Germany. When we arrived in Frankfurt, it was 5:40 a.m. local time, although our bodies thought it was sometime around midnight the night before. This time confusion conspired with the poor sleeping conditions typical of economy class on an airplane to induce a sleepy haze. We spent the following four hours engaged in various activities and non-activities, including sleeping and eating breakfast; since I was one of those who passed the time in slumber, I am unable to give any details of anything else that may have transpired.

By 10:30 a.m., we were once again on a plane for our final flight to Bucharest. Landing shortly before 2 p.m., we proceeded to present our passports to the customs officials, collected our baggage after a short wait, used the restrooms after a long wait (for some), and walked out of the airport to our bus. As we left the airport, we were joined by Elena, our wonderful Romanian tour coordinator.

By this time, we all wanted to go to bed, but since mid-afternoon is not the proper time to go to bed, we went for a walk in a park instead. Near the one corner of the park is a large arch, known as the Arch of Triumph, which was apparently built to celebrate some important victory. (Blame the lack of detail on jet lag.) Most of us took pictures of the arch. We also took a group picture in front of the arch.

After this, we went into the Old Town section of Bucharest, where we dispersed to explore as we pleased. This is a beautiful section of the city, with narrow cobblestone streets lined with tall, stately old buildings. After eating supper at whichever restaurant we chose, we spent some time ambling about the streets. We all eventually ended up at our appointed rendezvous, the
Carturesti Carusel. This bookstore has a beautiful white interior, with five floors built around a large open area. It was so nice that most of us took pictures. We also took a group picture in front of the store. (This may become a familiar motif.) Then we headed to our hotel, where we finally were able to get the sleep that we had been wanting for most of the day.

Tim Kauffman

Day 2

July 3, 2018

At 8:20 a.m., we met once again at Legacy Christian School. This time our number was slightly larger, as we were joined by Jonny and Ruth Miller, Franklin’s parents, who will be traveling with us for the first week of tour. We were also met here by a large bus, into which we loaded our luggage and then our selves. We then officially started our travels; the first leg of the journey took us several hours north to the Detroit airport.

Upon arrival at the airport, we all rushed through check-in and security as quickly as possible. We were motivated, not by the a deadline imposed by the departure of our flight, but by the promise of Romanian candy bars for the first person who found certain decorative features in the airport. So, after going through security, most of us started wandering around the terminal, searching for the laminar flow fountain, the multi-colored tunnel, and the transport train.

However, after several fruitless trips from one end of the terminal to the other, we finally gave up and went to various restaurants for lunch. We eventually found out that the features we were hunting were in the other terminal at the airport, and were therefore inaccessible to us; the whole search had been a mistake.

We finally boarded our flight around 3:30 p.m., and shortly thereafter took off for Frankfurt, Germany. The long flight was largely uneventful, but at some point we left July 3 and entered July 4, thus leaving the realm of this blog post and entering that of the next one.

Tim Kauffman

Day 1

July 2, 2018

8:50 A.M., July 2, 2018 – Twenty-six singers, one conductor, and one tour director assembled at Legacy Christian School in Sugarcreek, OH, for an intense day of practice before two weeks of traveling and singing in Romania. We came from Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. After hours of practicing alone and singing with sound files, we were finally coming together to put everything together.

After exchanging cheery morning greetings, we launched into our warm-ups and soon buckled down to serious practice. What followed was an intense, exhausting day of unifying our tone, eliminating our flatted and sharped notes, cleaning up our entrances and endings, and generally improving our musicality as a group. Franklin, our good conductor, patiently and relentlessly pointed out errors and helped us to correct them, occasionally reminding us that he shouldn’t have to remind us of the things we should be doing but were neglecting. Jotham, the tour coordinator, would occasionally interrupt our practice to announce a break – sometimes with coffee and donuts (needless to say, his habit of making such announcements led us to anticipate and joyfully welcome the appearance of his smiling face). 🙂

After many hours of practice, 6:30 p.m. and supper finally arrived, and we were able to give our exhausted voices a cessation from their labors. After supper, we dispersed to do last minute shopping and laundry and packing in preparation for our trip. Then we went to bed (at least I’m assuming everyone did).

Tim Kauffman


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Thank you

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