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29th August 2017

Libera In America 2017 – Part 4

…leaving Houston was again sad as we had enjoyed our stay.  We had relished the opportunity to meet some great people and experienced things that again made such happy memories.

No airports on this leg of the journey, instead we had a bit of a road trip planned – about 8 hours-worth.  We packed up and boarded the coach. The coach was state of the art – super modern. It had WiFi and satellite television. As the journey was going to be a long one we had our electronic devices, this was balanced by some designated sleeping or reading time. Coach journeys are actually great for us as a group.  They are usually quite fun filled and it only takes the right tune on the radio to start us singing – it’s amazing how many harmony parts we can manage to make. As many of you know, as the choir we sing songs with many different voice parts so it’s great fun to take a tune and give it a Libera spin.

The coach ate the miles and we travelled from Texas up to Oklahoma – destination Tulsa.  It was late when we arrived at our hotel but our appetites had been sated by a visit to The Cheesecake Factory.  I have to say, hand on stomach, they served up the largest burger I had ever seen.  A few of us have “hollow legs” but even we were full up when we left – without even tasting any cheesecake.

The hotel staff were welcoming and we made our way up to our rooms which were arranged round a massive courtyard with balconies overlooking a large fish pool, and glass lifts zipping up and down.  In our rooms we relaxed watching a bit of television, we fell asleep watching a game of University American football – something we had come to really enjoy during our time in America.

We woke up thinking that Tulsa was very chilly in comparison to Houston – we then realised that our air conditioning in the room was extremely efficient and when we looked out of the window realised it was going to be another warm day.  I switched on the news trying to keep up to date with current affairs only to see that a tornado had struck the other side of Tulsa whilst we had been sleeping.  I thought back to my Geography lessons and realised that we were slap bang in the middle of ‘Tornado Alley’ – nothing like keeping lessons real. It was fascinating to find out that many houses, and public places have shelters where people can stay safe if a tornado is forecast. Sirens go off to warn people to take cover.

We had a great evening spent with our Tulsa hosts. They have a fantastic house which ought to be on Grand Designs (a UK TV programme about the building of unusual homes) it was so unusual – built on several floors with walk ways at the edge of a forest, it looked almost like a gigantic tree house. We had some serious food and played games, including Game of Life – which I am going to buy and teach my family – great game.

The next day was concert day.  We also sang in two morning services.  Afterwards we changed back into our Sunday uniform and had a Q&A session with the Asbury Choir.  We were asked numerous questions, including how many tours we had been on, what the age of the choir was and how we learn our songs. They even asked Merlin to sing some of the British national anthem, which we then discovered has the same tune as ‘My Country Tis of Thee’, a well-known national song in America. We then utilised the church sports hall and played football and basketball. Around teatime we changed into our robes and got ‘into the zone’ for the concert.

The audience was so warm and welcoming and it was enormous – our biggest audience of the week. All the venues had large audiences but this one had nearly 3000 people. We finished the concert with the song ‘America’ which the audience found extremely moving.  The church was very kind and had cooked us a supper of pizza. The chef, when he served our meatballs at lunchtime had asked us what sort of pizza toppings we would like and had kindly laid on a fantastic spread.  Very much appreciated after the running around of the afternoon and the concert.

The next morning, after brekkie we piled onto the coach and Robert announced that we were going to a museum to study artefacts. This was obviously a lie as Libera has never studied an artefact. About forty-five minutes down the road we pulled up, not in front of a museum but at a massive great warehouse housing a go-karting track, bowling lanes, laser tag area and arcade. We couldn’t believe our luck – what a fantastic place – but I think it is just as well that most of us can’t learn to drive for a few years yet.

In the afternoon we headed back to the hotel and changed into our swimmers. We had been invited to a pool party with barbecue and films or rather ‘movies’.  It must be quite a sight to see twenty-six hyper-active boys turn up at your front door – particularly for the neighbours.  We had a lovely time and enjoyed every minute. I agree that I should not have caused the piece of melon to fly from one side of the pool to the other, even if the receiving person had caught it. The evening ended with a water balloon battle, a showing of Alvin and the Chipmunk 3 – (Alvin needs work on his high notes!) and chunks of watermelon.

The next day we were on the road again heading for St Louis.  Tulsa had been so warm, welcoming and friendly.  Memories banked, we would be sorry to leave.


9 Comments on “Libera In America 2017 – Part 4

Andrew Ferguson
29th August 2017 at 8:40 pm

I am so pleased to read your travel blogs. You boys always make the most of every opportunity whether it is to perform or just to have fun. Whoever it is who writes the travel stories, you have a wonderful gift for writing!

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Maarten Das
29th August 2017 at 9:41 pm

You should do an album of songs like the ones you sang on the coach – and the laser tag picture could be the album cover! 😉 Thanks for sharing your travel diary with us. Your choir activities are so valuable for so many people.

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Don Carlson
29th August 2017 at 9:46 pm

It is nice to see reports (or blogs) put on the internet in such a timely manner after you are back home. Four parts of Libera in America so far, and it looks like one more installment will be coming. My complements to the writer(s). Thank you from Don Carlson

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Ari
30th August 2017 at 6:08 am

Loads of fun continue! The ‘tree house’ can’t get cooler, can it? I also want to be a ‘host’ (if my house is not so small, and if you guys will ever be in my place).
I watched the live broadcast of the services and manage to watch Libera live (for the 1st time ever), and you guys are just plain aweeeesome!! All the soloists had spectacular performances!! I also had a glimpse about the lighting at the concert, it must’ve been super grand. I heard the concert was a BOMB, and you guys got endless waves of applause, that makes me so so happy.
The laser tag area sure looks like fun, and I really want to listen to your own made-up song of ‘the melon piece flying over the pool’ with all harmony parts and stuff hehe (maybe Big Mont can pull an opera out of it!).

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Kevin Murawski
30th August 2017 at 4:22 pm

Always well written these blogs are. Nice to see Merlin’s Union Jack t-shirt again. The laser tag photograph is cool-like a publicity shot for a film.

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Kevin Murawski
31st August 2017 at 3:03 am

The boys look like Ghostbusters in the laser tag photo. “Hey! Anyone see a ghost?!”(Bill Murray in 1984’s Ghostbusters)

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Tomm Simpson
31st August 2017 at 10:02 pm

Actually, the tornado that “struck the other side of Tulsa” was significantly closer to where you were staying than you might realize. According to weather maps and reports, the tornado would have passed a mere two miles (or less) north of the hotel that you were sleeping in. Someone was watching over you.
They best thing that blew through Tulsa that day, however, was Libera. The Asbury concert was one of the best I’ve seen. Great job, guys! And thanks for all your hard work.
Tomm, Toronto

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Kevin Murawski
1st September 2017 at 6:06 pm

Interesting Tomm. Well said.

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Bryanne Smith
6th September 2017 at 1:14 pm

I was so excited when I saw that you would be in my hometown of Tulsa, and then I realized I was going out of town. I was so sad to have missed you. You guys are one of my favorite groups. I had your song Far Away at my wedding 4 years ago. My bridesmaids walked down the aisle to that. I want to get more Libera CDs. I also hope you come to Tulsa again soon. I’m glad the city was welcoming and you had a good time.

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